Best products from r/sysadmin
We found 593 comments on r/sysadmin discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 2,670 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.
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1. The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition
- Addison-Wesley Professional
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2. Time Management for System Administrators: Stop Working Late and Start Working Smart
- O Reilly Media
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3. Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches
- Used Book in Good Condition
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4. The Practice of System and Network Administration: Volume 1: DevOps and other Best Practices for Enterprise IT (3rd Edition)
- Addison-Wesley Professional
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5. Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches
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6. UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, 4th Edition
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- Dispatch same day for order received before 12 noon
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7. UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook (5th Edition)
- Used Book in Good Condition
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8. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
- ISBN13: 9780449902059
- Condition: New
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9. RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide (Exams EX200 & EX300), 6th Edition (Certification Press)
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10. iodd Iodd2531 - USB3.0 - HDD - SSD - Virtual CD-ROM - Enclosures - Made in Korea … (1 Unit/lot)
- Recognized as Bootable ODD (DVD, Blu-ray Rom), for booting by selecting a ISO file.
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- VHD - virtual hard disk image to physical drive
- The whole aluminum-body design is elegant and effective against external shock and radiant heat of HDD.
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11. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
- IT Revolution Press
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12. System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager: Mastering the Fundamentals
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13. RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide, Seventh Edition (Exams EX200 & EX300)
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15. Metro ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 120 volt 0.75-HP Electric Blower Duster
- Sturdy all-steel construction. Please note: This item is a blower, NOT a vaccuum.
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- 120 volt (not for use in 220 or 230-volt current).
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16. Red Hat RHCSA/RHCE 7 Cert Guide: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (EX200 and EX300) (Certification Guide)
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18. Practice of Cloud System Administration, The: Designing and Operating Large Distributed Systems, Volume 2
- Addison-Wesley Professional
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19. Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Fowler))
- Addison-Wesley Professional
Okay then. I'm glad that you have a can-do attitude and sound hungry. First let's get something settled. You're nearly as high up in the certifications chain as you can be with Microsoft and you're noticing it's not getting you the places you need to go. This is a supply and demand problem. Employers can get people like you on the cheap from contracting agencies, and often they needn't even be in the united states. You need to increase your value. Here's what you do, you're going to dive in head first. There are two distributions of Linux that are widely known to have some level of enterprise support, which means enterprises (the companies that will pay you lots of money) will be attracted to them. These distrubutions are Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Ubuntu Server Edition. I recommend that you start with Red Hat, but not necessarily because it's a better distro but because they have a well-designed certification program.
Start drilling yourself. There's another less impressive certification called the LPIC which has three tests, there's sample tests all over the web for free, i recommend taking them often and when you don't get a question correct go into your VM and use what you were asked
Pick a language, I recommend first getting really good at BASH then Python.
Don't stay at jobs. We get raises by moving to new companies. Your median stay should be about 18 months if it seems like you've topped out. Don't be afraid to GTFO of Florida. I stayed close to home for too long and wasted a lot of time limiting myself in the Midwest. If you are able to relocate and have an RHCE i guarantee your salary will double in 3 years. DOUBLE. And it will keep increasing. And you'll be working on way more interesting stuff.
Congrats at getting into NEU. After reading a bit about the school, it sounds like you had to do work hard in your schooling to get into it.
On becoming a sysadmin, be patient. It's going to take a while. However, here are a few things to keep you busy:
your world. DO NOT code in an IDE. Code in them all the way through
personalizes your editor to you. Become a power user in whatever your
editor of choice is.
or zsh, but if you go with zsh, you have to learn bash anyway) to
customize your shell to your liking
things into your shell that the oh-so-helpful! interwebz tell you to do, you should always understand
what they do before your run them)
strace -eread=all -ewrite=all -f nc -l -p 18100 127.0.0.1 > server_out 2>&1
strace -eread=all -ewrite=all -f nc -v -v -n -w 1 127.0.0.1 18100 < /etc/profile > client_out 2>&1
the file until you understand all of it and use wireshark to annotate everything
that is happening on the network in that pcap you had tcpdump write out all
the way up the OSI stack
strace -eread=all -ewrite=all -f wget -qO /dev/null www.google.com > wget_out 2>&1
in the file until you understand all of it. include everything that happened between
your host and google (you don't know google's internals so just assume they're
running an apache server) over the network in the annotation. study a webserver
(apache, lighttpd, nginx) in debug mode with strace to understand what happened
on the other side of the network connection and use wireshark to annotate everything
that is happening on the network in that pcap you had tcpdump write out all the way
up the OSI stack
Read these whitepapers:
Buy this book and learn it inside and out. It is your bible.
If you do all this and learn it well, get a couple years experience under your belt (frequently there are computer labs that students can work in in college, that is one place to go) and then move to Silicon Valley or some other hub (sounds like you'll already be in Boston--there should be opportunity there). You'll never run out of work and you'll have the opportunity to try to work for the companies that make directly make money from their computing systems instead of being inside an IT shop that is a cost center in some company that does not appreciate you.
I say this all the time, but: Who would have thought that in the 2012, the greatest OS war of our day would still be BSD vs SystemV (iOS vs. Android)?
Generally, a focus in Windows is going to take you into corporate IT, building internally-oriented tools to support organizations. Here you'll want to learn bout VMWare, the full Microsoft stack, and look closely at tools designed for Enterprise support. There's less demand in this arena for nix, but also less chance to make a real impact on the world. Sure, there's something to be said for helping maintain the compute clusters inside of banks, or using Altiris or similar tools to manage hundreds of desktops for gigantic offices. I've done this myself, but I didn't have very much fun.
For my money, where you want to be is in web operations, building the systems that drive popular websites. Think about Instagram, Etsy, Netflix, companies that move enormous amounts of data around on the cheap, with relatively tiny staff. Read the blogs by the infrastructure team behind Etsy, and you'll realize quickly that these guys are geniuses.
Here you'll want to learn about how to interact programmatically with cloud compute providers, such as Amazon AWS, Rackspace Cloud, and the OpenStack providers that are starting to pop up, like HP. (A cloud provider is generally not just virtualization, but virtualization coupled with an API. It may sound small but it's a big difference!)
Here's some reading: If you want to learn a lot about nix operating systems, check out The Armadillo Book and The Practice of System and Network Administration.
If you're interested in learning web operations-oriented sysadmin, which is a VERY interesting place to be, also check out The Art of Scalability -- well, the first 2/3 anyway -- and the followup book, 50 Scalability Rules.
And especially, especially read and understand this, because there won't be many web-oriented companies still in business by 2014 that don't follow this process: Continuous Delivery.
Good luck! You picked a GREAT time to get started in the industry. The 00's were pretty boring by comparison. :)
EDIT: I KAN SPEEL
Good for you, you're seeking out your knowledge and it sounds like you're dedicated to learning as well.
You won't get a good sense of what we do alone, especially because it is a very diverse field and can include specializations in storage, virtualization, databases, helpdesk, desktop support, mobile device management, security (which in itself has a number of specializations), operations, project management, monitoring and reporting, copper and fiber networking, firewall management, programming or developing... See my point? You can read a little more on the fields here
Anyway, if your computer is capable I would suggest you at least familiarize yourself with SOME of what we do, try and get Hyper-V running and learn some of the Powershell commands for interacting with the VMs, then use those VMs to run some *nix stuff and learn how to use those.
There is honestly a ton of free stuff, books, documentation and such available for you, you just have to know where to look and what you might want to see. The search bar here sucks but use the google advanced search for this subreddit and there is a ton of stuff to find, here's a few examples you may find useful:
... I've got literally dozens and dozens of relevant links that you might find useful. My suggestion is to start wide and shallow and figure out what you might interesting, then explore that further. If you want career advice I would suggest you focus on programming and *nix administration (there's a great comment on here in the last year with a path of things to accomplish) as these would give you the greatest variety of skills to create programs, apps, shell scripts, admin servers, etc... Also, don't neglect your soft skills or negotiation abilities as they are very valuable in helping you complete work when not working alone. Good negotiating skills will help ensure you don't get a $14/hr job when you're doing the work of a $70k
The best way to learn is to use it as your primary system, and you'll learn as you have to solve problems. If you're looking to learn its recommended you use something that isn't going to abstract everything like Ubuntu or Linux Mint does, and use something such as Debian etc. (or if you're adventurous and really want to accelerate your learning, Gentoo or others) where you're a bit more involved with less hand holding.
Since you're also wanting to peruse it for purposes of future career options, depending upon your location (NA or Europe) you'll see quite a bit of value from Red Hat certs if you're located in North America. For this there's a lot of reading you can do, but generally the recommendations come down to Jang or Sander books. The current RHEL OS is release 7, and the certification follows that so you'll have to make sure you're using up to date information for reasons of release specific changes (systemd as an example).
Additionally you'll want to make use of Administration guides and the official documentation. This will help you learn to use and administrate systems, but if you're looking to understand things on a lower level there are wonderful books such as How Linux Works to really understand what's going on underneath and help tie things together a bit.
At some point after you're familiar with Linux and you've been using it for a while comfortably you'll want to start learning BASH. Having a good handle on the command line with help with picking up BASH as you use the same commands strung together along with logic structures, error checking, and whatnot to accomplish the tasks you're trying to do. At least some BASH is recommended due to the power of it, and how all distros have a version of the bash shell so provided your script is built portable enough you'll be able to script tasks across systems.
This wiki links to a lot of valuable material, you'll want to go through it in conjunction with a guide such as this. As usual solving problems is a great way to learn, so if you give yourself a project to script and figure it out along the way is great.
Best of luck, this'll keep you busy for a while
> windows server/services?
Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN are Microsoft's main reference portals for operations and development, respectively.
For structured learning, Microsoft offers their MCSE Program. Each exam covers a specific topic, and there are learning objectives and links to reference material available. Microsoft Press will usually have a self-study guide available for each exam.
There's also the Microsoft Virtual Academy, but I've never used it and can't vouch for its quality. Of course, it's free, so....
> linux server/common services? (Could be distro specific)
For professional use, the most commonly used Linux distributions are RHEL/CentOS and Ubuntu. (Debian is also popular, but it's close enough to Ubuntu that you can lump the two together.)
Both RHEL and CentOS have documentation available:
RHEL Documentation Page
Ubuntu Server Guide
RHEL's documentation is far more thorough and complete. However, Ubuntu has community support in the form of the Ubuntu Forums and Ask Ubuntu, and I've personally found it easier and faster to find specific information and solutions for Ubuntu.
For structured learning, Red Hat has a certification track available (which is obviously focused on Red Hat technologies), and LPI has a certification track that is more vendor-neutral. There are self-study books available for Red Hat's certifications, but they are all outdated for the current exams, and I don't recommend buying them until they're revised for RHEL 7.
For self-study, the closest thing to a Linux system administration bible that currently exists is the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook. However, it's a bit dated in certain respects.
Linux support and documentation, like its development, is spread out over the Internet. If you're looking for how to do something, usually the best place to start is Google. Searching for "[stuff] Ubuntu" or "[things] CentOS" will usually send you to the right place. Stack Exchange is also a pretty good resource:
Networking education is split into two worlds: theoretical/academic computer networking, and practical, vendor-specific networking.
For theoretical networking, your best bet is to pick up a textbook. We recently had a thread discussing recommendations.
For practical, vendor-specific networking, the big player is Cisco. Cisco has a certification track available with course objective and reference materials. For self-study, anything written by Wendell Odom is gold; however, bear in mind that you really need a lab for self-study to be effective.
Other companies, like Juniper or HP, also have networking certifications available, but I only recommend them as a supplement.
Lastly, while I describe Cisco's training as "practical," that doesn't mean that the theoretical aspect of networking is unimportant for a professional. There is an industry-wide push toward software-defined networking, and if your SO wants to get in on that, she'll need to have a firm understanding of computer networking theory.
Hardcore NetSec isn't really my field, but /r/netsec has a Getting Started Guide with some resources available.
We're in the opening stages of buying out a large company. Similar sized (international, thousands of employees, dozens of sites all over the place) to us; but naturally there's months of procedure before the buyout is complete. Gov't approval, shareholders vote, board voting, etc. I'm not allowed to communicate with my counterparts at the incoming company, but have contacts in other industries that do business with both of us. I got word a couple weeks ago that their entire team in a specific IT specialty is quitting. They're all scared that my company is going to fire them all as soon as the ink dries.
First off, nothing could be further from the truth. My company may be an outlier, but we do lots of M&As every year; tempted to say 1-2 a month. Mostly small shops, but every now and then we bag a big one like this. Vulture capitalism is a real thing, but it makes up a very very small amount of buyout and mergers. You're still right to be scared, people are always fearful of change. Buying a new house/car, moving to a new place, taking a new job, etc. Perfectly natural.
I'll take a minute to hit on your core concerns:
> Everything I look after is old
So what? If the old hardware is still meeting its requirements in the production environment, that's fine. It's nice to have newer stuff, but I've never seen management update hardware simply because it was "old". If it was constantly at risk of losing customer data, or had unsolvable security concerns, then upgrading it to newer hardware would make sense.
About 1/3rd of my environment (+1500 servers) is what I would call ancient.... but they're still running. Supporting apps that customers use. Preforming some special process that needs specific hardware/software. In some cases, the team that owned the hardware was divested years ago and nobody told us to turn off their shit when they left. It kinda common. During the merger process, everything will be inventoried and documented, including what the server is actually doing (ie: hosting). This is where the curtain is lifted and suddenly we don't need to keep all these boxes running. The ones that do need to stay will get P2V'ed or V2V'd to better systems, if there's a reason it can't stay in its current environment.
> I get the feeling we're kept here temporarily to keep the old stuff running.
Yes, of course you are. Who else? Your team has the knowledge and experience keeping it all running. You're kinda stuck in a holding pattern though. Until the merger is complete, you can't get a job at the new company, and you can't move up at your current one. If you quit your job, you wont get a place at the new company, even if you fit the bill.
At my place, we do very little external hiring, and even then only for esoteric positions (IE: Lync Engineer, Sharepoint admin, Citrix, etc). M&A's are the primary source of our onboarding. Not just because you have experience with the current systems that the company is inheriting as part of the merger; but because you've played an important role in making your current company attractive to mine, which is what lead to the buyout. If your IT systems were shit, and always crashing/losing data, your company wouldn't have grown to the point where it'd be attractive to buy it out. Also, you're keeping these ancient systems running? Nice... obviously you know what you're doing.
Which brings me to the next part... have you met anyone from the new company's HR team yet? We always send in a team of people (directors, HR, advisors) to meet with the employees of the newly acquired company. Figure out who are the good apples and who are bad. Who knows what they're talking about and who is just faking it for the paycheck. If you haven't met with the other company yet, I'd strongly advise you to not jump ship yet. You could be throwing away an excellent opportunity just because you're scared of the pending change.
> Management is off-site.
This is perfectly normal. My manager is 1000mi away, and I only talk to him over Lync/email. Somehow we take care of all our datacenters, around the world, without having to see each other in person. But hey, this is the 21st century and this is how it works. The best people for the job may not live within 50mi of your office, but are within range of another office. If you need someone sitting in the same building to give you guidance on what needs to be done, then you need to ask yourself why. It shouldn't matter if your orders come over an email, a voicemail, or a sit-down meeting. In my experience, having remote management makes the subordinates much more responsible. They're allowed to get their job done their way, in their time (as long as it meets the metric of success), and then report success over an email/chat/call. Almost everyone I've met loves this kind of system. Much more laid back then say, a micromanaging boss who hovers over your desk and asks for constant updates.
> Pay is low, turnover rate high
This too is normal during your M&A. Accounting doesn't want to introduce extra financial liabilities for the new parent company, because it can throw off their forecasting models. Don't be surprised if you get the bare minimum until about ~6mo after the ink dries on the merger. This applies to new hardware, facilities requests, bonuses, perks, etc. It's not a bad sign... but it can be bad for morale. My suggestion is to just suck it up, because you're not going to win a fight with the accountants.
> Change management is more strict.
Get used to this in larger companies. Can you imagine the chaos of hundreds/thousands of people with their hands in thousands of servers? If a customer app goes down at 9am without CC, how do you figure out who did what where? Was it the app owners doing a code change? Was it the network team upgrading a switch? Was it security rolling out an update to the firewall? Change control saves your ass. I was befuddled by the process too when I started, but they've made a believer out of me.
Why should the company wake up 100 people in the middle of the night, to play Sherlock Holmes in the environment, looking for what has changed, because some developer made an opps?
[Also, if you've never read The Phoenix Project, I strongly recommend it. It'll give you a look at how a company without change control "tries" to get things done, and then you can see how change control, once properly implemented, makes everyone's lives soooooo much easier].
> What to do?
Nothing you've done at this point has been unreasonable. Like I said before, your reaction to the change in your company will naturally cause feelings of fear, anticipation, anxiety; which leads to second-guessing and the sense of flight. Your paycheck is at risk, which puts food on the table, gas in your car, and a roof over your head. Totally normal to be up late at night wondering what the future holds.
I'd suggest you get your CV updated... and also put together a portfolio. If/when the new company comes to visit, they'll want to meet with the team who has kept everything running and see if they can be integrated into the new company. You're not re-interviewing for your current job a la 'Office Space', they want to see if you can provide extra value to the company if given the chance. This is where you impress them with how you saved the day keeping X-system online, or how you automated something that used to take days, into minutes. Things like that.
I would NOT suggest signing a 1yr committal on a new lease with the intention of staying with the company. My advice is from someone who has sat on the other side of the table, and while I'm painting you a rosy picture because you've given me no reason to think less of you.... I will state that someone people will be laid off. Duplicate positions, fakers, incompatible team members, etc. Not everyone makes the cut. If you're a decent worker who can be taught new tricks, odds are on your side of being "asked" to join the new company (where you'll still do your current job, and take on more responsibility for a while, until we can find a way to reduce your criticality to the old entity).
tl;dr - Fear of uncertainty is normal. You don't have the full picture of what's going on behind the scenes. You'll see the writing on the wall IF layoffs are coming. Don't do anything rash.
I was in your same shoes 3 years ago when I took my first SA internship. I was the only person on site for 8 employees locally, 30 around the country.
I was scared to make actions at first but the first thing you need to do is learn your network in and out and document the shit out of everything before you even make a change. After that, you will be confident and I am sure of it.
1.) Begin a document called "IT Department Handbook" - add everything you find to it, except passwords. Refer to it, love it, it will always save you. Include disaster recovery in it. Make it so that a third grader can understand it. I have one thats 50 pages right now. This will save you as it has saved me so many times. Make it confidential though, because it will end up holding information you don't want people to see on the outside such as IP addresses and your network map.
2.) Keep passwords file but separate from the system and indistinguishable. I actually keep a password file on my phone in my memo's app but I don't have the full account usernames associated with each one. I provide really indistinguishable hints to the username, usually riddles that only I would know.
3.) Get Veeam endpoint backup and find a place to backup your DC (full backup) and any databases at the very least. You can create a standard for backups later.
3a.) Find the Domain Controller's recovery password immediately.
3b.) Create a recovery USB for all your servers and put them in a location where you can find them later.
4.) Get a Network Diagram going, then after that...
5.) List all Roles and Features each server has on the network diagram, what each server stores, what applications run on them and how essential they are to the business. Example: Domain Controller. No domain controller, no work can be done. CRM: No crm, people can't keep of their cases on the webserver but rather locally, they can live without it for a short time. Start thinking about disaster recovery.
6.) Develop a Khanban System. It's an agile project management method I learned from reading This Book -- I highly suggest buying this to help you better your practice. Put tasks in the backlog and move the ones you think need to be done sooner than others to your daily or weekly sprint.
7.) Find out who uses what server for certain tasks. This may take a while but it helps.
8.) Something I do personally before doing any changes to Group Policy or Regedit is I save their current configurations before making changes. Therefore, if something doesn't work right after a setting is changed, you can quickly revert back to it's last state.
9.) If you have the capability and hardware, get clustering going. So if a DC1 fails, DC2 takes over and everyone can still authenticate and work.
10.) If you have the capability and hardware, create a test environment reflecting your live network on a very small scale but enough to test "Ok so if I make this change, can people from workstations still login, can they still access the development server... etc." - you can create a test domain under your current forest and have it remain separate in this test environment.
11.) If it's not already in place (this might take some time) create a naming nomenclature standard. I.E. DC1.example.com (domain controller 1), DC2.example.com, PS1.example.com (production), WEBS1.example.com (webserver), TE1.example.com (test env.), WK1.example.com (workstation number 1...2...), VM1.example.com (virtual machines). This will help when it comes to debugging issues. My boss likes to make personal names for his servers which drives me fucking nuts because we have 20 servers between us and our clients that we manage. It's a lot better for him to mention "yea I cant get into PS1." rather "I cant get into rabbit" - and there I am trying to remember which server rabbit is and what features it holds off the top of my head; which is where a network diagram can come into play.
I sort of am on the fence of recommending these books but have you read?
Learning how businesses work definitely improves your tech skills. It helps build logic based around what is best for the business, not what is best for IT, or what is best for you. Learning how IT becomes a finely tuned oiled machine for your business is even better.
I have read some of the books on start ups and business so I can understand where they come from, what they are trying to accomplish as a business.
The soft skills will come as you work with more and more people. Just always try to walk into a situation as a neutral part, listen, observe, learn and don't be a jerk. The soft skills will develop pretty easily that way
I've been doing desktop support for about 3 years for my university.
I just accepted a full-time offer for a Jr. Sys Admin position, and I'm currently reading this book which was recommended by my future supervisor. A lot of the topics covered in the book are things that I already know, but definitely good refreshers. It covers in great detail the things that any good sys admin needs to understand. If you've got time to read 1200 pages I'd recommend it.
A Jr. Sys Admin position is definitely the way I would go... You'll learn a TON (I know I'm going to and I haven't even started yet) and it can potentially pay very well; mine certainly is.
You may want to check out /r/sysadminjobs if you haven't already. That's actually where I found the job I'm starting in September. :)
Congrats on the good technical review!
Generally soft skills are 'inter personal communication' and 'customer service'.
Answering your direct question though. . .
I think it boils down to time and prioritization. You have to take the appropriate amount of time to do things correctly, and you have to retrain yourself that you want to do things correctly (remember things), and you want to dedicate the appropriate time to meet those goals. I think empathy helps, but its not required.
Develop a discipline to cataloging things in things in whatever system you use at a corporate level. Ask for refresher training from a manager or team-lead.
For a low cost personal solution, just use a pen and paper and write down what you need to complete today. when new things come in, add to the bottom of the list. Mark through them as you complete them. I sometimes use two columns, one for work, and one for home stuff that I need to complete during the day - bills, things like that. When you keep at something like that for a little while, it helps you figure out what's important to track, what details are important to capture, and what is fluff.
For work with teams, I think digital systems are best - ticketing systems specifically, so everyone can see what others are doing, and with appropriate priorities. Details and action logs go there in case you are out, or someone needs to check status but you are busy. Hopefully you have one.
Don't let app vendors and websites trick you into thinking they have a better mousetrap and all you need to do is spend money. If you don't have the discipline, you won't use them. Some apps do make this process more friction-less, but you may spend more time playing with features than with defining your discipline and using the systems for their intended purposes.
This book may help, and may give you some different perspectives.
TL;DR: There are all kinds of tools that claim to 'do it for you' - ticketing systems, to do lists, iphone apps, but without discipline and re-prioritizing, you probably won't use them.
Personally, I rarely join these organizations for a few reasons. Mostly I feel that they are frequently out of touch and tend to be idealistic, there are rarely speakers or topics of practical use to someone on the job. I understand that most students don't realize this, but being on the job while attending school it really chaps my tender bits.
That said, I am very interested in a decent professional organization provided it meets some requirements.
Now, to go to the actual question presented; What do young professionals want out of an organization like this? this really depends on who you're targeting, those who are in the field will likely be looking for lectures/presentations on best practices, practical examples of deployments of "the next big thing" and hands on training. Those who are in school for this are looking for cool presentations that validate their choice of career, Crazy speakers ("can you get Bill Gates?"), and the stuff I mentioned first. I'm not saying that a person in the field doesn't appreciate that stuff, but the draw for someone in the field is a bit different.
Last, but not least: books are a good draw. I could see offering a nice book for all the 1 year members or a month or two long promotion "join and get this book free." I'm not sure the budget for you guys, but it's an idea. It'll be hard to draw young people until you have a decent amount already no matter what though.
Sorry for the long post
TL;DR: Skip to the paragraph first word "Now" if you want the answer to the actual question.
Freakonomics <- Showed me a different level of problem solving, via thinking about the motivation behind things.
The Icarus Deception & Linchpin <- Helped me realize I hate doing the work of a cog in a machine and that I enjoy my work if I get to express myself via creativity.
How To Win Friends And Influence People <- It may be old, but it's still a great resource for human relations, even today. I don't know about most people around here, but I don't like only staring at my monitor 24-7. You can kind of think of it as the start to social engineering. You learn the correct inputs so that you may get the outputs you desire.
Bonus: Not sure if this counts, since it could be considered "technical":
The Phoenix Project <- If you ever interact with non-IT folks, you should read this book. If you are a non-IT person and interact with them, you should read this book. It shows you there are more ways then simply supporting a business that IT should be utilized. I read this after I'd been "doing devops" for a couple years already, and it really solidified a number of points. It's also a great talking point if you ever interview with someone who HAS read it. The only feedback I've received has been positive when I mention this book (to someone who has read it).
I think he is referring to a multi-boot USB, not just selecting a single ISO to 'burn' to the USB. I like xboot myself, but yumi is another one but I wasn't able to get it to work. There is also UNetBootin, but I was also not able to get this one to produce a workable USB. Another one to try is called Easy2Boot. I'm seeing one called multibootusb.org as well, but it looks like it is only linux distros, not just any random ISO file.
Lastly you could invest in something like this, which is a hardware USB that allows you to select which ISO to boot from.
I hope this list helps. Like I said, xboot is the only one that I've been able to successfully boot from windows ISOs as well as linux ones. Good luck :)
Another "lunches" book to read after the first is Powershell Toolmaking in a month of lunches there's another book coming out on the matter of Scripting later this year.
Also, for reference see if you can get Powershell in Action
It was written by the man who architected and designed the bloody thing, so you're in good hands. I've not read it cover to cover, but it's certainly the definitive reference on the subject.
All above books rated 5/5 stars on amazon by a lot of people.
If you're so bogged down, stitched up and scared to even think about automating anything, then I'd absolutely recommend The Phoenix Project this is the paradigm shift IT has gone through over the past decade. Essentially, IT has taken on board efficiency and best practices that have been standard in the manufacturing industry for decades, to incredible success.
Seriously, "Bag of Nails" IT shops are on their way out. If they're that unwilling to take a step back and do things the smart way, they're a shit company to work for. Learn about technical debt and why it's critical to pay it off.
DevOps and Site Reliability are in essence the latest buzzwords in IT service management, but there's a lot of positive change going on in the industry off the back of it. There's a sort of productivity Gold Rush.
If you're bogged down your current job sounds like the perfect place to cut your teeth and leapfrog off the back of it to move into a better organisation who wants to work smart.
I wouldnt look down on you for it, but I would expect you to sell me. I've never personally used Blackboard so Im not sure where the skillsets overlap. You should be sure, and you should be able to talk about how that helps you transition. Write and practice your pitch.
The most important thing for a junior position is passion for the field. No expects you to be talk about POSIX and why you would use egrep over grep. They just want to see someone that is hungry and wants to learn.
Also, go buy the The linux command line. Its the best intro Linux manual I've ever read, and its intended for people with zero Linux experience to get up to speed. Its the second best value you will get for money spent on a book. The first best is Interviews for dummies. Im not joking when I say that I payed $1 for it at a used book store and its made me at least 15k dollars back. If you sit down and really learn both of these, you will be able to transition to a jr linxu admin role.
Lot's of questions... but here we go. (Warning... you didn't say I had to self censor. Some swearing below)
Hope that helps. I'll PM you my basic info shortly.
Fuck that. You want to learn the newest shit, not some old antiquated OSs that your company just happens to use atm. Yes I'm being very blunt, you will have a better career if you do so.
Also note that Hyper-V is free if you'd like to play with that. You can get that and other Windows Evaluation OSs here.
I run a Hyper-V cluster with two Lenovo M93 systems, a VMWare 5.5 hypervisor on a TS140, and FreeNAS on a custom machine. My network is all Ubiquiti, ERL, ES Lite, 2x UAP-AC.
I recently got my RHCSA back in February and I used the video series by Sander Van Vugt. He also has a book
I haven't used the book, but almost exclusively used Sander's videos (which are available on some....seedy websites? I think they're also available through Pearson). Also, Linux Academy has a similar video series that you can try for 7 days free.
Another useful free video source is the RHCSA Tip of the Week series on Youtube.
In terms of recommendation for studying, you NEED to be running CentOS VMs. You can use actual RHEL servers and signup for a free license as a dev, but CentOS is identical for the purposes of the RHCSA. Everything on the RHCSA Objective Page has a chance of being on the exam. You need to basically be able to step through each of the objectives by memory. This also isn't a written test, but performance based. So they wouldn't ask you how to do something, they would tell you do perform the action in a VM.
Also, learn the man, apropos, grep and find commands intimately and your life will be infinitely easier on the exam. The better you are at bash, the more time you can shave off tasks.
So, architecture can be hard without things to architect, it's very true, and expectations of a junior candidate are going to be lower here, since a lot of junior work is implementing or maintaining things other people have designed and architected. That said, work on finding things to build that have some sort of practical use, whether it is running a site for some club or organization you're a part of, setting up a media streaming system at home, or building some home automation. Then—the important part—be able to discuss intelligently why you made the decisions you did, e.g., "why did you use Apache instead of nginx?" or "why did you use a pair of 1TB hard drives in raid 1 instead of a home NAS?"
An understanding of operational principles also really only comes with actually operating things, and, as a junior, hiring managers are usually going to be mostly concerned with whether you understand that certain concepts are important, rather than whether you can implement them adequately. Some examples of the sort of questions you should be able to talk about confidently, even as a junior:
Team play and project work, however, are not tech-specific, and you certainly already have experiences of some sort in these areas. Anything where you had to work with a group of people over a period of time is relevant experience you can learn from. It doesn't really matter whether you're talking about a school project, helping your aunt build a deck, or defeating the evil lich lord with your motley band of D&D characters. What's important is whether you can talk about good and bad experiences working with other people to accomplish a long-term task that involved planning and coordination, along with what you learned from the experiences.
For example, while interviewing for my current job, I talked about getting fired from an on-campus job at college for flat-out telling my boss in front of my coworkers that I wouldn't do a particular task. At first blush, you'd think that would immediately get me rejected, but I explained
That example and the job it relates have nothing to do with tech, but it's still an example of how team play is important.
You should check out The Practice of System and Network Administration; it discusses a lot of concepts in a general manner and should help provide a basis for talking and learning about them competently.
hmmm...I grew out of that position this past year. It was similar in scope to yours. In your position I highly recommend going desktop infrastructure. Studying for it will allow you to at the very least have a clear understanding of the latest technology available to you for architecting desktop solutions. However, it's not enough to know just that. Here's some advice:
I don't have ADD, but I do exhibit some
super mild symptomssimilar symptoms sometimes (from what I understand, maybe just one symptom), so I have a few suggestions.
Also: This book might help
This book is a very good self study resource for Red Hat's entry level sys admin certifications. Covers RHCSA stuff (entry level), and RHCE (intermediate level). Start with the RHCSA items, it will run you through basics of setting up FTP, HTTP, DNS, Samba, etc. servers.
Also, there are efforts like this one that crowdsources preperation material for those above certifications as well.
But like others have suggested, install RHEL/CentOS in a VM, and just play with it. Familiarize yourself with common commands, services, tasks, installing software (yum), and google linux forums for answers.
Congrats! Welcome to linux administration, and best of luck.
The team I'm on is somewhat unique in our organization and we have been using a modified and always evolving Kanban method.
Our choice to try Kanban came after having read The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim. We really loved the iterative feedback that a system like Kanban can provide.
We started with yarn and sticky notes on a whiteboard until we felt comfortable with the process and then migrated to Kanbanflow. We do individual task time tracking in Toggl.
We had played with bigger solutions targeted for VAR/MSPs but found that they also wanted to be CRM solutions (and a lot of other cruft that we didn't need). Basically, we were wasting our time trying to learn tools instead of processes.
Will we be using these solutions six months from now? Who knows. We are able to shift pretty easily between tools and like to be able to pick what we need. We tend towards simple, useful SaaS offerings that know what they want to provide and do it really well.
Sounds like you already know what you want to do! I'm on the Microsoft side of the house, love scripting, and am fortunate enough to spend the majority of my day working in PowerShell.
Definitely check out The Practice of System and Network Administration if you haven't already, it lays a great foundation for the areas in IT.
If you go the Linux / scripting route, read up on and spend more time with shell scripting and Python (perhaps Ruby if you get into config mgmt). If you go the Windows route, read up and spend more time on PowerShell. Either way, being able to code and automate will be very important in our field, it sounds like you are on the right track.
DevOps is a pretty large field and it is not only tech.
For beginners I would recommend reading the Phoenix Project, it's a novel about a bunch of ppl and you follow along as they make the journey from traditional IT to the DevOps way. It's a nice introduction, though it does not give you answers for how to do DevOps (https://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Project-DevOps-Helping-Business/dp/0988262592).
DevOps is the next step in making Development and Operations work better together with less friction. To achieve this one needs more lean processes and better tooling.
The tooling part is where you would put automation that help lessen the burden of everyone.
DevOps is a bit in the hype, and many understand it as a magical bullet that will make everything so much easier. Though this is not true, it takes a lot of effort to develop and maintain automation.
I'm working mostly with VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services) and Azure. Here I develop Powershell code to make it easier for code to flow through our different environments by leveraging tech to help remove some of the more burdensome processes.
Though if Operations does not already have a good ITSM framework in place, and you have Developers that just want do whatever the hell they fancy. The road to DevOps will be a hard one.
I did not have much DevOps experience when I started, though I had a strong background from Ops where I was well versed in how to merge processes and tech beforehand. So it was just an extension of this. Also my Powershell skills are good enough so I can write the automation I discover is needed as I investigate the existing glue in place between Dev and Ops.
I would say the biggest hindrance for most to do great DevOps is control of WIP (Work in Progress). This is Business Projects, Internal Projects, Operational Change and Unplanned Work. If one can visualize all these types of WIP flowing through Dev and Ops, one have a good foundation to build the rest on top of.
Time Management for System Administrators has some great ideas to get you going, that work for solo on up to large teams.
A lot of people have said it already, in short
edit: I missed you had sites as well. You can make a certain day or two travel days, the sites know to expect you only then, primary site knows not to expect you. Even better, if you only have 1 or 2 tickets for the site with 6 users, bring your projects with you (or self-investment ed) and enjoy the peace and quiet of a remote site. Nobody misses you at the main site because you're expected to be gone. Site support as a solo IT can really throw a wrench in all of this, so you'll really need to set/define expectations of service etc there.
If you are in a lower cost-of-living area then that is probably ok. What you describe seems like mostly level1/2 stuff. My jr sysadmin makes more than that but I think the help desk people make less, but those are the level1 hd people. I don't know how much our level 2 people make (I'm not their manager).
As for my own experience, I made about that much 20 years ago as a level 2 help desk/jr sysadmin at a large company in contract role. I worked a lot on learning everything I could that would help. The more valuable you make yourself to your company the more you'll make, over time and if they have a good management team. This is why switching jobs every few years can be so fruitful, big jumps in pay or smaller jumps with a bigger title and then growth at the new company.
Read about time management (https://www.usenix.org/legacy/event/lisa06/tech/slides/limoncelli_time.pdf), script everything you can (https://www.amazon.com/Learn-Windows-PowerShell-Month-Lunches/dp/1617291080), and document everything you can (a wiki or runbook or such).
Yep, a typical compressor condenses moisture and there is a risk of blowing out moisture.
They do sell "dry air" blowers, but they are expensive. They are 100% dry though and an option if you can afford one. The broadcast industry uses them frequently for their transmission antenna cleaning.
The other option is a fan blower, which is much more powerful and efficient than canned air. I have several of these:
They are pretty awesome.
I think you need to keep an extremely open dialog with the COO. She's your boss. But she's likely hoping you become a trusted adviser rather than someone who needs to be managed.
Don't go in there helpless. But don't hide your deficiencies either. If you want to grow, she will help you do it. But you need to be self-reflecting and have ideas as to how to move forward.
The plan itself will come in the next suggestions.
Reflect on what was successful, and what could have gone better. Get a feel for the general process you defined. Could you have communicated the goals in a more organized fashion? Could you have defined milestones to help set management expectations? Should you have explicitly mentioned certain things weren't goals? What alternate plans where there, why were they rules out, and did management know about them? Were they properly budgeted? Was there adequate testing? Was it prioritized properly?
Do this for every singly project you can remember, then focus on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each rollout. The strengths are what you were good at doing. The weaknesses were what you were bad at.
It could be as simple as "You know, looking back at this rollout, it all feels like one big step to me. I'm having trouble breaking them apart into steps, so it's hard to know when one piece of the project is done." You also need to identify why it's a problem and could get in the way of the project.
Look for patterns, and lay them bare. She'll be aware of some things and not on others. But you're demonstrating a clear willingness to grow, and that your solutions aren't just grasping at straws.
When you assess training options, you need to realize what you actually need. Do you need a class on project management, where you can ask an expert questions, or should you focus on ITIL standards, maybe you just need to start with a book, or maybe a book about modern it departments, or just a professional community.
Your project successes and sore spots, as well as your own comfort level will answer this question.
For any suggestion here, make sure you can justify its efficacy. How will the tool solve something that went wrong with a project?
Maybe the tool isn't a program, but a process . . . A process that you're technically building up by reflecting on project results and starting the dialogue.
They might want you to stop break/fix entirely. You won't be getting an assistant, but you'll be put in charge of someone with their own role, goals, and projects. THEY handle break/fix, rolling out an update, deploying a project.
So when a rollout moves past configuration and basic veirfication, they're role is to test it. Then give it to the people you direct. Then give it to everyone. They're not assisting you, they're following their own objectives within the parameters of their job description.
Maybe they see you as becoming a CIO type in 5 years: the budget, vision for the company, etc. will fall on your shoulders. You'll have a team of people under you doing technical work, while you handle technology from the business perspective. And maybe that's not what you want.
You might want to stay technical and specialize. You'll need project management skills as a Sr. admin or a manager, so your short term goals align. And they're not big enough for a CIO now anyway, so there's no harm.
But your building the expectation that, once you grow large enough, there WILL be someone over you. Because that's not what you want.
It's all about being comfortable, open, and trying to improve. Right now, you're deep into the learning phase. Own it. Everyone will respect you for it.
If you are looking for general advice, instead of domain specific (ie. Windows, Unix, networks...), this book should give you plenty of information and ideas for further reading. Very practical and sane approach. ITIL materials might be also useful, but that's much heavier reading, and rather, um, self-centered.
Keeping a blog with things that you've discovered/struggled with/hacked up together is rather useful - both for you, and for community at large. I actually do this both at work, writing about things specific to our infrastructure, and on the outside, when I find something interesting. It's easy to fall into trivial topics area though.
Last but not least: respect for picking sysadmin job despite having strong developer background. We need this kind of people :) You might also want to read around on DevOps, although take it with a grain of salt.
In short...yes. But there are a few things I would change given the chance. As others have said, either get certified, MCSA, MCSE and/or Network+ / CCNA. Or get a 4 year degree. The 4 year degree is more of an HR filter than anything, but now that I'm older and have a family it's a lot harder for me to go back to school and complete it. Small companies or managed service providers are great for a short term to get your feet wet in the industry. This is a great book The practice of network and system administration It is not very technical and it is kind of dry but it gives a lot of really good insight with how business IT works, things to consider when working on a particular type of project. For example moving an office, there is a chapter on office moves and what to think about... Some say it's a lot of common sense stuff but I found it helpful early on in my career.
Best book IMO that will get you everything start and finish in Linux AND be a great future reference:
UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook (get the latest edition - I think its 5th ed)
Also I like the Linux Foundation certs - same folks that employ Linus. They are very good (read: hard as RH certs) now and allow you to take Ubuntu or RH as distro to take the exam in . Plus cheaper and free retake. Linux Foundation
HOwever best practice is to work with it over and over practice building/installing web servers, databases , mail servers, docker etc etc. Learn vi, learn to search on command line, bash etc.
10000 limit again. Reserving this comment for the Programming section:
Gray Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Reverse Engineers
The Python Standard Library by Example (Developer's Library)
Shell Scripting Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach
Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible, Second Edition
Wicked Cool Shell Scripts
sed & awk (2nd Edition)
The Ruby Programming Language
Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional
Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial: Learn Rails by Example
Agile Web Development with Rails
Automating Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Windows PowerShell 2.0
Pragmatic Guide to Subversion
C++ Primer Plus
The AWK Programming Language thanks sjhill
Modern Perl thanks three18ti
High-Order Perl thanks three18ti
The Art of Scalability thanks mr_chip
Scalability Rules thanks mr_chip
Continuous Delivery thanks mr_chip
The Varnish Book thanks mr_chip
I found it to be one of the easier tests, just a lot of reading and memorizing their terminology.
Like its been said multiple times in this thread, its really not for you, its just to have it on your resume to catch the eye of Non-IT HR types and get you past the screening process.
I once had a director who claimed to have her ITIL. If she managed to pass it, you can. Trust me.
If you want to augment ITIL with practical knowledge, this book was mentioned a few days ago. I picked up a copy and read a few chapters. Really thorough, I think its probably one of the best resources I've read on the topic.
Ended up tweeting Thomas Limoncelli just to tell him how awesome he is. His sysadmin prowess is legit, the guy replied within minutes. Even at Google, the sysadmins are symbiotically hooked to their smartphone like the rest of us. lol
Good luck. You'll do fine.
I appreciate you asking! I love sharing knowledge and resources.
I learned by using PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, and also a wonderful subreddit called /r/PowerShell.
On top of that, I looked at other people's work whether it was on GitHub, Reddit, or YouTube, and I learned how the language worked. Remember, everything in PowerShell is an object. If you remember that, it'll help you a lot!
I also used Microsoft's Virtual Academy for PowerShell, located here: https://mva.microsoft.com/en-us/training-courses/getting-started-with-microsoft-powershell-8276
If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask.
r/homelab is a great place if you want to look and ask quiestions
r/SysAdminBlogs is a great place to find other information from other sysadmins
r/PowerShell is great for powershell stuff
If you want to get started on powershell the book "Powershell in a month of lunches" is a great read if you have time!
Powershell. Think Python, but with more obnoxious syntax. Powershell in a Month of Lunches is well-regarded, and if you know Python already, you can probably skip the first several chapters.
If you already know a CM tool (e.g. Puppet/Ansible/Chef/Salt), check into the Windows/DSC support in said tool.
AD = Dynamic DNS + LDAP + Kerberos. ADSI Edit will be your friend.
Start learning the basics of GPO - it's sort of the desktop/back-office server equivalent of a CM tool. Most often hooked into an AD group/OU.
live withlove Event Viewer. Simple text-based logs are a rarity in Windows world (with the possible exception of IIS).
Don't sweat it too much. Learning the basics of Windows should be pretty quick for a Linux admin.
First, read our Wiki. It is very thorough and answers a lot of these common questions such as
day to day? The Practice of System and Network Administration
And the topical reference books listed below.
Books to help in shaping a sysadmin? The above &:
The Phoenix Project
Time Management for System Administrators
Topical Books I see mentioned often and have been very helpful to me:
Powershell in a month of lunches
Learn Python the hard way
Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook
Windows Server 2016: Inside Out
On my docket:
FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS
Michael W. Lucas and Thomas Limoncelli are very good sysadmin writers, you can't go wrong with a topic they have chosen to write about.
Most of the *nix stuff assumes a baseline knowledge of how to use a unix-based system. I learned as I went but did pick up an old copy of Unix Visual Quickstart Guide not too long ago at a used books sale, which seems like a good starting place for someone overwhelmed with sitting at a terminal and being productive.
I notice I don't have any Virtualization books, perhaps someone else can fill in good books. Most of my knowledge regarding virtualization and network storage has been a mix of official docs, video training, and poking at it. Seems innate but it isn't.
cc him on code reviews for your day to day scripts and proactively go over the small ones with him, line by line, a few times a week.
I have a list of exercises(pm me if you are intested) from: http://www.amazon.com/UNIX-Linux-System-Administration-Handbook/dp/0131480057 -- I assign 4 of these exercises weekly and go over it in 1:1s. Buy him a few books, and explain that you can't send him to a conference because of budget issues this year, but you want to invest in his career development -- it will go along way to building the mentor-mentee relationship.
The thing I like about this book, its age does give a good historical perspective, but the questions at the end of the chapters are easily adapted into good questions to fit a particular environment.
I've used this approach to bring up 3 jr linux sysadmins so far.
Grab a copy of Time Management for system Administrators and actually read it. It took me months to make the time to read it but it is worthwhile. To start with you get instant confirmation that you are not the only person in your situation and that there is hope to improve the situation.
If management will not let you have a second person talk to them about hosted email. That would remove a chunk of the "stuff" you have to manage. Do a three and five year ROI on it just to make sure, but you are likely to come out ahead after you factor in DR, licensing, and time. Use the old Exchange install and what it took to upgrade as examples.
Even with an open floor plan you need a ticketing system and you need to believe in the system. If people complain tell them the ticketing system is so that "I can better do my job helping you."
The personal PC crap has to end. You open yourself and the company up to liability working on personal hardware.
For your bosses, have a sit-down chat about their "lottery bus" plan. That is what if you a) get hit by a bus on the way home, or b) win the lottery on the way home. For the company it doesn't matter because you're not going to be in to work the next day.
No problem, I would always say deploy them as Applications as you get much better control of them and have more options available.
Packages are mostly a holdover from CM2007 and earlier and while still perfectly functional I tend to only use them for "dumb" deployments now like copying a file to a PC.
Theres a nice overview of the differences between Packages and Apps here:
If you are looking for a better "guide" for sanely deploying and managing SCCM I highly recommend this book:
Rather than just being full of pictures of clicking Next on a wizard it actually walks you through a real world deployment and provides some hard won tips and hints as well as showing how to work with each part of SCCM, from installation to app deployment, OSD, OS updates and more.
I started working full time a bit over a decade ago. Did some PC tech work part time when I was a senior in high school. Did help desk, web development and light sysadmin work for my university while in college over a period of 4 years.
Right now I deal with RHEL and Windows (60/40) most of the servers are VMs running on top of VMware with NetApp used for storage.
I've worked with RHEL, Windows and VMware for my past few jobs over the past 6-7 years. I've done Windows and Mac desktop support. At various points touched Solaris and FreeBSD (waste of time now).
Get this book. It should be your bible. It is fairly OS agnostic:
As far as other books, it depends what you want to do. If you have to put food on the table right now and you already know Windows, then I guess you have to be a Windows admin.
But otherwise I'd seriously try to stay away from being a Windows guy. It is by far the most overdone OS and Windows people are literally a dime a dozen. A lot of them are really horrible at their jobs too since without much training you can kinda fumble your way through a Windows environment. As a result, there are a lot of really shitty Windows admins who support Windows PCs and a handful of servers for small business, and get paid absolute shit money to do it.
If you're going to be learning tech skills, focus on linux, vmware, cloud stuff, networking, etc
There will be fewer jobs, but when they do come up, they will pay better, and will be more interesting.
You should still know windows, but you want to learn all those other things. I like that my team is hybrid windows and linux. we pick whichever works best for the application in question.
So if you want books, other than the "bible" i suggested, learn about linux, or vmware, or something that is not windows.
You will pick up the knowledge fairly quickly, but the wisdom part comes slowly.
Read some books:
Start humble, stay humble, be quick to listen and slow to speak, and don't make changes on Friday!
Give me a DM if you need some help and I am cool pointing out resources or giving some pointers. The key is to make the data in the end valuable, instead of a jumble of graphs.
It was recommended to me by the Practice of System Administration book, which I highly recommend as it outlines many great 2017-2018 practices .
A few thoughts. Hopefully at least one of them will be helpful.
I could go on, but most of the above is already in the two books I listed and I'd just be riffing on a theme. I'll leave you with this:
Maybe it will get easier; depends on the culture where you work, and what kind of support you could get from them. Have you approached your higher ups with your concerns, or are they just part of the problem?
Yes, sometimes you get those new projects where your confidence level is high, but being in IT, I learned long ago that nothing is ever as easy as it seems.
If you want some skills to help with productivity and organizing the constant stream of distractions, I recommend two books:
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Time Management for System Administrators by Thomas Limoncelli
Both are better reads than you would think.
I don't think anyone is going to do this work for you but this is the best thing for you; today you are going to learn powershell and it is going to own your soul.
How are your powershell skills? If you haven't yet read anything about Powershell, here are your starting points:
My recommendation would be to write as much as your script that you can make work, even if it is "Hey LOOK AT THIS HOLY CRAP I CAN PULL THE JOB SUCCESS AND FAILURES FROM VEEAM" and then post your attempt to r/powershell with questions on what you need to finish things up.
I am really excited for you - I was posting these kinds of questions before someone told me that I should just learn how to do it myself. Probably the most valuable skill I have picked up in the last 6 years is Powershell.
I've been struggling with the same thing in my environment, so I'm not sure I can answer this question for you. That being said, I've been doing a fair bit of reading on best practices for this issue and from what I can tell the general consensus is "what works best for your environment".
I've been organizing users and computers into their own OUs by department. That may not work best for your environment though. You may need to do by physical location, both in the office, and nationally/internationally.
I've been architecting mine to best be able to use GPOs and GPPs. Again, you'll want to think about your final setup here. Are you going to have printers mapped by location? Are you having specific printers for specific users or groups? Do your users move between floors? Between sites?
These are questions I've been learning to ask when thinking about AD design. I've been reading The Practice of System and Network Administration and I can't recommend it enough. Another book I've been reading is Group Policy: Fundamentals, Security, and the Managed Desktop. The Group Policy book is a great resource and poses different scenarios out to help with organizing AD which I found particularly helpful.
As for those "migrated" users, you'll likely want to put them in the proper OUs, it sounds like there was a merge or something similar in this environment. It may be best to just start over and rebuild the domain, but that's a big if.
You know I signed the NDA and can't talk about the exam, but I can give you my personal opinion.
I finished the RHCSA an hour earlier than the given time, I found it quite easy, but consider that the majority of the Red Hat official objectives are part of my daily job (user management, LVM, scripting etc.) thus I rushed through the questions without problems. I usually work through the CLI because I really enjoy it but also becouse it's quite faster than the GUI.
The RHCE was a bit more difficult, Red Hat gives you less time and I felt the stress of the previous exam (I took both the same day, one in the morning and the other in the evening).
I studied for a couple of months using the M. Jang book. I found it very useful, particularly the labs and the exam samples.
I can just recommend you to do a lot of practice. Install CentOS, spin up a couple of VMs and go through all the labs and examples in the book. Then delete the VMs and restart from the beginning until you can rush through them without googling or looking up in the book.
Then just book your exams and pass them! :)
If you're involved in windows admin work at all, it's in your best interest to learn powershell. It is so much more robust and...well, powerful than any GUI you use, especially for queries and reporting. I have this book, i'd recommend it highly, about halfway done so far
Powershell is a favorite at my place of work and allows us to automate some pretty fun stuff.. if you get started scripting or have any questions feel free to P.M. me anytime.. as for resources for powershell:
https://leanpub.com/powershell-scripting-toolmaking - PDF
https://www.amazon.com/Learn-Windows-PowerShell-Month-Lunches/dp/1617294160 - Book
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CRTahGYnws&amp;list=PL6D474E721138865A - Video
Hope this helps.. :)
I rate this Redhat RHCSA and RHCE study guide which covers pretty much everything you'll need to know about Centos/RHEL. Maybe even take the RHCSA or an equivalent exam when you're ready (ie LPIC 1, Linux+), it'll certainly help you learn and get hired.
Ignore the gui tools as much as you can, typically they're not going to help you learn any quicker and you'll likely end up not bothering with them at all down the line anyway.
Once you have a grounding, just get out and find yourself a linux admin job as that's where you'll really cut your teeth. Don't be afraid to start looking sooner rather than later, just be honest about your level of experience.
What OS are you running your svn server on? The basic solution to people offsite accessing svn securely is https, which involves generating an ssl certificate and is fiddly. SVN has a pretty good handbook called the red bean book: http://svnbook.red-bean.com/. The chapter covering your options is: http://svnbook.red-bean.com/en/1.5/svn.serverconfig.html
If I were you, I'd follow bandman614's advice: list everything adn then prioritise. The thing to think about with priorisation is: who are you blocking? Could be that a few developers are getting paid and can't work until you've got the svn setup dealt with. Could be that they're fine for now, in which case don't worry about it before backups.
I imagine your vm to hardware migration is least important, but it depends on why you need to do it: is the hardware that the vms are running on going to vanish? Or is it just to better utilise available resources? Or is it because everyone's getting network timeouts because the VMs are underpowered and running your DNS server and DHCP server, and most of your company can't work properly until they're migrated?
List, prioritise, work through the priorities. http://www.amazon.com/Management-System-Administrators-Thomas-Limoncelli/dp/0596007833 is pretty damn good.
I'm not sure I'd consider Powershell devops than a core Windows administration tool. Devops to me would be like Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Salt, etc. (Puppet I think would be good for a Windows person to learn.)
You can do Powershell in a month of lunches: https://www.amazon.com/Learn-Windows-PowerShell-Month-Lunches/dp/1617291080
You can do the Microsoft Virtual Academy as well: https://mva.microsoft.com/en-us/training-courses/getting-started-with-powershell-3-0-jump-start-8276
Powershell is very object oriented and pipelined, it's not a bunch of "++1, !, +3," style of true programming. It's more of a "get-aduser doej"
A lot of the commands are the same syntax prefixes, like "get" and "export".
Don't be discouraged, envision yourself knowing this inside and out in a year, and your mind will work you toward this goal.
What, specifically, do you work with that you think can benefit from scripting?
'Best practice' is such a vague term that you're going to run into issues defining it in a meaningful way for your client's environment.
I'd look at generic guides (u/jhend28 mentions a good one) but also read up on specifics that apply to your environment. For example: best practice for a level 4 data center hosting financial data for banks etc. will not apply at all you a SME with two servers on premise that don't sell direct and hold no Top Secret data.
Have a read of The Practice of System and Network Administration: Volume 1 for a good starting place.
I started in the same boat as you, but I've been doing this for a few years now. Probably worse than someone who came up in a very structured environment.
Get a orchestration mgmt system setup, like salt, puppet, chef, etc.
Get monitoring set up if you haven't already. Central logging and automatic alerting, etc. If you have time, set up visualization for logs so you can see trends, using things like splunk or elk.
Make sure you have backups, and make sure you can actually restore from backups.
These are good, and written by someone with way more experience than me: 'The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition', 'Time Management for System Administrators'
Check out "The Practice of System and Network Administration: Volume 1: DevOps and other Best Practices for Enterprise IT (3rd Edition)" by Thomas Limoncelli.
I'm also pretty new to this job, and this book has been really helpful in better understanding all that we get to do.
Advice to noobies:
I use it myself all the time as a reference if nothing else.
What I wish someone had told me:
explaination: I ran into a job where the manager believed things worked in a specific way, with specific servers handling specific things, but no substantial documentation... During my time there I personally found more than 60 VMs and 4-5 physical servers that no one but the previous sysadmin had known about.
Turns out most of those servers and VMs were a combination of things vital to business processes, but a very small handful of them were very creative attempts at establishing a backdoor into company systems, or 'temporary workarounds' that had become production critical services without proper authentication.
I highly recommend starting with The Phoenix Project. Don't pass by this book just because it says "DevOps" in the title. It quite specifically addresses the ideas of change management, why they are important for IT, and more importantly why they are important for the business.
Then once you're sure you're ready for Change Management, The Visible Ops Handbook is a more prescriptive book that will help you on the beginning stages of implementing Change Management.
I found this book in a thread and I've gone through the first four chapters so far. I only got it a little while ago but I really do like how it reads, and the amount it covers is nice. Check out the table of contents on amazon and you'll see what I mean about the coverage.
Other than that we're looking at the same kind of stuff. Let me know if you get any good leads :P
Have him read this:
If he's interested in doing these kinds of processes, and actually finishes the book (it's easy enough to read, just processes not tech stuff), then it might be worth it to just give it a try. Im guessing the expectations aren't very high if the guy doesn't care that he doesn't have experience. This is a job based on experience.
Anyway, thats a good start to the process, then he should start playing around with whatever OS the guy has in a small lab (VMs work great for this).
If it's a real company of any size, it seems unlikely this is going to go great, but it will give him a start in a career, and if he's up for trying it will be a good experience, for experience's sake.
/r/powershell is a nice place to begin and there are a number of links on the sidebar that can help get you started. When I was getting started I used the book Windows PowerShell Unleashed which I really liked. I have heard good things about Learn Windows PowerShell In A Month Of Lunches but I haven't had the chance to look in to it myself.
For free online resources I like ss64 and I also referenced computerperformance.co.uk when getting started.
Agreed. OP, you nee to take some time and learn powershell - you can certainly do all the tasks that you listed in your post, but again, you need to learn the basics. I suggest starting with this book. Best of luck.
Michael Jang's books albeit hard to understand and read at times... are great for prepping for the RHCSA. I have my RHCSA, haven't started on my RHCE yet.
Asghar Ghori released his updated book to his RHCT classic that I loved
My friend says this one helped him out a lot.
As for the command line, there's a ton of online crash coarse resources you can find with a Google search. Also, there's the lower 100 courses Red Hat has and I'm pretty sure they deal with command line if you have the bucks, or company funding for it.
I'm reading "The Linux Command Line" book by William E. Shotts, Jr. A good primer for when you want to get into Linux. It reads well and it doesn't dump a ton of information on you at once.
Huh. It's a "Best Seller" now, lol. https://amzn.to/2zgHrzV
I currently have a computer science degree (coding) that I got after 5 years working in IT and I found that there's a lot of concepts that you get from studying computer science that you would never get learning to code on your own unless you were very motivated. A lot of the stuff I learned really helped me put the things I already knew into perspective. For instance, learning about different data structures like trees and heaps really locked down my networking and DNS knowledge in particular. I can script circles around most other sysadmins I've met, and i'm far less afraid of tasks I don't know how to do after being told things like 'what's the big deal, it's just a different programming language' in some university classes. I find the computer science degree will teach you how to think in a more structured way, and teach you how to tackle much larger problems. In an IT degree, I'm not sure you'd pick up much that you couldn't get from The Practice Of System and Network Administration. The Cisco stuff... Buy yourself a couple switches or one of those home lab kits and practice with the gear - this way you'll learn the most important thing a sysadmin can learn: how to teach yourself. If you go the sysadmin route, you'll end up needing to learn how to code none the less, so you might as well get that the hard way. My advice though, is spend your off time in university coding or playing with systems rather than playing video games... The guys I know who are really good with all this stuff learned to make it a game for themselves rather than just doing it as work.
There's a lot of information you need and I highly doubt you're going to get it all from one post, one individual or one source.
If you know your IT director is leaving then stay on his good side and bend his ear a bit on how things work there. This will save the owed-beers and frantic phone calls when some shit hits a fan and you can't Google your way out of it.
As for what to learn, Windows or Linux, etc; If you want to stay with this company for a year or few then look at what they need. Find problems, research solutions, test them, present them to your boss in the context of how your solution can save money and/or increase productivity. Is every user emailing you requests for assistance? Setup a ticket system. What's your backup setup like? If you don't have one then you need to figure that shit out quick. Backups are boring and second-class to most people until they need to recover an important file.
I also highly recommend picking up a copy of The Practice of System and Network Administration. http://www.amazon.com/Practice-System-Network-Administration-Edition/dp/0321492668. Most of us wouldn't recommend a tech book from 6 years ago but most of the information in this book is the non-tech stuff you need to know to do your job and do it well.
Oh, and keep lurking online and here in /r/sysadmin
A decent water bottle.
Earplugs are very helpful.
Whiteboards are also great for tracking work or explaining stuff.
On occasion a knife is also handy.
UNIX and Linux Systems Administration is also great.
I tend to work at a desk and in places where you can't bring your own random gear--which is not something that bothers me.
There is a very good reason why it has a 97% savings right now.....
Great list from /u/va_network_nerd and +1 on Linuxacademy as I use it all the time for learning
I love this book
Start with this book: Time Management for System Administrators.
> Currently I write down all my tasks at the start of the day, then split them down to smaller tasks and fit them into 30 minute chunks.
This may be part of your problem. Stop micromanaging your tasks.
> I have done none of my tasks for the day as I have been chasing up other things.
What these other things you are chasing? Why are you chasing them? Start documenting these shiny objects and sit down with your boss and be honest with them, "Hey. I have been trying to get all this stuff done but I keep getting pulled on doing things like this, this, and this. How would you like me to handle these when they come back up again?"
In addition you can see where you time is going and realize you are getting a lot accomplished. Just not prioritizing the right work to get done.
Some literary resources you should find helpful. When in doubt, track down the best in your field and find out what they are writing/doing (Good Luck!)
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches https://www.amazon.com/dp/1617294160/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_c--CzbBZM4SFB
Building Virtual Machine Labs: A Hands-On Guide https://www.amazon.com/dp/1546932631/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_4b.Czb24JYXTM
(I am positive you can scrape some useful AD information from this collection)
Rule 1: You better start learning how to teach yourself cause classes are probably not gonna happen. I got this book and taught myself the fundamentals of powershell. You'll need to do something similar. For the application, I'm sure the developer provides an entire site full of documentation for you to use to help develop your skills. It may seem intimidating now, but you'll get used to it.
Note: The powershell book is very easy to find for free if you know where to look.
I was in the same boat 2 years ago. Go and purchase a copy of this book and read as much as you can. This is the best book out there and will give you an idea of how IT should be handled.
Be upfront with whoever you answer to about the situation. Its bad, and it may get worse. Don't make promises you can't fulfill. If there is anything sketchy (i.e. licensing etc) make sure everything is in writing to CYA. The previous IT person left for a reason.
I would start with validating login credentials for all key systems and ensure you have administrative access followed shortly by evaluating backups, and mission critical services. If you don't understand what something does, don't touch it until you do.
Have the backups been tested, how often are they done, What would happen if x server went down. It doesn't need to be detailed at first and RAID is not a backup. How long is the RTO (Return to Operation) from a critical disaster?
Documentation takes time, but this is what they pay System Administrators for and why they make the big bucks.
Without documentation you can't do your job, you can't take a vacation, and the business will grind to a halt. Its that important.
If you don't have administrative credentials and the previous person was halfway proficient a complete rebuild from the ground up is the most cost-effective longterm solution.
Infrastructure is a foundation, you need it solid before building on it and if it wasn't done properly to begin with its better to have it designed right the first time. If you can't do it then bring in a consultant but it will be expensive.
Edit: I almost forgot. Keep a personal composition book with you, when you find a solution for something write it down. I've found so many solutions and 6 months down the line needed it again but couldnt' remember. This guarantees you won't spend a lot of time searching for the same solutions multiple times.
This is a great read as well. Highly recommend. A good insight into devops.
A book that might help you sort some of this out is The Practice of System and Network Administration by Limoncelli. He has a lot of advice on how to work smarter instead of harder, how to standardize procedures, and sensible ways to structure workflow for both yourself as well as an IT department. It's a great resource for any sysadmin, and doubly so for someone just getting started.
Honestly, I could never find a technical solution for the non-ticket task items that really worked for me.
After reading this book I went the analog route and write down every task I do. Then, first thing the next morning I bring over tasks that are still on my list from the day before. This has been the best way to keep myself on track and not forget about my action items.
I got a nice planner with a set of planner paper that works well for me (close to what's discussed in the book). It's always open on my desk, and I always have it with me in meetings, so I never have an excuse to not log a task.
This book: Best $10 (kindle edition) you'll spend.
I've been doing the sysadmin thing for 6 years and he has taught me some very valuable skills. I wish I would have read this book years ago!
> No one else even has admin level access-- except me, very recently, with a big fight.
If this fight was with your current "computer guy," then you have big problems. They may be political, or technical, or security; he may be just offended that a family scion is encroaching on his "turf," or he may be afraid that someone will see his incompetence, or he may be disgruntled by the whole employment experience and planting some deadman switches. Take some time to mend fences; emphasize your need to learn this area of the business, and that you don't intend to displace him, and that the more you learn about what he does, the more you, as a future owner, will be able to advocate for the expenses necessary to keep "IT department" operating smoothly.
But also make it clear that the guy who pays the bills has placed you in charge, and that while you want to hand him his paycheck indefinitely, you are the guy signing the paycheck. Things are going to change, and he needs to get on board with that. He may not be willing to accept this change, in which case you will, unfortunately, have to quietly start planning to replace him.
Give him a chance; he may come around. It sounds like for a long time he's been able to run the "IT Department" however he wanted to, so this is a huge life change for him. I can't emphasize enough how much you need to make clear your loyalty to him, but that the price for that loyalty is his loyalty to you the other members of management.
> We have at least 8 computers still running XP.
Is this because computer guy didn't want to replace them (bad) or because users didn't want them replaced (still bad, but not computer guy's fault)?
> He keeps everyone's passwords on his phone.
This is almost certainly because of employees who think he should know everything about computers, including their password. I'd start with a culture change among employees that passwords are secret; that no one, not even the owner, should have their password; and that writing down or sharing a password should be a fireable offense. However, you need to be sure that passwords are easy to remember.
> Am I wrong to be thinking we shouldn't be having these frequent crashes/problems?
No, you're not wrong. Review your support agreement in detail. Start keeping meticulous records of the problems you're having and the impact to the business, in terms of number of users affected, lost hours of work, and lost revenues. Notify the software company of each problem. When you get to three problems, you need to politely but firmly request an escalation to someone who can address and prevent these problems systematically. There's a good chance that the software company will report back that these problems are the results of past decisions your company has made in contravention of the software company's recommendations.
> yelling at people
Does your company have a culture of yelling at people? Does the owner yell at people? Do managers yell at people? If so, then he's merely following his leadership. This is a culture change that you will have to work on, quietly and calmly, but forcefully. If / when leadership doesn't manage by yelling, then I would make it clear to computer guy that he gets one free yell, but a second one will result in harsh disciplinary action. If the job is that frustrating, get him a heavy bag for the server room and tell him "Whenever our employees are too stupid for words, excuse yourself, tell them that your boss 0110100101110100 told you you have to do something, and go punch the bag." This sounds like it might also be symptomatic of the end users expecting the computer guy to be able to fix anything immediately, and that if he can't, he's an idiot. This is something else that may require some culture change among the end users.
> it's impossible to fix
This is a different problem. If he says he can't fix something, you need to show him that he can. If he exhibits any behavior other than wanting to learn more, you need to shut him down hard. IT changes constantly. Anyone who doesn't want to learn something new all the time doesn't belong in IT.
> visual basic
Eh, unless you're doing custom software development, I'd let this slide as a quirk. Everyone has a right to stupid opinions about things they know nothing about.
> where do I start?
Buy a copy of The Practice of System and Network Administration I think most folks on this sub would agree that it's a good reference for a starting (or even a seasoned) sysadmin. Read it, encourage him to read it, and use it as a starting place for the changes you want to make.
TL;DR IT guy's behavior is symptomatic of a bad relationship between users and IT. It's not all his fault. You need to take charge of the situation and bring him along. If you can't handle one frustrated sysadmin, what makes you think you can run a company?
I'm currently in the process of revamping my help desk. I'm pretty much following the guidelines set out in this book. I didnt really agree or understand it at first, but after really taking a step back and looking at how things were done, defining the policies and guides he recommends has really helped.
You can also run through the first couple questions of this test. It's done by the same guy who wrote the book, and is a great self-evaluation of how things are currently running for you.
There's not better starting point than: The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition
I've referred back to this book more than any other in my library and I absolutely love it. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have!
Surprised no one else has mentioned it, but the best resource that I've found on this subject is
Tom Limoncelli's - Time Management for System Administrators
Don't just read it, but actually implement his teachings and you'll be much better off.
I would highly recomend The Practice of System and Network Administration as a guide book for moving on to bigger roles. It isn't technical but that's a good thing. It will help build a common vocabulary when talking with more advanced people.
I was recommended this book, and in my opinion it's quite good. I could link you to a torrent full of every book you could possibly need for stuff like this, but PM me though.
http://www.amazon.com/Linux-System-Administration-Handbook-Edition/dp/0131480057 <-- Great!
I've always wanted to get one of these hard drive enclosures that supports mounting an ISO so you can choose what to boot all from one device, like this one. They all seem kind of cheap though, but this one has good reviews and it's an attractive price.
I recommend using both https://linuxacademy.com/ AND Jang's book https://www.amazon.com/RHCSA-Linux-Certification-Study-Guide/dp/0071765654. Personally, I completed LA first and then worked through the entirety of the RHCSA section in the book, being sure to do every single lab and exercise along the way while also taking handwritten notes.
Using the above, I earned my RHCSA last month. Currently studying for the RHCE with the same two resources and study strategy. Good luck!
QBQ. The Question Behind the Question
The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management
Time Management for System Administrators
Honestly, this is by far one of the best books I’ve read and should help get you started:
UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0134277554
I've just search the thread and couldn't find a pointers I think is worth mentioning:
This helps you not only to track your efforts and see what you have to do but also gives you a feeling of accomplishment on the end of each days.
Time Management for System Administrators is also a must read IMHO with many great pointers.
It sounds like you're trying to use technology to solve a problem that correct and useful documentation and processes would solve.
You don't want your team to have to re-invent the wheel every-time a patch is required.
Here is a useful book I would recommend.
> Crankys Guide to Sysadmin
I would honestly read that. It would make a great no-bullshit addition/supplement to something like The Practice of System and Network Administration.
Sounds to me like you need a good reference. Something to guide your thought processes and help you evaluate your position from not just a technical stance but a logistical and political one as well.
It sounds to me like you need to hunt down a copy of our bible: The Practice of Network and System Administration
Sounds like you couldn't get one in time to help with this project. But these "Iodd 2531 Black - Usb3.0 - Hdd -Ssd - Virtual Cd-rom" Enclosures come in incredibly handy. It let's you store a bunch of ISO image, you select which image you want to load and then it creates a virtual DVD emulator that loads via USB letting you boot from ISO images. The Iodd version is basically a slightly updated version of the old Zalman that's become difficult to find. One of the best $40 I've spent in IT in a looong time.
Depends on the issue and its priority. Managing and juggling your priorities is everything in this sort of job, involving considerations like "is this a fix or an addition?", "how many people is this affecting?", "how long is it going to take me to resolve this?", and "how confident am I that my estimate is accurate?". Then there's always the wildcard of your manager dropping a scanner install for a secretary that is drop-everything-urgent, pulling you away from fixing your domain controller (which will happen).
Related, this book is the standard for this sort of discussion: https://www.amazon.com/Time-Management-System-Administrators-Working/dp/0596007833
This is great.
I haven't finished it yet but it seems to be great so far.
Anyone utilized this book or others like it?
I have come to terms with the fact I am a terrible SysAdmin though I have been in the job for two years. I work at a place that literally has nothing in place other that 2 ADs in terms of administration and I have implemented nothing new to assist in support of a small network of 14 windows servers, about 30 win clients, and 40 switches. I start several projects but they fall by the wayside. I need to mentally reboot and get myself and systems into gear. Any suggestions for resources when dealing with small shop IT (just 1 person) would be greatly appreciated.
I really liked this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1118289420/
It covers a lot of the 410-412 stuff in really good detail and was an easy read.
Please tell us more about the benefits of making someone sing and dance as related to IT. Don't worry, I'll wait for you to google some more horseshit.
You want a team building exercise, or something to bring someone out of their shell? There are a ton of them that don't involve stupid shit like this. This gave me anxiety just reading it, and I would not participate. Is this really worth losing a brand new hire? If so your company must have more money than brains.
Recommended reading: A book with literally nothing about singing and dancing in IT.
It might be worth it for you to pick up a good study guide for the new material to give you a better idea of what has and has not changed. I have a copy of this one, it's very well laid out and covers a lot of ground.
Or if you want to take things outside and blow dust everywhere, these are great fun!
I recently took (and failed) 70-417, the upgrade exam which combines 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412. I studied all three courses as prep for 70-417 as although it only covers a subset of each course you can be examined on any area.
By far the best book I've come across for 2012 is Mastering Windows Server 2012 R2 by Minasi et al. It's not geared specifically towards the exams, you'll need to pick out the objectives. It's eminently readable but at 1670 pages will take a while to get through.
Assuming the Exam Ref books for the individual courses are similar to the 70-417 Exam Ref book, as an overview of the objectives they'll be fine but they don't go deep enough.
If you're after videos, I wasn't that impressed with 70-410 or 70-411 content on PluralSight but there are now two 70-412 courses: a retired course by Mike Hammond and a new course updated for the R2 content by Greg Shields and I thought both were excellent.
If you're looking for a good book, I highly recommend "The Practice of System and Network Administration".
Read it, every page, cover to cover. It'll be a phenomenal crash course for you in system and network administration. Then if you need to dive into more intricate technical details later you can start looking at technical certifications. But again, this book will be a great start.
Even earlier versions would be a very good read despite the DevOps hype, but the 3rd (new) version includes best DevOps practices even without having any devs.
I know you didn't ask but I'm going to recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Practice-System-Network-Administration-Second/dp/0321492668
I picked up that book and I've been reading it. I've been a sysadmin for 10 years and the book is teaching me things. I'm impressed thus far. It's written the way that I want books to be written.
THIS. So much. I bought this https://www.amazon.de/Management-System-Administrators-Thomas-Limoncelli/dp/0596007833 and its really helpfull imho, but you should do it.
I have to keep it up. Thanks for reminding me :)
I highly recommend The Practice of System and Network Administration. Goes over a whole bunch of real world tips of what you will need to be successful and keep you sane in the process. Goes over ticketing systems, time management, documentation, patching, imaging, and various other processes that are vital for any Sys Admin.
Being too busy to inundate oneself with nuances of a specialty =! helping a specialist understand your issue.
>If you've done a good job, your coworkers shouldn't even know you exist, TBH.
Please read "The Practice of System & Network Administration ...
Visibility is incredibly important.
/r/powershell is a good place to start.
This book is also commonly recommended as a good starting point as well if you prefer books.
Would recommend reading,
"The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition"
lots of good starters on different topics. It helped me quite a bit.
Depends how familiar you are with Linux in general, the content isn't too bad if you have familiarity with any flavor of Linux and can use vi/vim. If you're able to use some work time to study or you dedicate a lot of your free time to studying it can definitely be done in 2 months.
Did you check out the objectives to see what you think you might have down and what you need to study? I haven't used Red Hat's training but Sander Van Vugt's book (granted this is for RHEL 7, most exams are for 8 at this point and his book on 8 isn't out yet) has some good pre-chapter Do I Know This Already quizzes and post-chapter review and labs, plus practice exams.
Just got these 2 for xmas.. I'm still in the process of figuring out where I want to go within the industry, but both provide a good foundation for Administration and Networking. Plan is to get at least CCNA to help with the networking fundamentals.
Practice of System & Network Admin
Thank you very much everyone for all your answers!
I really appreciate!
I begin with
I personally use an IODD 2531, it's works very similar but you use a menu on the screen to pick an ISO.
(Note: It's basically the same as the Zalman enclosures but apparently with better firmware)
As they both support Secure Boot it really doesn't matter which one you use, I prefer the IODD though as I can set it to be only the ISO with no access to the disk.
Not free software, but I have heard of people having good luck with this once loaded up:
I like a nice ham sandwich for a lunch point.
As far as getting into PS. This is the usual recommendation.
Enjoy your book and sandwich.
Read Limoncelli's book: The Practice of System and Network Administration: Volume 1. That would give you a good place to start and learn best practices.
> What knowledge do you carry over from the history of our field that you can't easily learn or discover now?
> Instead of one system to do everything for the business, I am starting to see a trend towards many specialized systems that are built to interface with other systems.
Go together nicely. This is how things were before the PC took over. What did the old-timers do? What approaches to system design need to be taken into consideration when dealing with multiple vendors that are not interoperable? What about support contract management? These things haven't changed much. And they are hard questions to answer through a book.
Books to read? Hmm. I generally suggest:
And yes these are written by old people.
Pretty much the defacto for Red Hat training. The best part is that much of it can be transferred to other Linux variants.
Good luck and looks like the 3rd edition is in the making
So I have the MCSE Mobility and I do not know if that alone will last.
Would rather say it depends on your skill. You can also become a sysadmin without a certificate as the others have already mentioned. The MCSE Mobility does not really go deeper into server landscapes like the MCSA Server 2016 does.
The topics to be covered is:
And SCCM with intune I think.
I chose Deployment because I already had experience.
ZT Deployment (sccm)
USTMIf you really want to go deeper I can recommend the following book
is also recommended here in the wiki.
https://www.amazon.com/Practice-System-Network-Administration-3rd/dp/0321919165/hope you get your sysdamin place :)
Thanks for linking this, I hadn't seen it yet. As a Windows admin looking to get into Linux, this seems interesting.
Also, for your automation, I'd recommend Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, if you haven't read it already. It can also be found for free here: Automate the Boring Stuff.
I'll add another plug for The Practice of System and Network Information, even if you have a good feel for the philosophical part of the job.
As soon as is practical, get your hands on a copy of "The Practice of System and Network Administration" (Your college library may have it, or try Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Practice-System-Network-Administration-Second/dp/0321492668 ).
One of the earliest chapters covers taking control of a situation like this, and walks you through how to dig yourself out.
The rest of the book is great too.
>How did you get started in DevOps?
I watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdOe18KhtT4. I realised this was the future and if you wanted to be in a high performing organisation you need to do what they're doing.
Unless you're in an organisation that is willing to undergo the cultural change of Operations and Development working together you're probably not going to go far. Creating a devops organisation from scratch is HARD unless everyone is on board.
Looking into the technology is the simple part, try reading around the movement. Pheonix Project (http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Project-DevOps-Helping-Business/dp/0988262509) is a good start, from there I'd look into Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Continuous-Integration-Improving-Software-Signature/dp/0321336380 & https://www.amazon.co.uk/Continuous-Delivery-Deployment-Automation-Addison-Wesley/dp/0321601912).
If by this point you don't know a programming language you're going to be in serious trouble. Learn something, be it Powershell (and honestly you probably will want to move onto C# if you want to be amazing at what you) or Python/Ruby.
Honestly you should be working towards what Google does with SRE if you want to be at the leading edge. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Site-Reliability-Engineering-Production-Systems/dp/149192912X.
Runlevels and the filesystem heirarchy.
You may want to invest the time into reading The Unix and Linux Administration Handbook and The Practice of System and Network Administration.
I also support performing linux from scratch. It is one of the best learning tools available.
Learn Powershell in a Month of Lunches
Also, SS64 has a great Index/reference of PS commands.
Another good thing to do is to start searching the web for "how do I $taskName in Powershell."
I have been trying to use Powershell more and more every day. Almost every task I do in a day, I first try and figure it out in Powershell. If I need to create a new LUN on the SAN... Powershell. Need to install some software on an end-user's computer... Powershell remote. Need to give a boss permission to an employee Exchange mailbox... Powershell! Learn by doing.
I have several Powershell scripts setup to clean out old files out of network shares, send out password change reminders to users' who work remotely, run a daily status report of all my servers, drive space, and error logs.
I am working on a script in my spare time to setup new user accounts, give them a mailbox, email their manager the new login credentials, add them to the proper groups, setup their home directories and permissions. Haven't had much of a chance to play with it, we don't get many new employees around here.
Here's some resources to get you started with Powershell:
Canned air is so wasteful. Get one of these guys
They're much more powerful as well, they make canned air look like a toy.
Not really fair to link to a PDF copy of the book. It's a fantastic book and worth purchasing and supporting the author.
It can be purchased on Amazon
https://labgopher.com/ - Get an old server from there if you can bring something like this home and run it occasionally.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/ - Setup a domain, and all that stuff, to simulate roughly the layout of your work, all in VM's.
https://www.amazon.com/Learn-Windows-PowerShell-Month-Lunches/dp/1617294160/ - Use this and do the examples multiple times.
Within the 30-day mark you should know a good amount to get you started.
Download VSCode, use Powershell IDE, also get the preview version of powershell to stay ahead, find out how to do GUI's for powershell for end users, automate things where you have to enumerate and analyze large information, like folders and all their permissions to audit permissions overall. Make scripts that remove unnecessary win10 components via GPO to workstations. Etc...
I've used Spiceworks in the past.
I also went down the path of using Trac after Spiceworks. I liked the built in Wiki features that let me document things for my users. I also made use of the code repositories to track my work.
I also recommend The Practice of System and Network Administration. It helps to justify and understand why a ticketing system is so important and will give you the ammo you need if you get push back from management.
That's a great book! I also recommend this book /u/sudz3 → The Phoenix Project
[The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction]
Also William E. Shotts Jr.'s book is good too.
Hey, Scripting Guy! A Powershell genius, Ed Wilson. I will always be greatful of his wonderful Powershell examples.
edit: fixed links.
May I recommend time management for sysadmins. A lovely short, tongue in cheek read. Sometimes a bit dated, mentions palm pilots but the lessons still hold true.
Also, for some reason I keep thinking "Maybe Reading the Phoenix Project might help." It was free on amazon a few months ago so I read it (thanks to the people here for the suggestion) and it was interesting. There are tons of eye roll moments and it can be silly at times but it does help your thinking when it comes to being buried in neck deep in projects. It's probably worth the $10 to read it as a piece of fiction alone.
I keep seeing this book mentioned on this sub reddit, I haven't read it yet but it looks like what would help you: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Practice-System-Network-Administration/dp/0321492668
Read it, learn it, love it. Follow it like whatever religion you are a part of.
I also recommend this classic, they're the two books I love the most for fixing my productivity:
The Visible Ops Handbook: Implementing ITIL in 4 Practical and Auditable Steps
The Practice of System and Network Administration: Volume 1: DevOps and other Best Practices for Enterprise IT (3rd Edition)
For us a Change is any change to the environment that isn't controlled by a separate process, like new employees, termination, etc.
If your not sure, it's a CM.
A+ and Net+ and all the other +-certs are entry level. CCNA is entry level, and 70-680 is entry level.
Something to consider is that everyone has certs these days, so the certs you get must make you better than "everyone".
For example, CCNP is a rather high-end cert. You don't see a lot of CVs with this on, because people with this cert only need a Linkedin page, and the offers will come in endless streams.
MCSE is absolutely good to have if you want to go anywhere in a Microsoft environment, though Microsoft doesn't really do high-end certs anymore, so the only thing you can really aim for with an MCSE is an MVP award, but that does take some serious effort.
WCNA is worth some brownie points in the right places.
You should also supplement certs with in-depth knowledge, and recommended practices, for example,
I can't really help much with regards to Linux though. It's not really my area.
/r/SysAdmin is more focused on professional systems administration which is likely why you have received so many downvotes. You are asking basic question that some quick research via Google can answer - we are not here to do your homework. There are many posts in /r/SysAdmin that already cover many of your questions. Please search before posting.
I recommend you read The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition.
Also, you should read the FAQ.
Pick up The Practice of System and Network Administration. It's OS agnostic, so you'll still need to research into other OS specific areas, but I found it was a great starting place for fundamentals.
I believe they removed the Linus System Administration Essentials course. The Linux Foundation Edx page only show these two courses.
I think the industry standard is still RHCSA/RHCSE which might be cheaper than the Linux Foundation Course. Going for RHCSA is $400 USD for the exam, and you can probably attain the training material for about 60-70 USD.
I think going for RHCSA would better suit anyone who might want to pursue a career in Linux Admin work because the name would get picked up by HR filters or listings. Whereas the LS cert is still new and not really recognized by many companies.
This book, and the practice companion is about $30 USD each.
Or has there been a shift where Linux Foundation certs aremore valued over RedHat certs?
Don't use batch. It's outdated and should only be used for compatibility with very old versions of Windows.
PowerShell is the right way to to do this. I'm assuming when you say "create 20 users in Windows Server 2012" you are referring to Active Directory (AD) users, and not local users. You'll want to use the New-ADUser cmdlet to create the AD users. For importing from a csv file, you will need to use the Import-Csv cmdlet.
I won't tell you how to write the script, you should learn that on your own. The two cmdlets I mentioned should point you in the right direction. If you know nothing about PowerShell and need to learn the basics then get the book Learn PowerShell in a Month of Lunches. The book will teach you everything you need to know to get started with PowerShell.
Windows Server 2012 Unleashed was good the 2016 version should be out soonish: https://www.amazon.com/Windows-Server-2012-Unleashed-Morimoto/dp/0672336227
Mastering Windows Server 2012r2 is good, make sure you check for corrections because there are some scripting issues in the original printing: https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Windows-Server-2012-R2/dp/1118289420/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1479226853&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=server+2012r2
Windows Server 2012 R2 Administrator Cookbook is good, but not really a beginners book: https://www.amazon.com/Windows-Server-2012-Administrator-Cookbook/dp/178439307X/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1479226852&amp;sr=8-12&amp;keywords=windows+server
Even more formatting fun!
By the way, thank you for this list.
"how can I learn to script powershell without having the basics for syntaxes"
honestly, i think if you try going this route, you're going to wind up very frustrated. you really ought to start with the basics. you can't just jump straight to the "knowing" part -- have to go through the process of learning before you get there. crawl before you can walk, and all that.
i bought myself a copy of "Learn Powershell in a Month of Lunches" (amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Learn-Windows-PowerShell-Month-Lunches/dp/1617294160/) and i like it. many people here on /r/sysadmin recommend it, as well. i would start there to build a good foundation. one of the earliest things the book teaches you is how to use powershell's built-in help and how to read error messages and such, which will become extremely helpful when you do get to the point where you start writing scripts.
buy that book, and/or ask your supervisor to buy you a license to a training site like CBT Nuggets or PluralSight. some people prefer videos and narration over books, but find what works for you, and remember to start with the basics and move up from there.
I found myself getting yellow stickies and marking interesting passages/suggestions as I read through. It now resembles some sort of ornate flower. I like kd5vmo's suggestion: return to the book from time to time and review the sections relevant to the day's events.
Pick up his "Time Management for System Administrators" book as well; as TheSojourner said, you'll likely find it won't fully sink in until you're a couple years into your career:
Buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Management-System-Administrators-Thomas-Limoncelli/dp/0596007833
Seriously, one of the best reads ever and exceedingly helpful.
Yep, if you're a Windows admin you need to learn powershell.
This is a great book to get started.
here 'tis, and it was well uner $100
I have ordered these two books.
I read some of the linux bible in a pdf and really enjoyed it so decided to order the two books.
I have also picked up the centOS CBT nugget videos and will VM it at home and hopefully in a couple of months I will know whats going on in RH.