System Administration Talks

I can speak to groups about various System Administration topics. Here are some, if you are interested in these, or others, let me know.

The terms “System Administrator” and “System Administration” are sometimes seen as limited to a particular family of operating systems, and in fact, to compters. That is not the case: What we as IT professionals do in terms of support, planning, and administration of IT systems (regardless of operating system, and including network devices and services) is to serve the IT needs of our organization. The specifics may vary from one device, operating system or software system, but the core of our job, and the issues we face are the same.

System Administration, Professionalism, and the State of the Profession

In this talk I will explore System Administration as a profession: What is System Administration? What is the state of the Art? What is the State of the Profession? I will also look at some issues common to System Administrators at many sites, and some solutions.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Common Practices in System Administration

This talk will highlight common practices in System Administration. Some are considered good, some are considered bad. By exploring the good and the bad, the accomplishments and the mistakes, and why and how they happen, we can give ourselves some tools to assess our own site and organization, and identify our own good and bad practices.

Comprehensive System/Site Configuration and Management: Beyond Simple Automation

A simple approach to automating system administration tasks is to script any task done more than twice. This leads to the classic collection of random scripts, followed by more scripts that attempt to automate the scripts. Sometimes followed by yet more scripts, automating the automation of the original scripts. While each layer may be a short-term improvement, the advantages are soon lost as the system becomes more and more fragile, and more organized around the scripts and their capabilities than around the operational needs of the organization.

A comprehensive approach looks at all the business and organizational needs and operations of the organization, and builds management tools around the available data, organizational needs and business processes. The result can be a very efficient, high-performance, high-reliability computing system that provides what the users (and management) expect, with few surprises.

Why are manhole covers round? Interviewing for a Sysadmin Job, from both sides of the table

Common -- and uncommon -- issues when interviewing for a system administration position. We will discuss this from both the candidate and the hiring perspective.

Ethics and The System Administrator: Not your Mother's Ethics Talk

For at least a decade, an active portion of the system administration community has been raising the issue of ethics. Talks were given, and BOFs were held. Tutorials are offered. Eventually, a code of ethics was adopted.

Having participated in several of the more recent activities, it seems that everyone now knows the easy answer to the classic system administration ethical dilemas: refer to your policy documents.

This presentation will review the The System Administrators' Code of Ethics, and then try and get beyond the "easy" situations, to some more interesting questions and issues.

System Administration Professionalism, Policies and Ethics

System Administrators need to be professional, and need to be recognized as a profession and professionals by our customers, managers, colleagues and the public. There is a strong relationship between professionalism, IT policies and the ethical responsibilites we, as professionals, must deal with. We will also address tools and techniques for enhancing our professionalism and reputation.

System Administration Career and Professional Issues

For several years I lead a Guru-is-in session at LISA and USENIX conferences on System Administration career and professional issues. This requires participation from attendees.

Short Bio:

David has been a system administrator at the University of Wisconsin Computer Science Department since 1991, serving as Associate Director of the Computer Systems Lab since 1995, and as Interim Director since April 2009. At the Lab he has worked as a system administrator for various systems and services; as a manager; served on several campus committees; and collaborated with other groups on campus. In the CS Department he works with faculty, staff and graduate students to support and contribute to their research projects and the instructional program. He also trains, manages and work with the undergraduate student system administration staff. Areas of responsibility and experience include policy development, security, network administration, liaison with the research projects, and a overall technical leadership. At various times he have been staff for specific research projects.

In addition to his work at the University, David is active in LOPSA, The League of Professional System Administrators. He is currently on the LOPSA Board of Directors, and gives system administration talks and system administration training at various events. In his free time, he flys single engine prop planes and both plays and officiates ice hockey.


Last modified: Tue Dec 29 14:01:17 2009 by David Parter
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