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Designing a Robust Monitoring System

By on Apr 19, 2011 in Article

Reading Ted Dziuba’s article Monitoring Theory article, I was reminded of several conventions that I have developed over the years to help with monitoring servers, network devices, software services, batch processes, etc. First, break down your data points into levels so that you can decide how to route them. Second avoid interrupt driven technology like email, it lowers your productivity and prohibits good analysis techniques.

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OpenSSH and Keychain for Systems Administrators

By on Dec 10, 2010 in Article

This tutorial provides guidance on best practices and configuration of OpenSSH/Keychain, but also includes some important troubleshooting techniques for which documentation is somewhat lacking. These techniques took me several years to develop and I have tried to compile them here in one concise post so that others do not have to suffer through the arduous learning process

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DevOps Culture: An Ethnography

By on Nov 1, 2010 in Article

Background An ethnography is a holistic study of another culture conducted by an anthropologist. During the study, the anthropologist lives among the members of the foreign culture, takes notes, and collects data. From this data, the anthropologist develops theories and tests them cross culturally to determine if the source is genetic/biological in nature or...

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The Systems Administrator’s Lab

By on Oct 15, 2010 in Article

Recently, I listened to an O'Reilly webcast called "The Myths of Innovation" where Scott Berkun discussed the concept of a lab. He showed a picture of Edison's lab which showed wooden tables, lamps, and beakers. Systems administrators are also inventors.  We are required to script, program, and configure exotic servers and equipment. To discover new solutions, we need a lab. This is especially true with cloud computing and virtual infrastructure where machines are created and destroyed in a very transient manner.  You need a lab to track all of the successful and failed experiments.

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Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 1

By on Aug 27, 2010 in Article

Bootstrapping and rooting are two concepts often associated with computing, but not the documentation of computing environments. Sometimes concepts such as these are called design patterns and I would like to try and introduce a new pattern called Documentation Bootstrapping. I think this is a critical pattern for the creation of any successful and useful documentation.

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