Credit: Digital Vision
Yes, SysAdmin Appreciation Day is a thing, founded by system administrator Ted Kekatos and first celebrated on July 28, 2000 -- and subsequently observed the last Friday in July ever since. Reportedly it's kind of a big deal in Russia. And why not? All long-suffering peoples deserve their own day of celebration.
Mothers get flowers, chocolate, and breakfast in bed. Fathers get ties, power tools, and craft beer. Sys admins get ... O'Reilly books? Energy drinks? Nerf guns? Actually, high-calorie foods top the list of traditional offerings. But maybe we can do a bit better this year. Maybe we can give sysadmins a voice and allow them to ask for what they really want.
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Wish No. 1: Let us have some input into high-level system decisions
Too many times, decisions are made on high that have no bearing on the reality of a server and system infrastructure. A golf game leads to a contract for an application that will bring all kinds of beauty and wealth to the company ... well, except for the fact that it doesn't interface with anything currently in use, and it will cost two to three times more to implement than expected. We sys admins are left to deal with the consequences and figure out how to fit the square peg in the round hole. Here's a better idea: Involve those who know the infrastructure best and give them input into these decisions so we can all head off horrifying integrations problems at the pass.
Wish No. 2: Remember that poor planning on your part does not constitute a crisis on our part
While related to Wish No. 1, this disconnect occurs further down the food chain. It involves frantic calls and cubicle visits from users (usually developers) who suddenly realize that what they've been working on for weeks or months isn't going as well as they'd hoped, and they need massive infrastructure changes to certain components to compensate for their lack of understanding and planning. Or better yet, some business unit has a sudden need for an entire application infrastructure that was heretofore unknown and unaccounted for. Naturally, they need it by the end of the day.
When this kind of thing happens, we can't just drop everything and work 20-hour days to fix your mistake. Please understand that -- and don't throw a temper tantrum to the IT director. It only makes you look like a fool.
Wish No. 3: When we ask for specific workstation hardware, don't equivocate -- just give it to us
Details as common and simple as dual monitors can make the sys admin's job much easier. While we wend our way through the infrastructure every day, we have to run myriad apps at the same time, including the helpdesk app, email, a bevy of terminals and/or RDP windows, IM windows, and so on. Most of the time, we need to have all of these open at the same time, and we need to reference information in one while working in another. A system powerful enough to handle this without balking is non-negotiable. A dual-monitor setup is also non-negotiable. We aren't asking for the world on a string, just enough power and desktop space to keep ourselves sane.