OT: It's arrived!

Greg McCarroll greg at mccarroll.org.uk
Mon Nov 5 13:33:09 GMT 2007

On Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 11:42:18AM +0000, Peter Corlett wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 11:18:54AM +0000, Matt S Trout wrote:
> [...]
> > It's become extremely obvious that you aren't one, so you either need to
> > start paying one or you need to tell your hosting customers they should
> > move elsewhere if they care about their websites. (note: I'm not a
> > sysadmin either - guess what Shadowcat's first hire was ...)
> Having done both Perl dev and sysadmin jobs, I'd just like to note that a
> good Perl hacker can be a good sysadmin too without a vast amount of effort.

I think there is a lot of it that comes down to mind-set. 

I think from a purely technical knowledge point of view, a good/senior Perl hacker 
can become an above average sysadmin pretty easily - but there will still be a  
bit of a learning curve as they learn some tools, e.g. backup, that they maybe only 
have slightly grok'd before.

The problem is, and I think a previous poster mentioned this (Paul M? mst?) that
there is a certain mind-set that really great sysadmins have. 

On one side of the workflow, It can be seen by programmers and project managers 
as awkward or stubborn, they want to ensure that nothing goes live which isn't backed up, 
doesn't produce good logs (log4perl FTW!) and isn't well documented - a lot of this 
stubbornness comes from the fact it is their pager that goes off at 3am.

However the other side of this 'contract' is that they will hapilly work overnight
to fix problems, cancel dates and work their lifestyles around the systems when they
go wrong - and do so in line with the support of business KPI's. mbm and dean wilson
(who are both known to the London Perl community) spring to mind as two examples of

One of my greatest regrets from a previous employer is that at one stage we had
a set of requirements from the systems group that had started out as a rant, but
that had been refined, and we never gave them to dev. I think it's these sort of
activities that coupled with a reverse flow of information, lead to the team spirit 
that the original poster about ops (it was probably Paul M, now I think again about it) 


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