I’ve really enjoyed watching (and re-watching, a few times) this video SolarWinds made in honor of SysAdmin day (SysAdmin Day Extreme). What appeals to me – besides the goofy sound effects and scenarios (Seriously, guys? “Parkour Password Reset”?!?) is the underlying premise – that sysadmins are adrenaline junkies and our job is a constant series of RedBull-fueled obstacles we must overcome. Because even though that doesn’t match the reality in our cubicle, it is often the subtext we have running through our head.
In our heads, we’re Scotty (or Geordi) rerouting power. We’re Tony Stark upgrading that first kludged-together design into a work of art. We’re MacGuyver. And yeah, we’re also David Lightman in “War Games”, messing around with new tech and unwittingly getting ourselves completely over our head.
As IT Professionals, we know we’re a weird breed. We laugh at what Wes Borg said back in 2006, but we also know it is true: “…there is nothing that beats the adrenaline buzz of configuring some idiot’s ADSL modem even though he’s running Windows 3.1 on a 386 with 4 megs of RAM, man!”.
And then we go back to the mind-numbing drudgery of Windows patches and password resets.
I’ve often said that my job as a sysadmin is comprised of long stretches of soul-crushing frustration, punctuated by brief moments of heart-stopping panic, which are often followed by manic euphoria.
In those moments of euphoria we realize that we're a true superhero, that we have (as we were told on Saturday mornings) "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man."
That euphoria is what makes us think that 24 hour datacenter cutovers are a good idea; that carrying the on-call pager for a week is perfectly rational; that giving the CEO our home number so he can call us with some home computer problems is anything resembling a wise choice.
So, while most of us won't empty an entire k-cup into our face and call it "Caffeine Overclocking", I appreciate the way it illustrates a sysadmin's desire to go to extremes.
I also like that we've set up a specific page for SysAdminDay and that along with the video, we've posted links to all of our free (free as in beer, not just 30 day demo or trial) software, and some Greeting Cards with that special sysadmin in your life in mind.
Oh, and I've totally crawled through a rat’s nest of cables like that to plug something in.
What are some of your "extreme SysAdmin" stories?