Happy SysAdmin Day

posted Jul 31, 2013, 1:30 AM by Prema Howard   [ updated Jul 31, 2013, 1:30 AM ]
Posted by Ben Fried, CIO at Google, on Google's Official Blog.

System Administrators’ responsibilities can’t be captured in a simple job description. They vary from company to company and even within organizations, but one thing is constant: systems administrators are the people who do what it takes to keep companies running. After more than 25 years in IT, I’ve worked with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of systems administrators and on this SysAdmin Day, I want to thank you for all that you do. 

Thank you for being the ones behind the scenes who make sure things “just work.” For coming in on holidays and in the middle of the night to do an upgrade or fix a server issue. For answering all of our questions, no matter how challenging or strange. For hours spent fixing the simplest email support issue to monitoring servers during a hurricane. I actually think that it’s what we don’t know about that deserves the most thanks. All too often, users don’t understand the amazing efforts that go into making things “just work”: physical plant, hardware, storage, networking, security, backup, disaster recovery, configuration, upgrades, patches... and it’s all only really successful if users only have to think about their own work.

What we do in IT has evolved over the years, (hey, that’s a big part of why we’re here, right?), but your role has only gotten more demanding. I’ve worked in technology since I was in high school; in my earliest days, the hardest problems might have been helping researchers convert their data from one tape format to another, which seemed equal parts engineering and magic. I remember another time, someone had a program that made a washing machine-sized disk drive vibrate across the machine room. It took us a while to figure that one out. And back then, before the Internet, a break-in meant the intruder was in one of our computing centers, and we’d have to send the most intimidating-looking system administrators to guard the door until the police came.

I know the role has changed, and the challenges many of you face are much more complicated than they used to be. We thought the best way to say thanks would be to hear directly from you. Earlier this week we asked you to share some of the most far-fetched requests you’ve received from colleagues. The stories shared made us laugh, and reminded us how much hard work you do. If we don’t say it enough, thank you again for everything you do.