I used to be a unix system admininstrator
, and a damned good one. (I still am, but for a much smaller system, only a 60 users or so, hardly counts) Mostly Solaris
, and some HP-UX
. About 60 or 70 various Sparcs
, and the big honkin' Sun E5000
. It was a pretty cool job
. Lots of neat stuff to play with and do, never a dull moment, and always lots of interesting stuff to learn about.
If you're a beginning Unix admin, or wanting to get into it, especially SunOS or Solaris, get this book: Unix System Administration Handbook by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, and Trent R. Hein. (I lent my copy to someone, and I never saw it again.)
But if you're looking into this type of job, remember, being on-call 24x7x365.25 (don't forget leap years) does get old.
And when a RAID controller decides to lose its mind and trash nearly a terabyte of critical data, requiring you to spend all night spinning backup tapes and cultivating an unhealthy paranoia, only to discover that, uh, this RAID controller's lost its mind...., well those times aren't much fun, those "except when I hate" it times. Those times can be very stressful indeed.
Now I only do system administration as a kind of side line to my regular job, which is, perhaps somewhat ironically, writing unix RAID controller drivers. (If something isn't done right, do it yourself, right!/?). This is unfortunate in some respects, that I'm no longer a full-time admin, by which I mean that the system which I'm administering deserves more attention than it gets and sometimes I cringe when I see what's heppening (or not happening) on this system. On the other hand, being a sort of part-time admin, (part-time = 1/20th of my time, not counting infrequent crises) I get to do the cool admin stuff without getting too caught up in it. and having experienced first-hand the utter horror of a bad RAID controller, I'd like to think I take the time to test the living shit out of my drivers and the controllers they deal with. I never want to have to explain why my driver's just trashed several terabytes of data.
At least my job isn't boring, there's definitely something to be said for that. (What the hell kind of node is this that I've written... I might have to come back to this anf work it over later...)