[nycbug-talk] Hypothetical: the end of the sysadmin/systems engineer/DBA?

Max Gribov max at neuropunks.org
Wed Mar 24 11:58:32 EDT 2010

On 03/24/2010 12:00 AM, Matt Juszczak wrote:
> Hi folks,
> So I've been thinking - more and more companies (Amazon, Rackspace, 
> Terremark, etc.) are moving to cloud technologies.  Some are even 
> moving to cloud technologies combined with dedicated server 
> infrastructure.  But for the most part, it does seem a lot easier to 
> "spin up" a few ready to go instances (like amazon EC2) and launch a 
> production web application.

Check out RightScale, get a free demo from them, personally i was very 
impressed how they harnessed that autoscale promise of the cloud.

The paradigm there is that you shift away from "every server is 
important" concept.
You select some images provided by them, like a webserver with nginx, 
then say "when all webservers load is over 20, create 50 more, when it 
drops, remove them".
Its not important if those webservers are tuned, you simply make more as 
you need.

That said, architecture solutions will always be in demand.
You may not need to go out to the colo to replace some RAM (unless you 
work for amazon/rackspace of course), but you do need to come up with 
those metrics when to scale up/down your infrastructure, whether to use 
master-master or master-slave replication, etc.
Cloud, like any large scale custom deployment, will require you to write 
automation tools, maybe by using the amazon api or, in case of 
rightscale, shell scripts which define how a new machine is brought 
online (install apache, svn export the codebase, create config files, etc)

I dont work for rightscale or even use them, but srsly, get a demo from 
them. Its pretty awesome what they've done.

> There's still a lot to do: MySQL is still heavily used, and requires a 
> lot of tuning once performance needs grow.  However, databases like 
> MongoDB, SimpleDB, etc. are quickly gaining market share.

rdbms != nosql
And mysql tuning isnt that much of a black art, there are plenty guides 
available, so even when you use the cloud, you simply use your tuned my.cnf

> So I wonder: will there be a time when those who have an idea simply 
> spin up some ready to go cloud servers, point and click the necessary 
> security they'd like and setup they'd like, and run with it?  At that 
> point, would the only positions remaining be developers/programmers?

You will always have institutions which do not want to outsource 
hosting, just like now not every company uses managed hosting/leased 
Some of them will probably set up their own clouds, so thinking about 
machines in disposable/utilitarian manner with focus on quick large 
scale management is definitely a good new skill for a sysadmin.
Programming is more fun that sysadmining anyway : P

> Just my thought for the day.
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