System Administrator Appreciation Day is Almost Here!

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Credit: flickr / FACEBOOK(LET)

Are you ready for Friday? It's our big day! At least, for those of us who are sysadmins. Yes, it's SysAdmin Day! And regardless of how little notice we might get the other 364 days a year, we can look forward to a little recognition for the tireless hours that we put in day after day all year long just to keep the systems we manage running and usable -- and the people we support happy and productive.

Sysadmin Day or, more formally, "System Administrator Appreciation Day", didn't come into being until July 2000 when some kind soul must have noticed how hard systems administrators work and how little recognition they get. Sometimes it seem that a person who makes it possible for us to reset our passwords when we forget them always gets a high five, while the guy or gal who backs up our servers every night and ensures that we can connect to them likely never crosses our minds. So, Sysadmin Day came about to help us all focus on how much behind the scenes work is being done to keep us productive. Or, if you are the sysadmin, to get some of those people who you support to think about how hard you work to keep systems and services available.

Just think about it. Good systems administrators are responsible for ...

  • amazing uptime statistics. When you hear references to those "five nines", what people are talking about are systems that are up 99.999% of the time, and the sysadmins are the ones making that happen.
  • amazingly little data loss. Backups generally run every night and often critical systems are set to synchronize their holdings to other servers so that even a server crash or the collapse of a building won't keep you down for long -- unless, maybe, it's the one you're sitting in.
  • good connections. The network your systems connect to has to be monitored and managed to ensure that network traffic doesn't slow down connections. Sysadmins often manage networks and network devices as well.
  • the apps that keep you productive. Sysadmins often load, patch, and upgrade the critical tools that you use to get your work done. From databases to compilers to test generators to vulnerability detectors, sysadmins keep them current and keep them working.

In general, sysadmins are noticed the least when they're really good. If the systems you use are almost never unavailable, if the tools you use just work, if you never lose data and, when you accidentally delete a file you need, you get it back easily and quickly, some hardworking sysadmin is looking after you.

Sysadmin Day is this Friday so don't forget to show your appreciation or, if you are the sysadmin, to spend a little time feeling proud of how much you do for your organization and your users. It's not an easy job and it often feels like a thankless one, but maybe this Friday will be different!

In the next couple of days, I'll post some additional ideas on how to make Sysadmin Day 2015 extra special.

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