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30

monitoring+alerting - which is great safety net. just as developers write unit tests to make sure things don't get messed up when they update code, i rely on monitoring as additional safety net just in case i screw something up [ that is disconnect a server, deny production traffic on firewall etc ]. it gives a peace of mind - if things break i will know ...


26

For me, it has been centralized authentication. I got to the point that I was administering 40 or so Slackware machines, and each one had local authentication PLUS local Samba authentication. I also had a VPN solution where each account needed to be setup, plus an internal jabber server and an internal email server. Everything had its own account. MAC ...


20

I agree with the obvious choices here; Automation and central authentication. However, it appears that I have to be the guy to mention documentation. By documenting as many problems, workflows, installations and guides as possible people were able to work through some of their issues without the need to get our department on it. Another great time saver is ...


17

Infrastructure automation with a tool like Chef or Puppet is the best thing I've implemented on systems I manage. Monitoring is great and all, but often, getting the various bits to play nice with the rest of the infrastructure requires a lot of work. Chef and Puppet are both great at automating the entire infrastructure, providing a lot of glue that used to ...


16

Multiple monitors, with a window open on the console of each server I was responsible for.


7

Monitoring is great of course, but not sure it's a time saver. For my money it was centralized logging, with a viewing system that filtered out the mundane, highlighted the dangerous (disk failure, virus scanner finds) and displayed everything else for categorization. syslog (and perl) for the win. It basically allowed me to read the event logs of all ...


6

Removed local admin rights for all users. (if I can) This has had the effect of now I don't have to deal with any of the, how do I get X application to install (cause you are not allowed to now), my computer has a virus/spyware, my computer is running slow and pretty much anything related to that. I never relized how stable this made the workstations ...


6

Virtualization (VMware) Between deploying servers from templates, managing servers from a single interface, detailed hardware monitoring built into the infrastructure client, it has really changed how we administer our infrastructure. And the impact it has had on how we think of our "hardware" has really made it a game changer. Clusters are no longer ...


5

I was going to just leave this in comments, but actually I'm going to post an answer because while I think you have good intentions, I think you're going about it in a more complicated manner than you need to. It is good that you are planning some sort of ticketing system, and I am of the opinion that for anything more than about 20 computers it is a good ...


4

The advantages of paper: It scales to the size of your desk. It is easy to read (doesn't flicker). It is easy to transport without requiring batteries/electricity to operate So to make your office more paper-less you need to provide a better way: Multi monitor set up Good quality LCD Don't require people to move or provide abundance of display methods ...


4

For me it was to hire a very good sysadmin.


4

cfengine for config management under debian/linux. openvpn to connect the satellite stations tighvnc through the vpn to reach the 2300 Windows Clients in the satellite stations. munin and nagios for monitoring and reporting smartmontools on the servers for automatic healthy checks (and status mails, if something goes wrong) raid1 (mirroring) on the ...


4

This is not really answering the question as asked, but a long term observation. Over quite a few years (nearly as long as the dream of a paperless office) I've observed that the harder a company tries to create that mythical thing we call the paperless office the more likely that their use of paper increases. Every time someone creates an electronic ...


4

Why do you keep recreating the vm? Why not ssh into it, and work on the manifest until it works? By the way, puppet parser validate is a good way of catching primary errors before even testing what puppet is doing. Personally, I go to a clean VM, or a VM that is a copy of whatever I want to change, copy any required modules to there under /root/modules, ...


3

Puppet. The idea of changing one place and having all the systems that are affected is fantastic. Couple that with standard installs, and, it's very fast to bring a new system up. You netboot and run a stock install, and then puppet takes over and everthing is configured. Finally, standardize. No, you really don't want 35 different linux distros and ...


3

I would recommend installing sahara. Then your workflow becomes: vagrant up vagrant sandbox on vagrant ssh *do some stuff that doesn't work vagrant sandbox rollback vagrant ssh * do some stuff that does work vagrant sandbox commit I prefer rather than doing the commit you do a rollback and then add what ever you changed to your preferred provisioning ...


3

You can also re-apply manifest changes by running vagrant provision So your workflow becomes vagrant up while(not working as desired) { amend manifest vagrant provision }


2

It depends on the interfaces your reporting engine allows, and what you can do through those interfaces. Web services are pretty much the way to go though these days. Other options would be connecting to the database directly or using come kind of Distributed COM setup; neither of those are a good idea in most cases.


2

Add another vote for monitoring. The principle is quite simple: I want to know what's happening before the users are affected. System Administration should ideally be a transparent role. Users should neither know nor care about what you're doing. From their perspective it should just simply work. Happy and satisfied users should equal happy and satisfied ...


2

My biggest time saver, so far, has been SSH keys + ssh-agent + keychain as described in this IBM article on OpenSSH key management No more passwords for shells, scripts and scp. NOTE: I still have a passphrase on my private key.


2

Time saved is most important when systems are down. I documented all support contract info in standardized text files in a standardized directory structure. I had one central and kept more than one copy around. Each bit of information (web portal, phone number, point of contact, expiry date, contract number, phone menu shortcuts, etc.) where preceded by a ...


2

I implemented an IT Department Wiki (using Mediawiki for those interested) several years ago. When we started getting comfortable using it, the reply to many questions asked around the office was "Did you check the wiki?" It took a little time for us to get used to checking the Wiki for specific information, but once we did we realized it's great ...


2

The biggest time saver I have implemented was Disk Imaging of our production workstations. They are all the same and no one stores anything locally, so if there is a problem I just re-image the machine and it's all set to go, good as new.


2

Unfortunately I haven't got to de-paper my company yet, however this doesn't mean I've not looked into the matter. 'paper workloads' is pretty general. it comes down to 'is there an electronic system or systems-in-tandem that will meet the need of whatever department, and whomever interacts with that department'. When I first started here, we didn't have ...


2

We've got a digital whiteboard. A projector projects onto the whiteboard and when you write on it with the special pens (there's four different colours) it actually draws it on the PC and projects it onto the whiteboard as if it really was writing on it. If you have a good projector it's brilliant, and you can actually use it has a huge touchscreen during ...


2

Your plan is largely sound. Source Control: Make it mandatory for the developer's job. By all means, send that developer to training or a local dev group for a beatdown. Convince your mutual boss of the need. (If you have to, use the 'turned malicious' or 'left something out' scenarios, or the plain-simple 'webserver got hacked and defaced' scenario. ...


2

You'll want something that can do regular expressions - but I agree that this is a superuser/serverfault question... EDIT - mainly I would install cygwin and use tools like grep. The *nix command line is remarkably powerful for such activities - particularly when you can script them together - or use a scripting language like python or perl.


2

A short sketch: The most important part will be planing of your networks and the physical installation. You'll probably use at least three or four networks. One for management where you provision, monitor, deploy, configure your nodes, one for storage access, and another one for things like MPI and internode communication and an out-of-band network where ...


1

When I was tasked with the responsibilty of reducing paper usage while running IT at an SMB employing about 130 people I used the following novel technique: I equipped the company print-room with a Linux/Samba based Fax/Print Server. All the printers were attached to this, as well as a Fax-Modem for incoming faxes (which were saved to a File-Share as TIFF ...


1

For my note taking I use Evernote - I've scanned businesscards and bills as well as keep all my notes. because it has online syncronization I can reach all of my "paper" notes from all of my machines as well as any other device with web access.



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