Log in

No account? Create an account

How to be a Super Hero

Posted on 2009.07.10 at 06:00
Current Location: 75070
Current Music: Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
Tags: , , ,

I usually do magnificent work because I stay ahead of the curve. When I discover I'm going to be performing a task, I ensure everything I'll need is in place, put in place if its not, verify the steps I'll be running through, write a script or two, move them into place, open my tabs, track down my consoles, verify my logins, setup my environment and wait for go-time.

When the starting gun fires, I'm well on my way to a quick and efficient conclusion. Praise, often undeservedly so, is heaped upon my head. But I merely stand on the shoulders of giants. That is, those who can do these things off-the-cuff.

I'm not as smart as everyone else, so I work twice as hard. I've not the training others have, so I write everything down. I've not been doing this as long as some, so I do it during my spare time as well. All these tips and tricks help me survive in my environment.

But today, I wasn't given a heads-up. I was simply expected to perform - and the results, while not disastrous, caused much cursing and gnashing of teeth. Patch four systems. Easy enough. But all those same rules still apply, and this was in-between my other numerous tasks for the week.

My login had expired on two boxes, and the root password was several revs back to fix once I got the right console combination - Tracking down which virtual partition is on which frame requires multiple logins onto other boxes and grep'ing through frame serial numbers. Then the patches wouldn't load from the primary repository...The four boxes were split in pairs to two discrete storage nodes which act as secondary, firewalled patch repositories, and the depots on the primary was unbundled. The patches required numerous dependencies (something like 5500 individual files) so I had to scp entire directories to the different storage nodes and register them separately. I don't know how to install multiple patch-sets non-interactively from the command line on HP/UX, so I had to launch the ncurses gui.

I completed my task, but not easily.

I started my day at 0600 from an alert sent to my cell phone, and left at 2100, only to work the three hours I was home, and go back into the office at midnight because a frame had shat one half of its npars. Yes, production.

A 24-hour day today.

And I have more work to do tomorrow.

And Sunday.

True character is rarely revealed when things are easy.

So I don't bitch. I just work. And dream of sleep.

Little light shining,
Little light will guide them to me.
My face is all lit up,
My face is all lit up.
If they find me racing white horses,
They'll not take me for a buoy.

Let me be weak,
Let me sleep
And dream of sheep.

My King Size Beautyrest pillowtop awaits, like a slumbering lover


Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-07-10 17:14 (UTC) (Link)
I'm not as smart as everyone else, so I work twice as hard. I've not the training others have, so I write everything down. I've not been doing this as long as some, so I do it during my spare time as well. All these tips and tricks help me survive in my environment.
Our IRC server aside, I've never doubted your SysAdmin abilities. From reading your blog over the past several years, asking advice of you, meeting you and educating myself in *nix areas, I've always been confident that you'll find a solution at some point, even if that means trial and error. I rest easy at night knowing there are people like you out there who eat, drink, live, breathe and sleep *nix and I envy you. Sometimes I wonder how I got to the point where I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I know what you mean by learning by example. I picked up a lot of what I know because I was forced to run Ubuntu for several months. But now that I have a product where all of that complication is taken care of for me in one box (i.e. miniMax0r) I've slacked off because there isn't a need. I've got a box that's been sitting collecting dust for over a year. It would make a good *nix box and indeed I've installed Solaris on it. But i don't want to pay the power bill on it. And there is a steep learning curve to Solaris. I further think that if you don't learn Solaris on Sun hardware, it doesn't really make sense and you will always be missing that historical context I talked out in our interview.

Somedays I wonder about going to a technical school where the focus on System Administration just to gain the knowledge.

Another area were I've fallen lax is security. Because I don't know enough of the internals of *nix OSes, I'm at a loss when it comes to securing them. Additionally, the target is always moving, so by the time you understand one aspect, you've lost time and security over some new vulnerability. To me, computer security is like practicing medicine: eventually, you will loose. I wished I had a passion for sticking shems in dams, but that just isn't my cup of tea anymore.
ehowton at 2009-07-10 22:31 (UTC) (Link)
I wished I had a passion for sticking shems in dams

I put my finger in a dyke once. It was fun.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2009-07-10 22:35 (UTC) (Link)
I can only imagine.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2009-07-10 23:22 (UTC) (Link)
"I put my finger in a dyke once. It was fun."

That's one Airforce story I've not heard yet.
irulan_amy at 2009-07-11 20:03 (UTC) (Link)
Of course you got through. Well done.

Here's to sleep...whenever you are able to get it anyways.
codekitten at 2009-07-20 19:31 (UTC) (Link)
argh this is the worst when this happens! luckily it's few and far in between. but those marathon sessions can really get your heart going.

my memory is shot. i carry a pen and pad around with me everywhere. if someone bumps into me in the hall and asks me to do something (if i don't have my pen/pad) i say, "send me an email or it won't get done."

so i'm sorta like that too. i'm smart but it doesn't come "naturally" like the other whiz kids i've run into.
ehowton at 2009-07-20 19:41 (UTC) (Link)
The overnighters have lessened over the past few years, which sometimes makes them harder to handle when they do come.

And I'm not as young as I used to be - takes me longer to recoup. I'll leave second-shift to the young'uns!
Previous Entry  Next Entry