System Administration

Forums – good or evil?

It amazes me the amount of incorrect information that is put on user forums. There are always mistakes and I have seen some posts where people realize and correct their errors. Primarily though, I see people ranting about “the correct way” when that way is not based in product knowledge, but rather on “it seemed to work”.

This reminds me of the time I went to the pet store to buy some activated charcoal after my dog ate some wild mushrooms. The box I was given was regular charcoal, but the employee assured me that it was the same thing because she had used it and her dog did not die.

Just because “it seems to work” does not mean that what you did was correct.

VMware Tools Update Job

I needed a way to allow our admins responsible for patching to include VMware Tools updates during a patch cycle. You can easily update via Virtual Center, but this requires multiple interfaces and it can be difficult to pick all of the same servers without making a mistake. I fired up Process Explorer and watched what VMware did with their existing tools update process. This is pretty cool since it does not require a network connection and your Tools install is up to date without needing to maintain a repository.

“C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\VMwareToolsUpgrader.exe” -p “/s /v\”/qn /L*v C:\Windows\Temp\ToolsUpgrade.log\””

Formalized System Administration Education

It is interesting to read about more formal approaches to system administrator education. I have been reading “Master Education Programmes in Network and System Administration” from the LISA 07 proceedings. The authors’ approach is an interesting one, but I wonder what we do for all of the administrators already “in the wild”? A training vs. education mentality and the difficulty of adult education make introduction of a program like this very difficult.

The program also seems to be self-selecting. How can we set the standard so these types of skills will become more mainstream instead of a small number capable of formal analysis?  Are employers going to see the value in this becoming mainstream and be willing to pay for the advanced level system administrators?