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Jul
29
2011

Happy SysAdmin Day to all!


Honor your those who keep you plugged in!

Dear SysQueens and SysKings, we salute you. You who have to crawl under desks among who-knows-what to reach cables, you who tactfully bite back the snark every time someone forgets how to find the clock on their task bar, you brave and talented souls who keep us all connected. Thank you. Now stop watching the blinkenlights and relax, because today is your day.

Your day to win.

Our judges for this years SysAdmin Pageant were the wonderful The Mary Sue and Geekosystem who read every essay and threw darts at hand picked some of their favorite entries before narrowing them down to their winners.

Now without any further ado, The winners of the 2011 SysAdmin contest!

The title of SysQueen for 2011 goes to Lisa, From South Carolina!

Here is the winning and moving essay for Lisa, as submitted by Brandon D:

I started off as an intern with an amazon subsidiary in 2007. Really I just knew someone who knew someone and I wasn't all that cut out for the internship. I was supposed to help develop internal pages for employees to access. Instead I choked down my pride and admitted I was in too deep and couldn't fulfill this task.

Shortly thereafter Lisa gave me a Linux box and a book to read. She said I was going to work primarily in Linux and work on putting up a system to monitor our services in real time. I searched around a bit and double checked my decision with her.

After I had her approval I went at it head first, mind you I had NO Linux/Unix knowledge prior to this. I was able to eventually get it running on host and client. For some reason it didn't want to properly report for other clients though :(.

Lisa gave me side tasks along the way and genuinely helped me get my feet wet in IT. It was then I decided I should pursue this. My internship ended and she fought to keep me there, but it was no use. HR had a clear cut line and another intern set to start out.

Time passed and eventually I came back the the company as a full time tech. If it weren't for Lisa I may have never started this career path. She is more than willing to give me advice or a good reference. She's currently working out in Cali, quite a bit aways from where I met her in South Carolina.

The most impressive part is that she raised her children almost single handedly. So I'll tip my ha...fedora off to you Mrs. Lisa. Even if you guys don't pick her I feel good writing this about her. If you ever need a sysadmin by god she is a (in a good way) beast.


The title of SysKing for 2011 goes to David P. from Oregon!

Here is his winning essay, as submitted by Scott:

Last year. about this time the system administrator we had died suddenly and unexpectedly.

He had all the passwords, it was the ultimate hit by a bus situation. Luckily, he was training someone to take over some of his duties, mainly the technical support side.

That person, Dave P., stood up in our hour of need, even though he was still fresh out of college. He was immediately enlisted to control and manage some major systems he had never touched including our server virtualization system and source code control system. His first task, to get the previous sysadmin's login password.

It turns out before he died, the previous sysadmin had left his machine running but locked down. It was your typical Windows 7 system, using NTLM for password encryption, and it was suspected that the machine had active connections to several other important servers. He kept all his passwords in a text file, protected in an encrypted rar file, AES 128, so cracking that was (and still is) out of the question.

As it so happens, some of our internal sites (in particular our defect tracking website) use our login password on standard http. Realizing this, Dave looked at a secondary machine and found the previous sysadmin had saved his password.

Using wireshark, a hub and IE, he was able to get a login password. With access to the normal work machine he found VNC up and running. A quick look into the VNC password translation and he was able to recover enough passwords to bring the network back under the control of someone on site.

Now to give you an idea of the size of group, locally, there are about 30 people; however, since this is where the software is mainly based this is where the source code control repositories live.

Those repositories are replicated to 5 sites around the world, and affect hundreds of developers as well as the company as a whole. In the last year, the entire infrastructure has been internally hacked and brought under control with the total down time being about 1-2 days.

We're talking VPN routers, servers he didn't know existed, Microsoft driver signing and systems like Rational ClearCase. Learning about and dealing with all of these items is no easy feat when there's someone to help guide you, but with the devastating blow of losing your mentor, that takes something special.

And while dealing with all this, he's also been able to help us move to cloud based e-mail, get married, have his honeymoon, and keep a smile on his face every day. He's always willing to help out and if you buy him a pint, he might regal you with some of his stories.


Congratulations Lisa and David! We'll be in contact regarding all of the shiny loot you've won!

But wait, there's more! One of you has won a $500 shopping spree at ThinkGeek!

That lucky geek is:Jennifer S. from California! Congrats to you, too! We'll be in contact via email to get you that gift certificate.

So Happy SysAdmin day everyone! Treat your cableslingers with the respect and honor they deserve, especially today.

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Comments

meaningless icon! Congrats to Lisa and david! Hope you have a great time with that gift basket when you're not being superheroes :).
Bobberpi said this 1096 days ago.
meaningless icon! Ouf! Good job David! I don't think I'd of been able to handle that one!
DarthAmyus said this 1096 days ago.
meaningless icon! Congrats to Lisa and David!!! You deserve it!!!!! I won the gift certificate and want to say a HUGE thank you to Think Geek!!!!! BEST DAY EVER!
JenniferS said this 1096 days ago.
meaningless icon! dontcha just luv it! Congrats to all.who won and kudos to those who didn't...keep on trudgin! suezoo--
suezoo said this 1096 days ago.
meaningless icon! Yes. Sys Admins have the most thankless jobs, but we do indeed thank you. For without you, we'd be here just twiddling our thumbs. Keep up the great work. And know that you are appreciated!
SPEEDbit said this 1094 days ago.

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