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

Marc Spitzer mspitzer at gmail.com
Sat Mar 27 12:11:16 EDT 2010

On Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 10:57 AM, Matt Juszczak <matt at atopia.net> wrote:
>> build process and you fix the build process.  Now doing this right is
>> a high skill task, trouble shooting a box has become a low skill task
>> and the middle get squeezed a bit smaller.
> So where are the lines drawn?  If someone who has experience only in the
> things you specify, like running fdisk, debugging broken servers, basic
> installs, etc., then I agree that type of skillset is going to be less and
> less in demand.  But what about people with more knowledge?  Knowledge in
> LDAP, CF Engine, Puppet, Apache - those sorts of tools, and even more
> important, standardizing servers (central authentication, central
> authorization, sudo in ldap, etc.).  Are these going to be automated as
> well?

Personally I think you want to keep an eye on the system side and not
so much on the server side.  I expect that other then fans servers
will have no moving parts fairly soon, 5 years or 10 at the out side,
as plater drives get replaced by SSD drives, there goes a lot of work.
 Also properly designed servers, for example HP's, are very fast to
work on, again there goes some work.  So you will have less to do and
what you have to do will take less time, any manager will tell you
that means reduce head count.

> Think about this: will there be a time when competitors no longer compete,
> because major providers will automate the instance creation of environments
> (for instance, Amazon may choose to make a one-click environment that uses
> puppet for configuration, openldap for authorization/authentication, postfix
> for email, and a few other tools for things like monitoring).  Would
> competiting tools (like exim, for instance) be run out of demand as more and
> more people go to these "one click" approaches and choose not to replace
> them?

Well for postfix, at the time it was written sendmail was the MTA on
the internet, no not so much.  Good ideas do tent to survive and
prosper.  But the need to be much better to be worth the pain of
switching.  Postfix is as long as you can live with a mail switch as
sendmail is a mail router, switch == internet only and router ==
internet to other network(ex. decnet).

Also traditional sysadmin skills include areas like security, security
is a growth industry.  Disaster recovery, capacity planning, building
cloud physical plant for people who want the cloud but need to keep
data private and a bunch of other skills.  And to reply to the exim
bit, what is stopping exim people from taking the dam thing and
replacing postfix with exim and uploading it for people to use?

I think the SA world is going to split along the lines of people who
build integrated circuits, people who build things with integrated
circuits and people who put IC's in sockets,  Figure out where you
want to be and get there.  Two of the three will pay well.


Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
--Albert Camus

 The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people's money.
--Margaret Thatcher

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