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Encyclopedia > System administrator

A system administrator, systems administrator, or sysadmin, is a person employed to maintain and operate a computer system and/or network. System administrators may be members of an information technology department. This article is about the machine. ... A computer network is an interconnection of a group of computers. ... Information and communication technology spending in 2005 Information Technology (IT), as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), is the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware. ...


The duties of a system administrator are wide-ranging, and vary widely from one organization to another. Sysadmins are usually charged with installing, supporting, and maintaining servers or other computer systems, and planning for and responding to service outages and other problems. Other duties may include scripting or light programming, project management for systems-related projects, supervising or training computer operators, and being the consultant for computer problems beyond the knowledge of technical support staff. A System Administrator must demonstrate a blend of technical skills and responsibility. In information technology, a server is an application or device that performs services for connected clients as part of a client-server architecture. ... A scripting language, script language or extension language, is a programming language that controls software application. ... Programming redirects here. ... Project Management is the discipline of organizing and managing resources (e. ... Technical support (also tech support) is a range of services providing assistance with computer hardware, software, or other electronic or mechanical goods. ...

Contents

Skills

The subject matter of systems administration includes computer systems and the ways people use them in an organization. This entails a knowledge of operating systems and applications, as well as hardware and software troubleshooting, but also knowledge of the purposes for which people in the organization use the computers. An operating system (OS) is a software that manages computer resources and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. ... Application has the following meanings: In general, an application is using something general to some more conrete. ... Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving. ...


However, perhaps the most important skill to a system administrator is problem solving -- frequently under various sorts of constraints and stress. The sysadmin is on call when a computer system goes down or malfunctions, and must be able to quickly and correctly diagnose what is wrong and how best to fix it. Problem solving forms part of thinking. ...


System administrators are not software engineers or developers. It is not usually within their duties to design or write new applications software. However, sysadmins must understand the behavior of software in order to deploy it and to troubleshoot problems, and generally know several programming languages used for scripting or automation of routine tasks. Software engineering (SE) is the profession concerned with specifying, designing, developing and maintaining software applications by applying technologies and practices from computer science, project management, and other fields. ... “Software development” redirects here. ... A programming language is an artificial language that can be used to control the behavior of a machine, particularly a computer. ...


Particularly when dealing with Internet-facing or business-critical systems, a sysadmin must have a strong grasp of computer security. This includes not merely deploying software patches, but also preventing break-ins and other security problems with preventative measures. In some organizations, computer security administration is a separate role responsible for overall security and the upkeep of firewalls and intrusion detection systems, but all sysadmins are generally responsible for the security of the systems in their keep. This article describes how security can be achieved through design and engineering. ... Firewall may refer to: Firewall (construction), a physical barrier inside a building or vehicle, designed to limit the spread of fire, heat and structural collapse Firewall (networking), a logical barrier designed to prevent unauthorized or unwanted communications between sections of a computer network Firewall (film), a 2006 action film written... An Intrusion Detection System or IDS is a software tool used to detect unauthorised access to a computer system or network. ...


Related fields

Many organizations staff other jobs related to systems administration. In a larger company, these may all be separate positions within a computer support or Information Services (IS) department. In a smaller group they may be shared by a few sysadmins, or even a single person.

  • A database administrator (DBA) maintains a database system, and is responsible for the integrity of the data and the efficiency and performance of the system.
  • A network administrator maintains network infrastructure such as switches and routers, and diagnoses problems with these or with the behavior of network-attached computers.
  • A security administrator is a specialist in computer and network security, including the administration of security devices such as firewalls, as well as consulting on general security measures.
  • A web administrator maintains web server services (such as IIS or Apache) that allow for internal or external access to web sites. Tasks include managing multiple sites, administering security, and configuring necessary components and software. Responsibilities may also include software change management.
  • Technical support staff respond to individual users' difficulties with computer systems, provide instructions and sometimes training, and diagnose and solve common problems.
  • A computer operator performs routine maintenance and upkeep, such as changing backup tapes or replacing failed drives in a RAID array. Such tasks usually require physical presence in the room with the computer; and while less skilled than sysadmin tasks require a similar level of trust, since the operator has access to possibly sensitive data.

In some organizations, a person may begin as a member of technical support staff or a computer operator, then gain experience on the job to be promoted to a sysadmin position. A database administrator (DBA) is a person who is responsible for the environmental aspects of a database. ... This article is about computing. ... The terms network administrator, network specialist and network analyst designate job positions of engineers involved in computer networks, the people who carry out network administration. ... A network switch is a computer networking device that connects network segments. ... A rack-mounted Cisco 7200 router in use in an ISPs data center A router (IPA pronunciation: or ) is a computer networking device that forwards data packets across a network toward their destinations, through a process known as routing. ... This article describes how security can be achieved through design and engineering. ... Change management is a structured approach to change in individuals, teams, organizations and societies that enables the transition from a current state to a desired future state. ... Technical support (also tech support) is a range of services providing assistance with computer hardware, software, or other electronic or mechanical goods. ... A role in information technology, Computer operators oversee the day-to-day running of a computer system. ... For other uses, see Raid. ...


Training

Unlike many other professions, there is no single path to becoming a system administrator. Many system administrators have a degree in generic fields: computer science, information technology, computer engineering, information system management, or even a trade school program. Other schools have offshoots of their Computer Science program specifically for systems administration. Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... Information and communication technology spending in 2005 Information Technology (IT), as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), is the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware. ... Computer engineering (or Computer Systems Engineering) encompasses broad areas of both electrical engineering and computer science[1]Computer engineers are electrical engineers that have additional training in the areas of software design and hardware-software integration. ...


Some schools have started offering undergraduate degrees in Systems Administration. The first, RIT[1] started in 1992. Others such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Marist College, and Drexel University have more recently offered degrees in Information Technology. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is a private higher education institute, with emphasis on career preparation, in Rochester, New York founded in 1829. ... Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or RPI, is a nonsectarian, coeducational private research university in Troy, New York, a city lying just outside the state capital of Albany. ... This article is about Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. ... Drexel University is an institution of higher learning and research located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ...


As of 2007, only three U.S. universities, Rochester Institute of Technology[2], Tufts, and Michigan Tech have graduate programs in system administration.[citation needed] In Norway, there is a special English-taught MSc program organized by Oslo University College [3] in cooperation with Oslo University, named "Masters programme in Network and System Administration". However, many other schools offer related graduate degrees in fields such as network systems and computer security. 2007 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... RIT redirects here. ... Tufts University is a university located in Medford, Massachusetts (near Boston). ... Michigan Technological University is an institution of higher learning with its main campus in Houghton, Michigan, with a building in Hancock. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Oslo University College (OUC), Norwegian: Høgskolen i Oslo (HiO) is the largest state university college in Norway, with more than 10,000 students and approx. ... The University of Oslo (in Norwegian Universitetet i Oslo, in Latin Universitas Osloensis) was founded in 1811 as Universitas Regia Fredericiana (the Royal Frederick University, in Norwegian Det Kongelige Frederiks Universitet). ...


One of the primary difficulties with teaching system administration as a formal university discipline, is that the industry and technology changes much faster than the typical textbook and coursework certification process. By the time a new textbook has spent years working through approvals and committees, the specific technology for which it is written may have changed significantly or is now obsolete. For example, this problem is visible in children's public school textbooks, which often include supplemental CDROM software written for Windows 95/98/NT, but not Windows XP or Vista.


In addition, because of the practical nature of systems administration and the easy availability of open-source server software, many systems administrators enter the field self-taught. For other uses, see Open source (disambiguation). ... In information technology, a server is an application or device that performs services for connected clients as part of a client-server architecture. ...


Generally, a prospective administrator will be required to have some experience with the computer system he or she is expected to manage. In some cases, candidates are expected to possess industry certifications such as the Microsoft MCSA, MCSE, Red Hat RHCE, Novell CNA, CNE, Cisco CCNA or CompTIA's A+ or Network+, Sun Certified SCNA, among others. MCSA stands for Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator and is one of four certifications issued by Microsoft to certify a users knowledge in Microsoft Windows operating systems. ... MCSE is an initialism for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. ... RHCE is an initialism for Red Hat Certified Engineer. ... A Certified Novell Administrator (CNA) is a person that is professionally certified by Novell to administer NetWare-based based computer networks. ... Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) is a certification which is designed to certify that an individual possesses in-depth knowledge and skills related to administration and troubleshooting of the Novell NetWare operating system. ... CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, and is one of the base certifications provided by Cisco Systems, Inc. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a non-profit trade association, was created in 1982 as the Association of Better Computer Dealers, Inc. ... SCNA stands for Sun Certified Network administrator. ...


Sometimes, almost exclusively in smaller sites, the role of system administrator may be given to a skilled user in addition to or in replacement of his or her duties. For instance, it is not unusual for a mathematics or computing teacher to serve as the system administrator of a secondary school.


Duties of a system administrator

A system administrator's responsibilities might include:

  • Analyzing system logs and identifying potential issues with computer systems.
  • Introducing and integrating new technologies into existing data center environments.
  • Performing routine audits of systems and software.
  • Performing backups.
  • Applying operating system updates, patches, and configuration changes.
  • Installing and configuring new hardware and software.
  • Adding, removing, or updating user account information, resetting passwords, etc.
  • Answering technical queries.
  • Responsibility for security.
  • Responsibility for documenting the configuration of the system.
  • Troubleshooting any reported problems.
  • System performance tuning.
  • Insuring that the network infrastructure is up and running.

In larger organizations, some tasks listed above may be divided among different system administrators or members of different organizational groups. For example, a dedicated individual(s) may apply all system upgrades, a Quality Assurance (QA) team may perform testing and validation, and one or more technical writers may be responsible for all technical documentation written for a company. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A data center is a facility used for housing a large amount of electronic equipment, typically computers and communications equipment. ... For other uses of Backup, see Backup (disambiguation). ... An operating system (OS) is a software that manages computer resources and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. ... Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer, including the digital circuitry, as distinguished from the computer software that executes within the hardware. ... Software redirects here. ... Note: to create a user account for Wikipedia, go to the login page. ... A password is a form of secret authentication data that is used to control access to a resource. ... This article describes how security can be achieved through design and engineering. ... In general terms, documentation is any communicable material (such as text, video, audio, etc. ... Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving. ... Performance tuning is the improvement of system performance. ... For the Jurassic 5 album, see Quality Control (album) In engineering and manufacturing, quality control and quality engineering are involved in developing systems to ensure products or services are designed and produced to meet or exceed customer requirements. ... Technical writers are professional writers who design, create, maintain and update many types of technical documentation, online help, user guides, white papers, design specifications, and other documents. ...


In smaller organizations, the system administrator can also perform any number of duties elsewhere associated with other fields:

System administrators, in larger organizations, tend not to be system architects, system engineers, or system designers. However, like many roles in this field, demarcations between systems administration and other technical roles often are not well defined in smaller organizations. Even in larger organizations, senior systems administrators often have skills in these other areas as a result of their working experience. Technical support (also tech support) is a range of services providing assistance with computer hardware, software, or other electronic or mechanical goods. ... A database administrator (DBA) is a person who is responsible for the environmental aspects of a database. ... The terms network administrator, network specialist and network analyst designate job positions of engineers involved in computer networks, the people who carry out network administration. ... An application analyst is someone whose job is to support a given application or applications. ... This article describes how security can be achieved through design and engineering. ... A programmer or software developer is someone who programs computers, that is, one who writes computer software. ... The systems architect is responsible for: Interfacing with the user(s) and sponsor(s) and all other stakeholders in order to determine their (evolving) needs. ... Systems engineering (or systems design engineering) as a field originated around the time of World War II. Large or highly complex engineering projects, such as the development of a new airliner or warship, are often decomposed into stages and managed throughout the entire life of the product or system. ... Categories: Move to Wiktionary | Computer stubs ...


In smaller organizations, IT/computing specialties are less often discerned in detail, and the term system administrator is used in a rather generic way — they are the people who know how the computer systems work and can respond when something fails.


See also

On many computer operating systems, superuser, or root, is the term used for the special user account that is controlled by the system administrator. ... alt. ... System Administrator Appreciation Day, also known as Sysadmin Day or SAAD (as in Happy SAAD!), falls on the last Friday in July. ... Logo The Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH), a fictional character created by Simon Travaglia, is a rogue system administrator who takes out his anger on lusers (his colleagues, bosses and anyone who gets in his way). ... The PFY or Pimply-Faced Youth is the BOFHs apprentice in the Bastard Operator From Hell stories by Simon Travaglia. ... Apple Certification refers to the certification programs designed to create a high level of technical proficiency among Macintosh service technicians, helpdesk support, technical support, system administrators and professional users. ... Forum administrators are normally the highest ranking and most powerful members on an internet forum. ... LISA is the Annual System Administration Conference, co-sponsored by USENIX and SAGE. It began in 1986. ...

References

External links

Certification Organizations

Atil, also spelled Itil (Turkic for Big River), was a name of the Volga River and of the capital of Khazaria from the middle of the 8th century until towards the end of the 10th century. ... The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is an organization in the government of the United Kingdom. ... The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) program is a certification program for Linux system administrators run by Red Hat and affiliates. ... Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) is the advanced certification program from Red Hat, described as capstone to Red Hat Certified Engineer. ... Ubuntu, a popular Linux Distribution A Linux distribution (also called GNU/Linux distribution and often simply distribution or distro) is a member of the Linux family of Unix-like computer operating systems. ... LPIC stand for Linux Professional Institute Certification. ... MCSA stands for Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator and is one of four certifications issued by Microsoft to certify a users knowledge in Microsoft Windows operating systems. ... S.C.S.A. is a four letter acronym which may refer to: The british version of NASCAR, SCSA (Stock Car Speed Association) (http://www. ... SCNA stands for Sun Certified Network administrator. ...

Periodicals

Conferences

  • Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA), sponsored by USENIX and SAGE

Books

  • Essential Systems Administration (O'Reilly), 3rd Edition, 2001, by Æleen Frisch
  • Principles of Network and System Administration (J. Wiley & Sons), 2000,2003(2ed), by Mark Burgess
  • The Practice of System and Network Administration (Addison-Wesley), 2001, by Thomas A. Limoncelli and Christine Hogan
  • The Practice of System and Network Administration (Addison-Wesley), 2nd Edition (July 5, 2007), by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Christine Hogan and Strata R. Chalup
  • Time Management for System Administrators (O'Reilly), 2005, by Thomas A. Limoncelli
  • UNIX System Administration Handbook (Prentice Hall PTR), 3rd Edition, 2000, by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, Trent R. Hein

Mark Burgess is a researcher and writer at Oslo University College in Norway, who is well known for work in computer science in the field of policy-based configuration management. ... Tom Limoncelli (born December 2, 1968) is a noted system administrator, author, speaker and bisexual activist. ... Tom Limoncelli (born December 2, 1968) is a noted system administrator, author, speaker and bisexual activist. ... Tom Limoncelli (born December 2, 1968) is a noted system administrator, author, speaker and bisexual activist. ...

Online Resources

Technology Unions and related links

Articles

  • Hot IT jobs: Systems administrator, ComputerWorld, August 26, 2007
Computerworld is an IT magazine that provides information to technology managers. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Sample System Administrator Manual - Bruce Gabrielson - Networks (6170 words)
It is intended as a generic overview of system administrator responsibilities, including those activities that directly relate to the security of the server under their control.
In the case of large systems, the supporting organization should be cognizant of the mechanics of the system, since in many instances the system administrator may not be able to accommodate the large number of inquiries from users.
System administrator follow-up after an incident should include an assessment of the factors that allowed the intrusion to occur, updating the security policy which addressed the incident, and additional education for users and administrations.
MSN Encarta - Romania (1012 words)
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