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Sysadmins Take Note

After many years as a professional sysadmin, my best tip for those just starting out is: take notes. Our job is basically about solving hard problems. (If they were easy, users would have solved them already.) This being so, keeping a detailed notebook of everything you do is like having an external brain pack. You don’t have to remember or rediscover how you solved that bizarre DNS problem back at your last gig; it’s in the book. You don’t have to reread the man page for half an hour to remind yourself how to self-sign an SSL certificate; it’s in the book. And you don’t have to waste time wondering where you got to on the current project at the end of last week; it’s in the book. Read more »

Sysadmin iPhone apps - the portable toolbox

Have you ever needed to SSH to a server from the pub? I have. Sysadmins and devops are widely expected to be ‘always-on’, and until recently that meant carrying a laptop or netbook around with you. However, the iPhone is a powerful pocket sysadmin tool. We look at the ten essential iPhone sysadmin apps that should be available on your hip at all times. Read more »

Are You Looking For Trouble?

Do you know where your servers are right now? Good sysadmins and devops use automation and monitoring, but good sysadmins don’t rely on them. The problem with automated monitoring, as we know from the movie Jurassic Park, is that you only find what you’re looking for.

In this article I’ll explain why paranoia, suspicion and snooping are essential items in your sysadmin toolbox, and give you a few hints on how to find trouble you didn’t know you had.

Jurassic Park: when monitoring isn’t enough.

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