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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 problems. 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 techniques.

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

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.

Good luck!


In reply to Re: OT - Unix Administration - What's needed? by ZZamboni
in thread OT - Unix Administration - What's needed? by TStanley

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