Thank you, sysadmins!
I was on a call the other day with the director of IT at a large process automation tools and support company when the subject of today's System Administration Appreciation Day, also known as Sysadmin Day, came up. He said he was planning on making note of his own sysadmin in his personal blog and he told me the following story.
Last year at the company's summer outing at the beach, he and his sysadmin were enjoying themselves and enjoying the weather. All of a sudden, they both heard a woman screaming, pointing out across the breaking surf, to a faint image off in the distance. Her kids were on a boogie board, slowly drifting further and further out to sea. She screamed for someone to help save her kids. So, the sysadmin runs out through the surf, climbs on top of the water, and walks out to where the kids were, plucking one from under the water as he slid off the board, and grabbing the other with his free arm. The sysadmin then carried both kids to shore, placing them in the care of their hysterical, but relieved mother, to thunderous applause to all those watching from the shore. The next day, in the company's newsletter, the following headline appeared, recapping the prior day's events at the beach. "Sysadmin Can't Swim."
Okay, so clearly a bad joke, but you get the gist. The list of advice to make a sysadmin's life productive is well worth the read, and I'm sure that is only scratching the surface. It's a parody of what many in the sysadmin community deal with on a daily basis. And, the "official" job description per the Sysadmin Appreciation Day Website can feel equally daunting, captured here:
A sysadmin makes sure your network connection is save, secure, open and working. A sysadmin makes sure your computer is working in a healthy way on a healthy network. A sysadmin takes backups to guard against disaster both human and otherwise, holds the gates against security threats and crackers, and keeps the prints going no matter how many copies of the tax code someone from Accounting prints out. A sysadmin worries about spam, viruses, spyware, but also power outages, fires and floods. When the email server goes down at 2 AM on a Sunday, your sysadmin is paged, wakes up, and goes to work. A sysadmin is a professional, who plans, worries, hacks, fixes, pushes, advocates, protects and creates good computer networks, to get you your data, to help you do work -- to bring the potential of the computer ever closer to reality.
Beyond the list, there are songs, videos and as one client joked, analyst firms are predicting that by 2011, the sale of sysadmin appreciation cards will outpace the sale of traditional holiday cards by 3-to-1. With all that said, what is important about today is recognizing the hard work that each and every sysadmin puts into making the network, systems and applications of so many companies run smoothly and efficiently.
So, a quick thank you in appreciation to all the sysadmins out there, including our own: Tom, Ken and Mark. Without you, we wouldn't be able to do what we all need to do. And, there probably isn't enough appreciation to show for that.