It's a dirty job, but someone told me I had to do it
--Usenix fridge magnet
Apart from the others' suggestions, if you are going to administrate
a large network, I would suggest brushing up on your TCP/IP.
Understanding how things work helps a lot in diagnosing many
Pick up TCP/IP Network Administration
(another O'Reilly book), which has a very good overview of
TCP/IP in general, and some useful network administration
Another good book is the Unix
System Administration Handbook, which has the nice feature
of pointing out specificities of different versions of Unix along
with the more general descriptions.
I would like to stress the advice about staying (starting now)
up to date on the latest happenings, particularly in security: subscribe
at least to BugTraq and to the security mailing lists of the
vendors whose OS's you will be administrating, and
stay up to date on patches and fixes.
Another useful thing is having a good set of tools at your
disposal. For example, for tracking user requests, where I work
they use wreq,
which works out quite well, although I think they had some
trouble setting it up (I'm not the sysadmin here, but I talk
to them a lot). There are other similar systems, I'm sure
several will come up if you search in Freshmeat.net.
Read The Egoless
Admin, a recent piece on Freshmeat with some good pieces
of advice. Also read The
Bastard Operator From Hell, of course :-)
And remember that no matter what you do, Systems Administration
is a thankless job: when everything is working, you are
completely transparent (as it should be!). But when things
go south, it's all your fault. But it's a job that is its own
reward: there's nothing more satisfying that having everything
working perfectly, automated, and well-tuned.
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