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Web Operation and Systems Administrators

In recent years the title “Web Operations”, or WebOps for short, has come to be used when describing the teams of systems administrators that are responsible for code deployment, hardware deployment, application deployment, configuration configuration, and data management for medium to large sized web properties. These groups of systems administrators are expected to work in wildly dynamic environments. New technologies have a way of prying their way into our lives and if we expect ourselves to manage and support these new technologies, we will need systems that are both more dynamic and more scientific.

This site is dedicated to creating articles and software which will help small to mid sized web operations groups employ scientific approaches to testing and deploying new technologies. I purposefully use the word technologies because any other word couldn’t describe the tremendous breadth of hardware and software we engage with. We are expected to learn and implement new technology and maintain current pieces of technology ranging from system software, application software, vendor software, server hardware, storage hardware, network hardware, and security devices. We are also expected to communicate well in a team and have enough business acumen to make good deployment decisions. We are expected to be good enough scientists to competently experiment and set up test rigs while at once have enough training in philosophy to grow as we go. Finally, many of us are expected to develop and deploy code we wrote to hold the whole thing together. This is a tough job, and did I mention that many of us are on call 24/7/365. For me, all of these things are true and I have to manage the contractors for the generators, power, HVAC, and facilities.

This is not a job that you can learn in one or two years and each of us accrues different expertise through the years, which can lead to gaps in our knowledge. This leaves us each with different levels of expertise in different areas. The goal of this site is to collaborate and facilitate filling those gaps.

As beginner and intermediate systems administrators we struggle through years of experience to aquire best practices and technical knowledge. This knowledge can be few and far between when Googling. This site intends to provide best practices and detailed knowledge of as many aspects of web operations as possible. The style of this site is inspired by the Gentoo Handbook [1] which is explicit and bootstraps every process. Where “man” pages are rough manuals for software, the documentation on this site is intended to give background, usage, and best practices interleaved in a single continuous knowledge base. I developed Crunch Tools as a platform to release much of the software and best practices I have developed while being a systems administrator since 1998 I hope you enjoy it.

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