Feeds

It's now or never for old sysadmins to learn new tricks

Watch out for your jobs, says Trevor Pott

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Follow the rocky road

Instead of trying to find some niche in IT that hasn't yet been commoditised and hiding out there until they come for that job too, I have decided to embrace the dark side.

Instead of running one shop I run 20. I use software and technologies that allow me to automate the businesses and charge a small retainer to monitor the systems and be there in case of emergency.

There is a lot of risk in becoming a managed service provider. It means going into business for yourself and that is always a rough road. Yet if you have a desire to do more than hold your financial ground this may be the only realistic path for many admins.

When one SME can no longer be expected to support your salary in a software-defined, cloud as-a-service world, you have to look to multiple companies to fill that function.

If you aren't already doing DevOps, then you are probably dead and you just don't know it yet

The closest thing to a true evolutionary path for sysadmins is the transition to DevOps. If your company qualifies as commercial midmarket and you aren't already doing DevOps, then you are probably dead and you just don't know it yet.

I work with companies with as few as 15 staff that have custom, in-house software. Many others need to beat software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions into some semblance of utility, often involving building custom parsers (which usually evolve into middleware stacks) that pull information out of one SaaS app and insert it into another.

Even as I see these smaller companies pulling away from managing their own in-house infrastructure, I see their demand increase for software tools that bind various bits of infrastructure together into a cohesive whole.

It is not quite development, it is not quite operations, but it is in demand.

Find the exit

Positioned at the heart of the DevOps movement, Puppet has done a lot of research on the subject. The company has done surveys for years and certainly talked to people from all over the industry.

At first blush I found some results hard to swallow, but it is hard to poke holes in its methodology. After nearly an hour on the phone with their survey team the best I managed was to convince them to add a couple questions for next year.

The future of IT is pretty clear: we won't be administering systems as we do today. Configurations will be dynamic, states imposed based on responses rather than pre-determined conditions.

We are still a long way from that for most places – but the world changes fast. It takes years to reskill an individual and in those years our entire industry will have reinvented itself at least once.

Traditional administration jobs will become fewer and farther between. Picking an exit path is looking more important with each passing month.

Which path will you choose? Why? What options have I missed? The comments section is below; you know what to do. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.