The Systems Administrator’s Lab

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.

Linux Systems Administration: Does it Have to be Boring

Abstract Linux Systems Administration for Power Users: This presentation was created for the Oct, 2010 Akron Linux Users Group. This presentation is given from the angle, what do I do when I am in a bind. At some point all computers break. Since Linux is fairly stable, it can be intimidating when something important does

KVM Virtualization 101

Background For those of you who are familiar with virtualization, KVM is a hypervisor which is built into the Linux Kernel. This allows a Linux desktop or server to simulate multiple pieces of hardware, which can then have different operating systems installed. KVM uses the QEMU virtual machine format. QEMU may be familiar to those

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 2

Background In Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 1, I laid out a blueprint for using documentation as the bootstrap for entry into an operations environment. In this article I will dig into the three main concepts mentioned in Part 1. In Part 3, I will demonstrate our use case for a data center of about

Uptime: Does it matter with the modern web service?

Last week Ksplice announced free no-reboot kernels for Fedora which sparked off some interesting conversation about uptime over at the Standalone Sysadmin. Honestly, I ran across Ksplice a while back and I thought to myself, huh that might be useful for a certain niche, I added to a wiki page that I use to track

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 1

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.