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Sysadmin blog It's that time of year again: Sysadmin Day is upon us! July 26, 2013 is the international day of recognition for all those who toil in datacenter obscurity, fighting off cyber-ninjas so that videos of my cats flow unhindered through the tubes.

As is typical, contests are popping up like weeds to attract the valuable eyeballs of systems administrators. Spiceworks is doing yeoman's work with its contest. Thwack/Solar Winds is also back at it again this year.

Cyber-Ark has a contest going as does Manage Engine, OpenDNS and the Systems Administrator's Guild of Australia.

There are probably more out there if you look hard enough; these are the ones I've found so far. It's nice to see that "our day" is getting some real attention.

Free stuff for you!

I've always wished that I could do something special for my fellow systems administrators on sysadmin day, but outside of a few emails and the odd cake for a buddy I didn't really have the resources. This year, I have my own consulting company and enough contacts to scare up a reasonable number of neat stuff to give away.

Even better, I managed to turn the table on the traditional "you give us your eyeballs we can market at you and we'll give you a half a shot a free stuff" approach to vendor engagement with these kinds of events.

I've coaxed our industry experts on flash usage in server/enterprise/datacenter scenarios into sitting down and answering all your most brutal questions in a live webinar to be run on Sysadmin Day (July 26th, 2013) at 1:30pm Mountain Daylight Time (GMT-6).

I have people from Tintri (who do flash in the SAN), Nutanix (who have a vBlock approach that has both flash and spinning rust in each node, with no SAN) and Proximal Data (who use flash in the node as a cache to accelerate slow SANs). Keeping them honest is someone from CloudPhysics who has had occasion recently to learn way more than they ever wanted to about the PhD-level nitty gritty of flash and it's applicability in a virtualized environment.

Also chipping some swag into the pile – but not on the webinar panel – are Trainsignal (the only IT training company I actually like), Puppet, and Spiceworks.

The best questions will win the swag. We'll have some sysadmins judging the questions looking for humour, broad applicability and uniqueness.

The more your questions make the panelists squirm, the higher we'll rank your question. If you come up with use cases for flash in the enterprise that aren't being addressed by the panelists, ask questions about those too! The more original the idea and the broader the number of people it would apply to the higher we'll score you.

We've got some of the most capable brains in the industry on tap. You can win cool stuff for stumping them. I hope you'll join us!

A few details

First off, this isn't a contest run by The Register. This is run by my own company, eGeek.

The contest is only open to individuals of legal age from Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Germany, the US and the UK. (Full contest rules here.) I'm sorry to all those readers I couldn't cover; legalese isn't my strong suit and I went cross-eyed even getting the rules for these jurisdictions parsed.

The prizes I've managed to rustle up are as follows:

5x Proximal Data software licenses
5x Cloudphysics software licenses
5x passes to PuppetConf 2013
1x year's worth of training from Trainsignal
1x swag bag from Trainsignal
2x swag bags from Spiceworks

None of the personal details used during registration will be retained after we've managed to get the swag out to the winners. I won't be providing the list of information to the vendors in the panel nor will I spam with you annoying marketing spam.

You can sign up for the webinar here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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