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In the world of fashion and technology old is not only new but sometimes "old is gold." This is not a sentimental look at the past, but a perspective on where are at in the present.

Photo  by University of Salford Press Office available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license.jpg

   Photo  by University of Salford Press Office available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

 

It is true that fashion does recycle. Not being a fashion guy, I am not sure if mini skirts and bell bottom pants have truly made a resurgence. However, from the age of mainframe computers concepts like Virtualization of compute, networking and storage have become the mainstay. First with Hypervisors like VMWare, and then now with the big push to the cloud with virtual infrastructure that can be instantaneously brought online, at the flick of a switch, dial or key.

 

 

Besides focusing on Systems my conversations in the coming year will focus on DevOps, Containers, and MicroServices. The claim here is not that componentization of software or encapsulating code in light-weight containers or getting two departments talking to each other  is something radically new. What is new, is that with a recognition of the value in doing these things, there are new tools and technologies that allow these concepts to become ubiquitous. With Open Source tools like Chef, Puppet, Jenkins in the DevOps world, Docker in containers, it makes the life of developers and operations folks hopefully a better one.

 

 

Stay tuned for more updates in early 2017.

Tanya S. is a Linux System Administrator more popularly known as SysAdmGirl on her YouTube channel. She has been a SysAdmin for over 19 years and is both hands on a Systems Administrator and a part time faculty with the California State University system. Below is an interview I Javed M (new codename SysAdmGuy), conducted with her.

 

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  • Q1  In brief can you share your SysAdmin background. What is the IT setup you have, and what Systems are you responsible for (OS, Hardware, Apps?)

 

I started off as a UNIX Administrator in 1997 working with Solaris, HPUX and IRIX. When Linux started to become more popular we migrated all UNIX systems to Linux Systems. I currently support mainly Redhat Linux Server and Workstation for Computer Science Labs as well as Research Labs. There are about 60-70 IT folks who support a campus of 40K students. I am part of a seven-person IT team that supports Engineering and Computer Science students.

 

  • Q2. Given technology is always getting faster, cheaper, smaller, what has not changed in your role

 

What has changed is the whole concept of virtualization, cloud computing, containers and the power of processing. In the early days servers were large mainframes. Now you have these two meter high racks that have a much smaller footprint. In some cases, we don't even have a physical data center because it is all can run in a Cloud environment. What has stayed the same are the fundamentals of low level operating systems, programming and scripting.

 

  • Q3. Tell me a little bit more about SysAdmGirl. How long have you been doing it, how often do you publish a video and what does it take to get it out?

I started this about five years ago, and took a yearlong break in between. I now try to put out about three video tutorial a month. For a basic setup it can take 5-8 hours of preparation as I like to give demos. For a more complicated setup it can be even more time. I set things up virtually and am a big user of Oracle Virtual Box. I usually recording around 2am when my children are asleep.

 

 

  • Q4. Who is the audience of the SysAdmGirl channel and what motivates you to do all this?

 

There are over 50K views per month. What motivates me is that I like to inspire young students, especially young girls who currently only make up about 13% of Computer Science students. I try to be a role model and show these young girls that they can be successful in a STEM field as well. It's also rewarding to see that my YouTube videos are helping young students entering the IT field plus the YouTube feedback is always really positive.

 

 

  • Q5. Do you have any goto sites you go for answers or to hang out for things relating to issues or challenges you face as a SysAdmin?

 

I like to stay current and keep abreast of technology changes. I will look at IT Forums and read developer documentation on the vendors support site. If I get any error messages, I usually Google!

 

 

  • Q6. Are there any rules you live by as a SysAdmin?

 

Always always always have a tape backup and for mission critical services always have the highest possible fault tolerance by setting up High Availability clusters.

 

 

  • Q7. What do you like about being a Linux SysAdmin

 

Not to knock Windows, but in the Unix/Linux world I love the control of the OS that I have. It is totally customizable to the lowest OS level.