Reddit Reddit reviews The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition

We found 133 Reddit comments about The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Computer & Technology Certification Guides
Computers & Technology
The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition
Addison-Wesley Professional
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133 Reddit comments about The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition:

u/fuzzyfuzz · 38 pointsr/sysadmin

This exists.

You have read our Bible, right? ;)

u/browngray · 26 pointsr/sysadmin

Lots of books here.

If it has to be absolutely one book, The Practice of System and Network Administration is one on how to be a well rounded sysadmin.

u/leodavinci · 25 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/Jank1 · 20 pointsr/networking

I would also like to take the time to plug a few resources, if I may, that have greatly assisted me throughout my career.

  1. Of course, Cisco Press. Wendell Odom especially.
  2. Non-Cisco Press, Todd Lamlle's CCNA book is great!
  3. CBT Nuggets!! Jeremy Cioara and Keith Barker.
  4. Tech Exams Forums!! For answers to your questions regarding certification, study material, etc, from a variety of vendor certs. Or, to just read motivating success stories!!
  5. Internetworking Experts (INE!) That link should direct you to their free CCNA video course. If that doesn't work for you, simply register an account with them and search for the CCNA video course.
  6. Thomas Limoncelli's The Practice of Systems and Network Administration
  7. Gary A Donahue's Network Warrior
  8. Jeff Doyle's CCIE Professional Development Routing TCP/IP Vol. 1 or 2
  9. Douglas E. Comer's Internetworking with TCP/IP
  10. GNS3!! Free Cisco Router and ASA Emulation!! Just make sure you have access to Cisco IOS software!
  11. Andrew S. Tanenbaum's Computer Networks.
  12. Jeremy Stretch and PacketLife!! Also, Jeremy's network Cheat Sheets!
  14. Cisco's Command Lookup Tool! Requires login, but nonetheless, a great resource for your Cisco engineers when you just NEED to know how the hell a particular command works.
  15. Priscilla Oppenheimer's Top-Down Network Design
  16. I've heard the folks at /r/networking are pretty legit.
u/TheSojourner · 19 pointsr/sysadmin

Practice of System and Network Administration

Worth every cent and more.

u/87TLG · 15 pointsr/sysadmin

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. 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

Good luck.

u/fsweetser · 15 pointsr/networking
u/Goldenu · 14 pointsr/sysadmin
u/gamefaff · 14 pointsr/sysadmin

> 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.

u/planiverse · 14 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

  1. You need to let her know that your feeling uncomfortable with the new role and responsibilities, and let her know you have a plan to move forward.

    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.

  2. Try to piece together as many past projects as you can remember. Recall the goals you were trying to achieve, the general timeline, and any roadblocks along the way.

    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.

  3. Research training options.

    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.

  4. You asked about tools and tips here. That's important, but if you don't know what problems you're trying to solve, you can't choose an effective tool.

    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.

  5. Define your role. What do you perceive your role to be now? What do they perceive your role to be now? What is the immediate goal for your role? What do they expect of you in 5 years? Where do you expect to be in 5 years?

    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.
u/hso · 14 pointsr/sysadmin

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:

exercise 1:

  1. Tutor yourself in vim (vimtutor) or emacs (Ctrl-h followed by t). They are
    your world. DO NOT code in an IDE. Code in them all the way through
    your degree.
  2. Make a custom vim or emacs rc that has syntax highlighting and
    personalizes your editor to you. Become a power user in whatever your
    editor of choice is.
  3. Make a custom profile and rc file for your shell (choose either bash
    or zsh, but if you go with zsh, you have to learn bash anyway) to
    customize your shell to your liking

    exercise 2:
  4. look up the man pages on the commands below and bash to learn what they do (when you type
    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)
  5. open three terminals
  6. in one terminal run:
    strace -eread=all -ewrite=all -f nc -l -p 18100 > server_out 2>&1
  7. in the other terminal run:
    strace -eread=all -ewrite=all -f nc -v -v -n -w 1 18100 < /etc/profile > client_out 2>&1
  8. as root run: tcpdump -s0 -ni lo -w /home/conversation_out.pcap
  9. use vim or emacs to scroll through the file and annotate everything you see in
    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

    exercise 3:
  10. look up the man pages on the command below and bash to learn what they do
  11. open a terminal and run:
    strace -eread=all -ewrite=all -f wget -qO /dev/null > wget_out 2>&1
  12. as root run: tcpdump -s0 -ni lo -w /home/wget_out.pcap
  13. use vim or emacs to scroll through the file and annotate everything you see
    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

  • learn the config files and log file formats for major Open Source software (programs such as apache, a syslog daemon, postfix, BIND, ISC DHCP Server, xinetd, ntpd, etc.)
  • learn how to monitor these programs and servers running them (nagios, graphite) and the networks they communicate over
  • have basic understanding of cvs, rcs, git and svn. have advanced understanding of git or svn or both. store ALL the code you work on from here on out in your own software repo and keep it backed up.
  • learn how to compile open source programs from the ground up and build your own packages (both rpm and deb formats)
  • learn about puppet, fabric, capistrano, chef, mcollective
  • learn about rabbitmq and stomp message brokers
  • learn file permissions, user/group ownership, absolute and relative paths and how these translate to structures in the filesystem
  • learn perl compatible regexes inside and out
  • learn how to script in a bourne compatible shell, perl, python and ruby and get really good at scripting in shell and one of the other languages
  • learn how to read C and be able to write simple programs in C. use gdb to single step some of these programs (both lines of C code and x86 instructions) and learn how they interact with the stack, heap, environment, kernel, c-library functions etc.
  • play with sqlite, postgres and mysql to get a general idea of how databases work
  • pick a web framework and set it up in a webserver, learn MVC and use a database back end as you develop some apps. you could track your homework or whatever with the apps you make but the point is learning. any of rails, django, pylons, sinatra are fine. starting with sinatra and sqlite is probably easiest.
  • learn how to harden your operating system so that ONLY the services (daemons) that the OS needs are running
  • learn how to write iptables rules to protect your host
  • get one or two trusted friends to attack the host that you've hardened and see if they can compromise it
  • learn the basics of all these protocols and their addressing schemes (where applicable) and any crypto they use: IPv4 (TCP, UDP, ICMP, ARP), IPv6, HTTP, NTP, SMTP, POP, IMAP, TLS/SSL, SSH, NFS. Get familiar with the network packets that all of these protocols generate.
  • learn the OSI stack and where protocols and various types of network gear live in the stack (hubs, switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers). all sysadmins should have CCNA level knowledge or better when it comes to networking.
  • learn how to debug and troubleshoot. those friends that attacked your system for you? have them break something on your system. then you go in and figure out what's not working and fix it. do this again and again. if you can find some like minded folks then work together on all this stuff and learn from each other. good sysadmins work in teams to make things happen. we don't teach this in college or secondary ed. the work place ideally (hah!) is all about groups of people pulling off the impossible together.
  • learn how to search in search engines with all the advanced operators that average folk don't use. search engines save you when you run into some weird error message you've never seen before that others have.
  • hang out on serverfault and stackoverflow and learn from others
  • learn the following commands/programs (and what type they all are. 'type' is your friend): ack-grep, apt-cache, apt-get, ar, as, autoconf, automake, awk, base64, bc, bison, bzip2, cal, cat, cd, chgrp, chmod, chown, cpio, curl, cut, date, dd, df, dig, dpkg, du, echo, env, eval, exec, exit, expr, false, fg, find, flex, ftp, fuser, g++, gcc, gdb, gnupg, grep, gzip, head, help, history, host, hping3, id, install, iostat, jobs, kill, killall, last, ld, ldd, less, lftp, ln, ls, lsof, make, man, md5sum, mkdir, mknod, mktemp, more, mv, nc, netstat, ngrep, nice, nm, nmap, nohup, nroff, nslookup, ntpdate, od, openssl, pax, pcregrep, ping, pkill, ps, pstree, pwd, readelf, rm, rmdir, rpm, rsync, scp, screen, sed, set, sipcalc, size, sleep, socat, sort, ssh, stat, strip, stty, su, sudo, tail, tar, tcpdump, telnet, tmux, top, touch, tr, type, uname, uniq, vmstat, wc, wget, who, whoami, xargs, yum, zcat
  • learn how to use shell script snippets and perl/ruby/python oneliners to make yourself more efficient at the commandline

    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.
u/mbond65 · 13 pointsr/sysadmin

I keep seeing this book mentioned on this sub reddit, I haven't read it yet but it looks like what would help you:

u/scottm · 13 pointsr/sysadmin

I recommend The Practice of System & Network Administration. Next is probably the manual or a book about whatever monitoring system you're using (and spend the time you would have used to read another book to ensure you're monitoring everything). After that it depends what you're doing (busy public websites? Office IT?)

u/skrepetski · 13 pointsr/sysadmin

For those too lazy to find it, is the book on Amazon :)

u/randomguy186 · 13 pointsr/sysadmin

> 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?

u/veruus · 12 pointsr/linuxadmin

The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition

UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook - 4th Edition

[TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols - 2nd Edition] (

These should be part of every ops department's library, if not already in your own personal one.

u/ramblingcookiemonste · 11 pointsr/sysadmin

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.


u/PoorlyShavedApe · 10 pointsr/sysadmin

Grab a copy of the Practice of system and network Administration as a basis to start from. Not a textbook, but covers a wide range of topics and key concepts that are not tied to a specific technology stack.

u/cmyers84 · 10 pointsr/sysadmin

>However with servers, and everything else in the data center, I'm scared to do anything to them, because of fear of crashing the system.

This is actually a healthy and normal attitude to have, frankly. If you make a mistake, you aren't just interrupting one person's workday but potentially everyone's. I would use a very conservative approach to handling the servers and double check everything you want to do. Understand the potential benefits and drawbacks to your choices and actions before implementing them. This should become second nature to you during your new career.

But don't worry about breaking things. Worry about what you should do if you break things. Always have a plan in place.

I'd recommend reading a book like The Practice of System and Network Administration to get a general overview of what a system administration should look at and how one should approach the job.

u/patrickeverett · 10 pointsr/Radiology

I recommend you become familiar with the following terms:

Rules, Regulations and Guidelines; ACR guidelines, NRDR (e.g. Lung Cancer Screening), AAPM TG-18, HIPAA 1996, HITECH 2009, MACRA 2015, PAMA 2014 (especially AUC aka CDS), PQRS, etc.

IHE (actor, transaction, profile)

DICOM (entity-relationship, GSDF, GSPS, IOD, DICOM service, SOP Class, RESTful services e.g. WADO)

HL7 (message, message type, segment, field, component, FHIR)

Image pixel data (bit, byte, bit depth, grayscale, histogram, pixel, voxel) and Image Processing (Gaussian, Laplacian, Sobel, etc.)

Speech Recognition (aka Voice Recognition), DICOM Structured Reports

High Availability and High Performance (Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Fault Tolerance, Failover / Failback, hot / warm / cold spare, Geographic redundancy, clustering and mirroring, RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 50, etc.)), virtualization, iops

Networking (Packet Switching, OSI Model, TCP/IP, "Well Known Ports" - Network Protocols (DNS, DHCP, FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SNMP, telnet, ping, traceroute, netBIOS, netstat, ipconfig), DSL, ISDN, T-1, T-2, T-3, DS-1, DS-2, DS-3)

Encoding, Encryption and Compression (SSL, TLS, RSA, Run Length Encoding, Big Endian, Little Endian, JPEG, JPEG2000)

Nomenclature and medical coding (RadLex, LOINC, SNOMED, CPT, ICD)

Information technology Management (ITIL, ITSM, SaaS, SLA, SOA, QoS)

u/crccci · 10 pointsr/computertechs

Pick up a copy of The Practice of System and Network Administration. It's a great starting point for overall support and admin methodologies.

u/DR_Nova_Kane · 9 pointsr/sysadmin

This is by far my favorite book. I liked it so much I have the first and second edition.

u/jonconley · 9 pointsr/sysadmin

When I have time to pick new projects, I just pick up the bible and start reading until I have my next project.

  • Get everything in an asset management system.

  • Get everything monitored, logging, notification, etc.

  • Track ticket metric to see where users are having the most issues and/or delay.

  • Create a list of everything I want to automate.

  • Create a list of everything we could be doing proactively.

  • Create a list of every single point of failure and possible solutions.

u/solid7 · 9 pointsr/linuxadmin

A lot of what has been suggested is great for learning linux. Realize that "out there" very little is served out of a single box (and if it is you're doin it wrong). Production infrastructure likely looks and acts very very differently from your home linux workstation. Just because you know how to type sudo apt-get install apache2 does not mean you are ready for a full ops position... BUT - if you put in the wrench time and pay your dues, you will get there.

Here are some areas that would be good to build your knoweldgebase up in...

  • First and foremost - you must build the ability to learn how to figure things out and build an intuition of what to inspect should something not be working. This comes from having a working knowledge of many different systems in a large heterogeneous environment. This will come with experience.
  • Learn some of the rapid deployment frameworks - cobbler, puppet, cfengine, etc... No one sits around configuring each and every production machine from scratch.
  • Now that you are familiar with (presumably) the installation and configuration of apache, start thinking about setting up caching/proxy infrastructure. Get a sense for what to use for load balancing v.s. caching v.s. increasing availability (and some combination of the three). Become familiar with things such as nginx, mod_proxy, haproxy, squid, varnish, mongrel, etc...
  • You MUST know how dns works. Crickets bind and dns should be considered required reading. Any lack of understanding of how dns works is simply unacceptable for a proper sysadmin.
  • this book is required reading, period.
  • You must become familiar with centralized authentication mechanisms. Most systems utilize something called PAM. Learn how to configure PAM to reference slapd, AD, etc... Kerberos is our current preferred central authentication mechanism, you need to know how to bounce kerberos tickets around. Get slapd (OpenLDAP) up on its legs.
  • When running a linux kernel, learn how to configure netfilter. Under linux, Netfilter is the thing responsible for routing, nat, and packet filtering. Understand that other kernels do not use netfilter (or commonly use something else). Become familiar with the common kernels firewall, routing, and forwarding system(s). Don't make the mistake of saying "the iptables firewall..." in the interview room! Iptables is not a firewall.
  • Know your basic networking. Internet core protocols should be added to your list of required reading. Understand the differences between a hub, bridge, switch, and router. Learn how to "subnet", which means knowing your binary math! I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a messed up network because someone didn't know how to figure out /27 and keyed in the wrong values from a "subnet calculator". Along with networking do a bunch of reading/research on vlans, trunking and stp. Most people cannot tell you what a L2/3 managed switch is or how it differs from a "dumb" switch or router. Don't be one of those people! Learn how to configure routing protocols such as BGP, RIP and OSPF (also, learn basic computational graph theory). You may not end up doing a whole lot of networking, but it's really good stuff to know.
  • Virtualization is important. You need to know the different forms of virtualization (desktop v.s. os-level v.s. para v.s. hyper virtualization). If you are keen to linux, you need to know how xen and kvm work (this is typically what commercial vps's typically use). Also look at vmware and virtualbox for desktop virt. For os-level virtualization, you need to know how to use LxC and jails.
  • Learn how LVM works! Spend some time familiarizing yourself with LVM2 (linux), vinum (BSD), and ZFS's container framework (Solaris/BSD). Know how and when to use raid. Make sure you understand the implications of the different raid configurations.
  • Learn common backup methodology. Raid is not backup, don't make this mistake.
  • Get used to doing everything on the command line, and always think "what if I had to do this on 20,000 servers?".

    So off the top of my head there's a bunch of things you could study. I think that's quite a bit to get your head around, and a deep understanding of some of these topics will only come from working experience. There may be a LOT of work to do in some of those areas. Getting a fully functional xen (or kvm) based system up and on it's legs is not an easy task for the uninitiated. It is my opinion (and everyone else is free to disagree with me) that all good sysadmins/ops/engineers need to "grow up" in some area of lower level technical position. That can be a jr. admin position, the helldesk, or whatever else... This will give you the "systems" working experience that will let you branch into a full fledged admin/op position. Getting some certs under your belt can help you get in the door, but by all means isn't required. Cert's cost money and (the ones worth getting) take time. Personally, I tend to stray away from places that make a big deal out of certs... but that's just me.

    tl;dr: Learn how to learn. Pick something you don't know how to do and leverage a linux system to accomplish that goal - rinse and repeat.
u/flatlandinpunk17 · 9 pointsr/sysadmin

Read this and make a task and project list

Aside from that I work at an MSP and quite enjoy my workload but no 2 days are the same.

u/dahimi · 8 pointsr/sysadmin

If you have no background in sysadmin you should definitely check this book out:

The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition

u/slacker87 · 8 pointsr/sysadmin

This book is one of the best out there for overall real world sysadmin knowledge/practices

u/Antoak · 8 pointsr/sysadmin

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'

u/Adoro_Te_Devote · 8 pointsr/sysadmin

You need to start reading. I don't even know where you should start..maybe here would be best:

u/bRUTAL_kANOODLE · 8 pointsr/sysadmin

If you haven't read The Practice of System and Network Administration yet I would suggest starting there. It is an easy read and very informative. It helped me get into the mindset of a sysadmin.

u/FuRy2k · 7 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/sideh · 7 pointsr/sysadmin


I wish I'd read it at the start of my career.

Other than than, learn the fundamentals well and you'll be fine.

u/crankysysadmin · 7 pointsr/sysadmin

You're probably better than you think. Also, you're actually in a better spot than people who get comfortable with their little environment and think they're really great. There's no way you can improve someone who thinks he is amazing at what he does.

Rather than give up on IT, try to find a place where you can work that pushes you harder and forces you to learn new things.

Go read this book:

What makes someone a good sysadmin isn't knowing everything about everything (you can't) but instead developing really good methods and processes for getting work done.

u/BeechTreeLLC · 7 pointsr/sysadmin

I also recommend this book:

"The Practice of System and Network Administration"
by Thomas A. Limoncelli

u/prodigalOne · 7 pointsr/pics

Whatever I need to stay relevant or updated. At this time I'm taking VMware cert courses from Stanly college, just to stay ahead on my own time. If you're just starting out, take Network+ to understand that realm, but there are a lot of routes you can go in. I always carry around these books though:

The Practice of Network and System Administration

Time Management for System Administrators

u/betterthanyoda56 · 6 pointsr/sysadmin

The Practice of System and Network Administration Second Edition. Filled with great advice. amazon

u/chilldontkill · 6 pointsr/sysadmin

>I believe I understand the science behind procrastination, but I just can't seem to apply any methods to my life.

Do you have a ticketing system? No. Then, roll a ticketing system with email pickup. OTRS or RT.

If yes, immediately put in place a SOP(standard operating procedure) company wide, that all requests with the exception if critical ops are down, that all requests go through the ticketing system. Back that up with action. With no action, unless it comes through the ticketing system.

>I am the only IT guy at a 80+ user company (which is pretty lax most of the time). Because our ERP software is terrible (Which I didn't choose and constantly argue to get rid of)

You accepted the position and all its responsibilities. Stop trying to change what is and accept that yes you have a POS ERP solution. You're fighting the wrong way. You should be asking yourself how can I make this ERP work for me, instead of fighting to get rid of it.

>I spend most of my time at work generating SQL queries for basic user requests such as order statistics and the like. It turned me into a IT zombie where I procrastinate on all my IT projects unless it's directly in my face.

Can you not automate these procedures? Perhaps scripts users can execute on their own to for order statistics and the like?

> Before I started 4 years ago, I was always reading IT books and going to college and was enjoying learning and experimenting. Now, I almost feel afraid to read about new things or refresh my knowledge because I know I've been out of touch for so long.

You are spending too much trying to figure out the same things day in and day out. You need to start using a ticketing system religiously and start documenting everything. Everything.

> This gives me constant anxiety even while at home, knowing that there are a lot of things I need to work on but haven't in months, such as fully setting up vCenter/vMotion, Configuring the PS SAN array properly, etc. Whenever I try to work on a project, I feel it requires so many prerequisites, let it be knowledge/reading manuals or running out of network ports on a switch, that I'm in a constant juggle of accomplishing nothing.

As munky9001 said you need to let go of work when you leave work. With the policy and ticketing system in place. You can then only respond to operation crit emergencies. Then, when you get in the next day all your open tickets will be in your face to remind you what to do.

> I'm wondering if anyone out there has experienced a sense of losing flow and confidence as a sysadmin and what they did to get back in the game?

Every sysadmin has. You aren't growing enough and just dealing with the same bs. You need to prioritize, organize and document.

The way I attack my ticketing queue:

  1. In the morning I check for failures and the logs. Any emergencies I handle.
  2. I then do all the tickets that do not require me to leave my seat and do not take longer than 3 mins.
  3. I then process all the other tickets in the order they came in, of course prioritizing along the way.

    I also recommend reading:

    A short version of both, at least read this.

u/puremessage · 6 pointsr/sysadmin

I know you didn't ask but I'm going to recommend this book:

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.

u/subl1m1nal · 6 pointsr/sysadmin
u/digitaldoctor · 5 pointsr/healthIT

You do not need to learn other modalities although understanding the underlying physics and knowledge of cross-sectional anatomy is helpful. Approximately half of all imaging Informaticist do not have a clinical background.

Become involved in imaging informatics (PACS and RIS Administration) at your facility to learn everything you possibly can.

Read everything you can about IHE, DICOM and HL7. Knowledge of rules, regulations and guidelines related to imaging informatics is likewise essential.

Focus on information technology such as obtaining your MCSA (Microsoft desktop and server administration certification), CCNA (Cisco routing and switching certification), VCP (VMware certification) or OCP (Oracle database administration certification). Your local community college may be your best resource.

Knowledge of ITIL, project management (PMP), Six Sigma and software development methodologies (Agile, Kanban, Scrum and waterfall) is essential. Arguably, these are the most essential skills for imaging informaticists.

The job market for imaging informaticists is highly competitive but highly lucrative. A highly skilled imaging informaticist can earn over $200,000 per year although I understand that the average is approximately $80,000 per year (from $60,000 per year for a junior imaging informaticist in Asheville, North Carolina to $140,000 per year for a senior imaging informatics in Stanford, California).

u/xsdc · 5 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

  1. My time is valuable, please do not waste it.
    1. I don't mean the schedule has to be completely filled every meeting, or that there should be no time set aside for organization matters; I just feel that a lot of these organizations try to fill the time with banal matters when they have nothing else planned but the "end time" isn't there.
  2. Show me, Don't tell me.
    1. Lectures have their place too, but 9/10 times a practical demonstration is much more informative.
  3. How does this apply to me?
    1. If you want people attending speakers, the topic needs to apply to the audience on a wide scale, which I've seen fall down the tubes. In general this point is followed though in these organizations, but it can't be neglected.
  4. Don't try to sell me your crappy software when I ask questions about how to do certain things
    1. this more applies to the speakers from specific companies that come to my work, however I've seen it happen at organizations like this too. Speaker comes and gets asked question on how the software works, yet spends his entire time marketing his product.
  5. Please do not be fanboys.
    1. I know you think 'software x' is the best thing in the world and 'os y' is the end all be all, but not everyone in the profession feels the same way. An OS agnostic group is the only way to go for these organizations as OS preference is fairly polarizing.
  6. Finally: Plan in advance.
    1. If I have to move my schedule around frequently to attend, I will likely decide it's not worth it.

      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.
u/labmansteve · 5 pointsr/sysadmin

Check out The Practice of System and Network Administration, and Time Management for Systems Administrators.

Oh, and nagios/icinga is free and totally rocks, as does spiceworks.

u/cheeseprocedure · 4 pointsr/sysadmin

This is not a direct answer, but: read "The Practice of System and Network Administration" to get a sense of a what a model IT department should look like.

For a tl;dr version, you can check out Ops Report Card:

u/Linuturk · 4 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/yacoob · 4 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

Good luck!

u/gblansandrock · 4 pointsr/sysadmin

The Practice of Network and System Administration is a great resource for novices and experienced professionals alike. I picked up a copy last year and have found the advice within invaluable.

u/AFurryReptile · 4 pointsr/networking

My brother has been raving about "The Practice of System and Network Administration" by Limoncelli, Hogan, and Chalup. I can't speak to it personally, but it gets pretty great reviews.

u/not_mark_wahlberg · 4 pointsr/sysadmin

I see this thrown around quite a bit.

Apparently it's a bit of a huge read, but that's what comes to mind.

u/dork_warrior · 4 pointsr/k12sysadmin

If your school is rolling out 1:1 in macbooks using google accounts... and you're coming on blind but willing to learn... that's going to be rough.

Do you currently have any sort of IT support at your school/district? If so, I'd start by asking them what they currently use. Do you plan on using an MDM? Remote management?

At the very minimum you'd want to familiarize yourself with inventory management. Keeping track of all these devices and being able to link a device to a student/teacher is key in the event something breaks. If you're just starting a 1:1 program, I'd be curious to see how long you eat the cost on repairs before sending bills out. I just talked to one of the largest districts in my state a few months ago ( 6 months ago at least) and they just starting billing for damages on their 1:1 (which is only rolled out to 9-12) because they were eating roughly 10k yearly in ongoing repairs and replacements.

Is there a ticketing system in place? How are requests handled? Would you be flying solo or part of a team? There's all these factors that greatly change how and what you do. Very few people in the sysadmin world walk in as a sysadmin, they start as helpdesk and work their way up.

what should you study? I recommend brushing on on different types of alcohol. If you're doing this all solo with no existing infrastructure or support it'll be helpful. As far as books probably the practice of network and systems administration. It's more of a focus on the theories and practices, not so much the CLI or "how-to" tasks.

u/redditniker · 4 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

Good reviews

u/goozbach · 4 pointsr/sysadmin

The Book -- The blog


Your local Linux User's group

A couple of personal projects.

u/Eaeelil · 4 pointsr/sysadmin
u/Seven-Prime · 3 pointsr/ITCareerQuestions

The Practice of System and Network Administration

Get this book. And go through it. It should outline various things you'll need to be comfortable with. Ticketing system, even if it is just for you, is invaluable. You can go simple with something like trello to get started. Limit the amount of stuff you are doing at one time. Manage your 'work in progress.' The more things you are trying to multitask, the less you'll get done.

Everyone else is spot on about this being typical for a first job. Fake it till you make it. Don't take it personally that you don't know things. They know this. They paid you less on purpose, so they defo know this. Don't neglect your health, mental and physical.

Oh. Also. You ARE in over your head. But so am I. So is just about everyone else here. If you aren't in over your head, your learning stops, then you stagnate, then the job market moves on past you.

We are the shepherds in the valley of darkness, and shall fear no printer. . .

u/pertexted · 3 pointsr/sysadmin
u/trynsik · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/bandman614 · 3 pointsr/linux

Glad you asked!

I asked the same question on my blog a few months ago.

Then that blog entry hit slashdot. There was a big discussion.

I think it all boils down to the size of your network. Smallish, and cute names are fine. Biggish and you've got to use functional names.

Also, you should find The Practice of System and Network Administration somewhere and buy it (or check it out of a library until you convince yourself that you have to buy it).

Also, feel free to submit things like this to the sysadmin subreddit

u/cackleberry · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

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: ).

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.

u/mr_chip · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

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. :)


u/crummy_bum · 3 pointsr/networking

Thomas A. Limoncelli has written some really good books for SA's. Check out his time management book and The Practice of System and Network Administration are both two very good reads.

u/losmancha · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/hosalabad · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

It never hurts to read this: The Practice of System and Network Administration

Also stick to this subreddit daily and pay attention to the career help threads, they might be useful as you plan your path.

u/unix_heretic · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

The Practice of System and Network Administration. Learning how to do things is a necessity, but learning why is what will move you forward.

u/spots5004 · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/sudoraymond · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

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!

u/AnonymooseRedditor · 3 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/gg86 · 3 pointsr/AskMen

The Practice of System & Network Administration.

Basically this is a crash course on the non technical aspects of being a sysadmin. It tells you what to do and why, leaving the how out as it changes every few years.

u/Ping_Me_Later_Dude · 2 pointsr/ITCareerQuestions

I heard the practice of network and systems administration is a good book for people starting as system admins. I placed a link below that has a few sample chapters. You can get the book on amazon 👇

u/root_15 · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

This. Plus:
The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition

u/errindel · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

For a non-techincal resource, I would read Limoncelli and Hogan's seminal work on being an IT person:

Really good, and describes WHY you would do things in a certain way. I understand there's a Cloud System Admin/Devops book out there, but I haven't read the two volumes yet.

u/jmnugent · 2 pointsr/sysadmin
u/GigantorSmash · 2 pointsr/CommercialAV

Not all of these are in our core training/ required knowledge, or related to our day to day functions as a university A/V department, but They are all available to my team for knowledge building and professional development. Additionally , and our job ladder includes Infocomm certifications, so the library is a little biased towards infocomm resources at the moment.
Books I use are

u/callmejeremy · 2 pointsr/technology

You know, there really isn't a real good 'comprehensive' guide to all this kind of stuff. All I know is there is way more out there then anyone would realize.
A little about me, this is sort of my specialty. I've been doing application and system monitoring for over 10 years now and was an MVP for MS Operations Manager (MVP is a joke. Here's an MSDN sub, now work tech support for us). Anyway..
As for books, the only one I've found even remotely interesting about all this is The Practice of System and Network Administration. I actually bought it and am going through it now - seems like a good read so far. I'm tired of monitoring, rather go back to good ole system admin.
If I was in your shoes, here's what I'd do.

  • Enable SNMP on all of the servers. And assign a community string for both read-only as well as read/write.
  • Especially if you go to Server 2008, install and setup WinRM
  • Install Powershell and learn it well. You'll never go back to any other scripting language in Windows again - especially with 2.0 & WinRM
  • Download GetIf - yes it's old, but it still works. Go out and find the MIBs for the servers you use Dell/HP/etc.
  • Yes, its a bitch getting the hang of it, but install Nagios anyway
  • If you really don't want to install Nagios, then check out Servers Alive!. It's another tool I use and the 'enterprise' cost is only 300 euro. It has its flaws, but for what it does its pretty awesome.
  • Also install Cacti for all your graph love.
  • Learn all about SNMP. It's been around over 20 years now and imho does an awesome job if the devices you have support it. And even if they don't, with something like Net-SNMP, you can make your own OIDs that when polled run a script and such.

    Combining a free powerhouse monitoring tool like Nagios, with a graphing tool like Cacti, is all you'll need. It's even overkill for your network, but once they're all setup it's dead simple and you'll look like a rockstar - suits love graphs.
    Yes, you'll need a linux box, but a simple P4 workstation with a gig of ram is more than enough for it, and you probably have them lying around.
    And once you get into powershell (On IRC we hangout in #powershell on Freenode) you can do a lot of amazing things quickly with it - especially combined with WinRM.
    I could go on and on about all this, I've been doing it forever - and I can even help you with the setup of it all and answer any questions. Just send me a PM and I'll give you my email.
    As for SNMP, it's very well supported by all the major manufacturers - HP, Dell, etc. So in your RAID failure scenario, if you have a Dell server with a Dell RAID card, then you could have polled the machine to ask its RAID status and if there was a failure it could have sent a trap to your monitoring box to let you know. It can also handle all of the hardware info like drive capacity, processor utilization, etc etc. The only downfall SNMP really has these days is the fact that it can seem almost mystical to those looking from the outside. But once you get the hang of it, it's great. Nagios also has an add-on called NRPE (Nagios Remote Plugin Executor) that you can use to run scripts and such on local machines if you can't get the info you need out of SNMP.

    If you're interested in doing environment monitoring as well, a decent inexpensive device is the Weathergoose from IT Watchdogs. I've got one at home that I demoed years ago and it's still going strong. At $500 its a good price for what it does plus there's a ton of addons you can get for it or even make your own since its just I2C

    Anyway, this is probably a shotgun of information to your face, but like I said just ping me and we can talk about it. I'm recently unemployed, again, so I have the time.. again.
u/mr_dave · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

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

u/exin58 · 2 pointsr/sysadmin
u/zinver · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

> 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:

u/ghyspran · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

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:

  • Do you understand the basic concepts of automation and config management and why they are important?
  • Why might someone choose to run something on-prem vs in a cloud provider?
  • Why might someone run something on bare metal vs virtualized?
  • What benefits or concerns would someone need to consider when deciding whether to use containers to deploy something?
  • What are some things to consider when deciding what operating system to deploy something on?
  • Why is the principle of least privilege important?
  • Why is monitoring important? How do you decide what to monitor? How do you decide what should page someone vs send an email or create a ticket?
  • Why are ticketing systems important?
  • How do you decide what to document and at what level?
  • What do you need to consider when setting up logging for a system, group of systems, or an application?
  • What do you need to consider when setting up backups for a system or application?
  • Why is HA important? What are some methods of implementing it? Why might you choose one over another?
  • What considerations do you need to take when planning for business continuity/disaster recovery?

    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

  • how I felt I was justified in pushing back against doing that task
  • how we ended up working things out for the benefit of everyone involved
  • how the incident arose from keeping silent about issues I had with the way things were operating until something pushed me over the edge and I reacted emotionally, and how I learned from the experience to bring up issues like that earlier and in a more appropriate time and place.

    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.
u/coniferhugger · 2 pointsr/linuxadmin

Instead of buying tons of books, you might want to look at Safari Books. I have the 10-book bookshelf subscription, and it is seriously plenty. Pros, you have instant access to a massive library of tech books. Cons, you are stuck reading on your computer/tablet/phone (I did try reading a few chapters on my Kindle, but the didn't care for the experience).

Books I would suggest:

  • UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook - this is seriously a great book, that will make any admin better.
  • Time Management for Systems Administrators - has a lot of good tips for time management, but some things are a little dated.
  • The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition - This is a great read on how to be a better system administrator.

    I'm not a huge fan of training videos, but generally watch recordings from conferences. Although, I do really enjoy the format of vimcasts though.

    As for general advise, I did see someone recommend looking for an MSP. If you are looking to be a Linux SysAdmin, I wouldn't recommend this route as you are going to be supporting MS installations. Personally, I started doing help desk for a web company and moved up from there. Also, I worked hard to create my opportunities within each position. You'll have to put yourself out there and be patient, It took me 4 years to earn the official title of Systems Administrator (in a small-ish town). The key to this is finding a good Sr. SysAdmins who are willing to mentor you, and some environments/people aren't conducive to this.


    BTW, I have a B.A. in Political Science, so don't be ashamed to rock that Philosophy degree. You will see a lot of posting that are looking for a B.S. in Computer Science/Computer Engineering/Rocket Surgery, but seriously don't even worry about that. Most job postings are a list of nice to haves, and most places really only care that you have a degree.

    I've been recruited by and interviewed with some very respectable tech companies. I just usually have to explain how I got into tech with a political science degree. In an interview, having the right attitude and knowing your stuff should say more than your major in college. But, you will also run into elitist douche bags who knock your degree/doubt your abilities because you don't have a B.S. in CS/CE. If you work with these people, your work should speak for itself. Don't try and get caught up into a pissing match with them. If it is an interview (as in someone you might work for), practice interviewing never hurts.
u/Life_is_an_RPG · 2 pointsr/sysadmin
  1. Backups, backups, backups. When things goes wrong (and they will), you need to be able to restore anything that was lost. Redundancy is your friend - backup to tape, backup to the cloud, backup to anything that safely puts the company's data in another location. No use having a closet full of backup tapes and systems if the building burns down.

  2. Practice restores at least once a quarter. In an emergency situation, you need to be confident in your ability to do restores.

  3. Document everything. Test the documentation and refine. Eventually, you want documentation simple enough to use at 2 AM when you're still half asleep and fighting off flaming zombie ninja pirates.

  4. Get good at scripting. If you do something twice, assume you'll do it again (and again) and write a script. The best compliment you can receive as a system admin is to be called 'lazy'. A lazy system admin writes checklists and scripts so they don't have to reinvent the wheel - or can walk someone else through the task on the phone.

  5. Small companies often don't have a change control procedure - create one and use it. Get approval and/or sign off for significant system and network changes like OS upgrades and installing or decommissioning hardware. When it hits the fan, don't become the scapegoat without a paper trail of notification and approval to deflect or absorb some of the blame.

  6. Implement a guaranteed system downtime window for maintenance every month/quarter. Even if you don't need to perform maintenance, disconnect the network. You want to train (mentally condition) management and users to accepting regular preventive maintenance. Every company thinks they need to run 24/7 and few actually do (if the parking lot isn't as full at midnight as it is at noon, they're not a 24/7 company). Scheduled downtime is better than unscheduled downtime because you were accommodating and kept pushing off preventive maintenance.

  7. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Unless you have a known bug or the patch/upgrade will fix a security flaw, don't upgrade just because a new version comes out. If the application or OS works fine and users aren't screaming for a new feature, keep using it. New versions mean new bugs.

  8. Always be learning and cross-train others when you can. First, the more you learn about other OSes, scripting languages, hardware, etc., the better you get at solving problems because you can learn to look at them differently. Cross-training helps you learn by forcing you to explain how something works to someone else. It's also how you'll be able to convince your boss the place will survive while you take 2 weeks of vacation. My philosophy for the last 30ish years has been to learn something, document it, and teach someone else how to do so I can learn something else. My goal at every company has been to work (scripting and documentation) and train myself out of job.

  9. Read 'The Practice of System and Network Administration'
u/RainbowHearts · 2 pointsr/linuxadmin

The cloud is just other peoples' computers.

AWS, Azure, and other cloud providers give you magic cloud computers that just magically work... except they have all the same constraints and failure cases that every computer has.

Unless you understand what goes into maintaining those computers (HINT: it's traditional linux admin skills), then you will fail to design your applications and services appropriately. Your shit will break, you will scramble to find out what's wrong, and the only solution available to you will be to turn it off and back on again, or to build a new one and kill it.

If your solution is to turn it off and back on again, or terminate the instance and press the make-a-new-computer button, then you're not a sysadmin. You're a technician.

And if you're writing the dockerfiles that get hooked up to the make-a-new-computer button, that doesn't make you an infrastructure engineer. That's a technician writing the build instructions in advance.

It's UNIX / Linux all the way down. Read The Practice of System and Network Administration. Learn the old ways because without them you will not understand why the new ways are what they are.

> All the linux admin i know that is good, are excellent coder as well; they have no problem working on AWS, learning go and mess around with kubes.

Go is just a tool. Kubernetes is just a tool. AWS is just a business selling computer time.

Anyone can operate a pneumatic drill, but a dentist understands teeth and the mouth. Anyone can use CAD and make a 3-D model of a building, but an architect understands the properties of the building materials under stress.

My application may be located in AWS, but if you can't build a resilient service on bare metal then you have no business administering my system.

u/motodoto · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

Well I'll be the first one to give you generic information that you could have found with the search function.

You just do the needful.

Good screwdriver set.

A network tone tester in case you need to map out your network and document everything. Also functions as a basic cable tester.

A punch down tool.

An ethernet crimper.

A quick cable stripper.

A usb hard drive dock.

A notebook.

Your necessities may vary, this applies to more of a one-man shop, and there's plenty of other things you'll want to get that I don't have listed here depending on your job.

I dunno how much you should get paid.

u/IOuhoh · 2 pointsr/computertechs

My friend, like/know it or not, you are a SysAdmin. Read this book and check out things over at /r/SysAdmin and you should be okay.

u/xb4r7x · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

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. :)

u/b26 · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

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


u/rpetre · 2 pointsr/linux

Read a lot. Man pages, guides, examples, source code. Experiment. True, with only one machine you probably won't get to get exposed to, say, networking stuff (you can emulate complex networks using VMs, but you still need to know a lot to set up such an environment). Still, there's a lot of things to learn about the system just by mucking with it. Having a machine you can reinstall whenever you want helps a lot, get an old PC or laptop and use it as a test bed if you don't have a spare server, making it a webserver today, a mailserver tomorrow, a firewall the next day and so on.

Take any problem as a challenge to dig deeper and understand why. Granted, in the Google age, the solution to most problems are just a search and a copy-paste away, but getting to understand what happens with the machine and what's the most elegant way to control it takes a lot of research and practice and failures. Learning "why" is way more important than learning "how", since tools evolve and change and the manuals are always close, but knowing what to look for is a skill that takes time to develop.

Speaking of failures, try to come up with as many ways as you can to make things fail and try to find solutions to most of them. Good sysadmins understand failure and actively explore ways to prevent or handle it.

If you don't mind reading thick books, I heartily recommend Evi Nemeth's Linux Administration Handbook (pretty hands-on) and Tom Limoncelli's Practice of System and Network Administration (about the mentality and processes and non-technical stuff). You might find the latter a bit boring, since it has zero scripts and commands in it, but sooner or later in your career you'll love it.

I'll stop because I ranted too much already, but as a final word, keep in mind that SA is primarily about maintaining infrastructure that helps people, so don't get too caught up by the tech to forget that service availability comes first, shiny toys second ;)

u/RoughJustice · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

I would learn the basics of how to be a sysadmin/network admin first!

you are going to pick up a ton with hands on - Windows info is adundant and easy to find - I would study for a CCNA - knowing what the network is doing has made me a better sysadmin.

u/wheredmymousego · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

This book may address your problem of trying to make traction in an interrupt-driven environment.

u/kilrainebc · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/youreyestheyturnme · 2 pointsr/sysadmin

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.

u/orbjuice · 1 pointr/sysadmin

If you have a degree, look for a junior sysadmin role. Many of these may nonetheless require experience, so you may have to look for help desk or technical call center work, then move to junior sysadmin roles.

There are two essential parts to being a good sysadmin; the first is to READ. Read all you can. Read about Windows, Linux, MacOSX, TCP/IP, DNS, SANs, The Cloud (ugh), SQL, continuous deployment, active directory, C, and HRSP. What you read is important, but not as important as getting immersed in getting all this knowledge. Hell, read and don't bother trying to retain it; the weirdest things come back to you, unbidden, when you're troubleshooting.

The second part is to toughen up. Too many (SO VERY MANY) admins today are barely a step above users-- they see something isn't working and instantly give up. Toughen up, you haven't even started to fight. Get in there and start asking the tough questions; when did it work last? What changed? What are the symptoms of the problem I'm facing and what could be causing them. Think. Act. Do. Don't be yet another wilting admin.

For beginners I recommend the book The Practice of System and Network Administration, and also In The Beginning Was The Command Line. Both are linked below. The latter can be read online and doesn't require a purchase.

u/Kynaeus · 1 pointr/sysadmin

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:

u/ge01f · 1 pointr/sysadmin

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.

u/SolitarySysadmin · 1 pointr/sysadmin

my suggestion would be The Practise of System and Network Administration -
Limoncelli, Hogan and Chalup.

It's my go-to-guide for new (and old) SysAds - covers pretty much everything and is easy reading, different levels of expertise will get different things from it.

u/confangry · 1 pointr/sysadmin
  • Installing a distribution won't teach you about how linux works. You'll just get good at installing linux. Even LFS just teaches you about how linux is installed, not how it works. Reproducible installs are interesting though. Figure out how to automatically configure systems. Learn how to go from zero to installed and configured with no human intervention.
  • If you want to know how it works under the hood, read the books by W. Richard Stevens. Also, this one. And this one.
  • Set tasks. Do them. Set up mail servers, web servers, dns servers...
  • Use automation to recreate the previous.
  • Learn what happens when you run commands. 'ls /etc' might be a simple command, but what does it do? Likewise 'curl', ping, traceroute.
  • Linux SA is about solving problems. Learn how to solve problems, not treat symptoms.
  • Linux SA is about solving other people's problems. Learn how to solve their problems using technology.
  • Look up interview questions. Figure out the answers.
  • Get experience. Doing all this in a lab or at home will only get you so far - it's useful, but not a true reflection of how technology is used to solve problems.
u/tclark · 1 pointr/sysadmin

Check out The Practice of System and Network Administration. It has some useful sections and a whole chapter about hiring.

u/codecx81 · 1 pointr/sysadmin

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

u/gotwf · 1 pointr/sysadmin

+1 on that. I have "The Practice of System & Network Administration" as well. Highly recommended

u/pretysmitty · 1 pointr/learnprogramming

When you refer to networking are you referring to CompTIA Network+ Skills, or info covered in a book like this?

u/SuperQue · 1 pointr/sysadmin

When you're hired as a junior, you're expected to be asking questions. Your questions sound like you haven't even been given basic training and shouldn't be let anywhere near production gear without supervision. I'm not saying you're stupid, just ignorant. Ignorance is expected, it takes time to learn.

You need to start at the beginning, with some basic materials:

u/djk29a_ · 1 pointr/sysadmin

I think people are going way overboard on Gene Kim's great book and are oftentimes forgetting basic system administration that really hasn't changed for decades now probably. A lot of places that are trying to jump into "devops" are honestly not even very good at ops in the first place, and that technical debt will accrue exponentially.

Tom Limoncello's Practice of System and Network Administration has almost everything mentioned here, including the concept of an "interrupt blocker" to help other team members get project work done.

u/blzed · 1 pointr/sysadmin

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.

u/gsmalleus · 1 pointr/linuxadmin

I agree, this book is great. Although it is not targeted at any specific OS environment, it does encompass a lot of knowledge. Also, the link you provided is for the first edition. [Here is the newest edition.] (

u/ImportantOpinions · 1 pointr/sysadmin

Good luck and looks like the 3rd edition is in the making

u/hakan_loob44 · 1 pointr/ITCareerQuestions

Not white papers, but if you want to be any kind of Sys. Admin The Practice of System and Network Administration and Time Management for System Administrator are musts.

u/wolfmann · 1 pointr/personalfinance

no sysadmins are operations, we deal with both sides. The new trendy name is DevOps which is more software based than the traditional sysadmin. My job covers Networking, Systems, Security, End-user devices (laptops, desktops, iPad, iPhone) -- these jack of all trades are going away to specializing in each one of the topics, but people generally rotate between them.

Limoncelli has a good book on how to build IT Operations - a lot of people refer to it as the Sysadmin Bible.

u/timlepes · 1 pointr/linuxadmin

I few years ago my youngest brother got his first IT job, and he fell right into an admin role. He too is very sharp. I bought him the following books as a gift to get him started...

The Practice of System and Network Administration, SecondEdition - a few years old but has lots of fundamentals in there, still well worth reading. Hoping for a third edition someday.

Tom Limoncelli's Time Management for System Administrators

I see others have recommended this great book, and I wholehartedly agree: UNIX and Linux System Adminstration, 4th Edition. I was sad when Evi's ship was lost at sea last year. :-( You could tell she loved sailing old wooden ships... just look at the cover. A great loss; she did so much for our community.

Additionally, I will second or third anyone recommending works by Brendan Gregg. I got the Kindle version of Brendan's Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud. I really like this book. It was written to be a good foundational book for the next several years. I am planning to get a hard copy version too. While you're at it, check out these links...

Brendan Gregg:

Tom Limoncelli:

Introduce him not only to books, but online resources and communities like /r/linuxadmin :-)


u/bincat · 1 pointr/linuxadmin

> * this book^1 is required reading, period.

1 (Amazon link to the first edition)

Is there a reason for the first edition suggestion or can the more recent second edition be more appropriate?

u/cowboi · 1 pointr/sysadmin

I have that time management for system admin book as my next to read... currently flying through The Practice of System and Network Administration

Most of it I knew but some of the things have been helpful in some future projects and planning.

u/BreatheLikeADog · 1 pointr/computertechs

Install servers is a BIG DEAL. Unless you have someone in your shop who is taking charge, you want to familiarize yourself with some of the concepts of systems administration or else you will have a bad time.

Visit /r/sysadmin, /r/homelab /r/itdept.

Buy this book: <---it is the best book in the world

u/brons0n · 1 pointr/sysadmin

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.

u/DerSoldierSpike · 1 pointr/sysadmin

The Practice of Network and System Administration by Thomas Limoncelli has some good advice, although some of the specifics are a bit dated it's a good reference for general practice and has a chapter on getting out of the hole that you've inherited.

u/strat_sl · 1 pointr/sysadmin

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.

u/jarvis2323 · 1 pointr/ITdept

No problem. Recommend reading in this discipline:
Enjoy your journey!