Agile System Administration

Thinking about improving System Administration...

The inspiration for this is of course the whole Agile movement in software development. Why are there oodles of books for developers that rise above technology-specific "how-tos", but so little for System Administrators? No, I don't think we can take the rules of Agile development and apply them wholesale to SysAdmin, pretending that running an environment is the same activity as programming an application. Maybe Agile will turn out to be a bad name for what we come up with. But let's be inspired by the principles they are following, and their attempts to sort the good theories from the bad.

ITIL and its friends apply a very broad brush, but try to avoid specific recommendations of "you must do this". Well, let's work out what this should be, and not be afraid to state that "we think that this is the best way". Then at the very least someone can come and argue that another way is better.

Apologies for the very plain and empty site so far - it was created on 17 December 2008, and I will be filling it out with something better than rhetorical questions in the next month. There will be changes... Making this look pretty, or moving the blog away from its off-the-shelf template are not priorities for now.

What I'm going to do is write in blog form here with various ideas for best practices and the tools that might support them, and then follow up with some implementations of those tools. Much of this already exists, in my extensive collection of disorganised scraps of paper, so it's really just a case of getting it into halfway-public shape.

For now, here are the slides and script for the "lightning talk" I'm giving at the London Solaris User Group (LOSUG) today 17/12/08.