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Originally published in Queue vol. 5, no. 2
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Adam Oliner, Archana Ganapathi, Wei Xu - Advances and Challenges in Log Analysis
Computer-system logs provide a glimpse into the states of a running system. Instrumentation occasionally generates short messages that are collected in a system-specific log. The content and format of logs can vary widely from one system to another and even among components within a system. A printer driver might generate messages indicating that it had trouble communicating with the printer, while a Web server might record which pages were requested and when.


Mark Burgess - Testable System Administration
The methods of system administration have changed little in the past 20 years. While core IT technologies have improved in a multitude of ways, for many if not most organizations system administration is still based on production-line build logistics (aka provisioning) and reactive incident handling. As we progress into an information age, humans will need to work less like the machines they use and embrace knowledge-based approaches. That means exploiting simple (hands-free) automation that leaves us unencumbered to discover patterns and make decisions.


Christina Lear - System Administration Soft Skills
System administration can be both stressful and rewarding. Stress generally comes from outside factors such as conflict between SAs (system administrators) and their colleagues, a lack of resources, a high-interrupt environment, conflicting priorities, and SAs being held responsible for failures outside their control. What can SAs and their managers do to alleviate the stress? There are some well-known interpersonal and time-management techniques that can help, but these can be forgotten in times of crisis or just through force of habit.


Thomas A. Limoncelli - A Plea to Software Vendors from Sysadmins - 10 Do’s and Don’ts
A friend of mine is a grease monkey: the kind of auto enthusiast who rebuilds engines for fun on a Saturday night. He explained to me that certain brands of automobiles were designed in ways to make the mechanic’s job easier. Others, however, were designed as if the company had a pact with the aspirin industry to make sure there are plenty of mechanics with headaches. He said those car companies hate mechanics. I understood completely because, as a system administrator, I can tell when software vendors hate me. It shows in their products.





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