Saturday, March 21, 2009

Agile SysAdmin

A while back we had a talk at LOSUG about Agile System Administration. While presenting a particular view, I think Gordon was also trying to get us systems administrators to think more about the theory underlying the work that we do.

Development has formal techniques - Agile, XP, Scrum, pair programming, test-first. And note that these are at a different layer from the actual programming skills required to write the software.

Does Systems Administration have the same sorts of practices? Does it need them? Do the concepts of Agile Development translate into Systems Administration?

Gordon has a blog discussing some of his thoughts on the subject. I encourage those of you interested in the subject to read and contribute. (The home page of the blog is just the welcome; you'll need to look at the Archives and Categories to find the actual blog entries.)

For what it's worth, I think somewhat differently, preferring flexible and lightweight (preferably zero-touch) minimalist administration over mandated standardization and heavyweight processes.

2 comments:

Tony Curtis said...

I've developed various principles that guide me through sysadmin. E.g. "orthogonal deployment" = keep user-facing and service-facing things away from each other, end-to-end monitoring, "positive action" = configure things to be enabled, not not-disabled.

Perhaps I should write a book...

Fernando Cassia said...

I always thought that system administrators were the ones whom sipped coffee while looking busy, and answered "no, there's no backup, your data is gone, you should have thought about it before deleting your folders" BOFH-style.

;-)

FC