Each year on the last Friday of July, the administrators of corporate and home networks, databases, mail systems, program suites, and other “fighters on the invisible front” celebrate their professional holiday – System Administrator Day. Kirill Borodulin, director of the SUSU Supercomputing Center, senior professor of the Department of System Programming told us that the system administrator profession is akin to being a doctor – if everything is working, no one remembers about him; but if it isn’t working – everyone remembers the sysadmin and actively require help.
– What is the most important thing working as a system administrator?
– The main goal of a system administrator is supporting IT infrastructures, of which there are very different types, and which is also changing very rapidly right now. 5 years ago, cloud technologies were just appearing, and now, half of all companies have already transferred all of their infrastructure into the cloud. So, in IT there is a clear division right now between sysadmin, programmer, network engineer, etc. Programmers, besides writing software, must also understand how to launch a program and keep track of its work and errors. So, programmers can’t do without the skills of administration and, for example, network skills. On the other hand, administrators must also know programming to understand how software works to build the infrastructure for the optimal use of resources by the program.
– What qualities can a professional not do without?
– The most important thing in working as a sysadmin is responsibility and accuracy. After all, if you do something wrong and don’t verify something correctly, errors can last for a long period of time and it will be difficult to eradicate them. The work of a system administrator requires constant communication with technology and the tasks are always various. You can and most constantly development and study new things, since the sector is changing constantly, and to keep up you have to spend all of your free time studying new things. So, a good sysadmin is a lazy sysadmin. If there is some kind of routine task, he is better off writing a script or software for it which automates the work than doing it himself daily. If a sysadmin is invisible, that means his work is going well.
– How is working as a sysadmin at SUSU?
– When I began working at the supercomputer center, I began as a system administrator. There it was necessary to automate the majority of tasks. For example, installing an operating system on the 480 nodes of the Tornado supercomputer would take a few days.
Since a supercomputer is a combination of the most bleeding-edge IT technologies (processors, network, storage, etc.), at SUSU I am able to go to my leadership, recommend a project, and implement something new and modern. A good sysadmin must be able to develop projects. He should have very broad knowledge – he should know how to calculate the prudence of purchasing equipment and how to complete a floor plan to design a network and programming. In the Supercomputer Center, we have student practicals each year, and they receive this knowledge during their education. Here they complete various tasks of system administration, including supercomputer tasks, in their practicals. In general, a sysadmin is not a theoretician – without practice he knows nothing.