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TLDR: In defense of Powershell - the rant:
I don’t get the Powershell hate.
You don’t hate a screwdriver for not being able to turn a nut, you just *don’t use a screwdriver to turn a nut*
Once you recognize what the tool is good for and you don’t try to use it like Bash, it’s wildly powerful, and satisfying to use in a way Cmd.exe never was.
Cygwin or a Linux Subsystem can only go so far on a Windows computer. You’re dealing with two fundamentally different OS architectures. It makes sense you’d need different tools.
And like it or not, Microsoft owns the non-tech-user desktop , corners the non-tech server business market, and Active Directory is THE tool for managing Windows desktops on a large scale - So Wanblows is not going away anytime soon.
Automation without some weird ass sysVol batch login script is finally possible. Anyone who knows .Net classes can leverage their methods from directly within Powershell. Remote management of headless Windows servers is now a reality. If you have an Office 365 Exchange server you can literally Powershell remote to it for management, just like your favorite cloud hosted Linux distribution.
No one said Windows is a better OS, but an object based shell on an object based OS *makes sense*. It’s useful for its environment. Let it be.11
TLDR: There’s truth in the motto “fake it till you make it”
Once upon a time in January 2018 I began work as a part time sysadmin intern for a small financial firm in the rural US. This company is family owned, and the family doesn’t understand or invest in the technology their business is built on. I’m hired on because of my minor background in Cisco networking and Mac repair/administration.
I was the only staff member with vendor certifications and any background in networking / systems administration / computer hardware. There is an overtaxed web developer doing sysadmin/desktop support work and hating it.
I quickly take that part of his job and become the “if it has electricity it’s his job to fix it” guy. I troubleshoot Exchange server and Active Directory problems, configure cloudhosted web servers and DNS records, change lightbulbs and reboot printers in the office.
After realizing that I’m not an intern but actually just a cheap sysadmin I began looking for work that pays appropriately and is full time. I also change my email signature to say “Company Name: Network Administrator”
A few weeks later the “HR” department (we have 30 employees, it’s more like “The accountant who checks hiring paperwork”) sends out an email saying that certain ‘key’ departments have no coverage at inappropriate times. I don’t connect the dots.
Two days later I receive a testy email from one of the owners telling me that she is unhappy with my lack of time spent in the office. That as the Network Administrator I have responsibilities, and I need to be available for her and others 8-5 when problems need troubleshooting. Her son is my “boss” who is rarely in the office and has almost no technical acumen. He neglected to inform her that I’m a part time employee.
I arrange a meeting in which I propose that I be hired on full time as the Network Administrator to alleviate their problems. They agree but wildly underpay me. I continue searching for work but now my resume says Network Administrator.
Two weeks ago I accepted a job offer for double my current salary at a local software development firm as a junior automation engineer. They said they hired me on with so little experience specifically because of my networking background, which their ops dept is weak in. I highlighted my 6 months experience as Network Administrator during my interviews.
My take away: Perception matters more than reality. If you start acting like something, people will treat you like that.2
TLDR: I need advice on reasonable salary expectations for sysadmin work in the rural United States.
I need some community advice. I’m the sysadmin at a small (35 employee) credit card processing company. I began as an intern and have now become their full time sysadmin/networking specialist. Since I was hired in January I have:
-migrated their 2007 Exchange server to Office 365
-Upgraded their ailing Windows server 2003 based architecture to 2012R2
-Licensed their unlicensed VMware ESXi servers (which they had already paid for license keys for!!!) and then upgraded them to 6.5 while preventing downtime on hosted VMs using tricky transfers and deployments (without vMotion!)
-Deployed a vCenter server to manage said ESXi servers easier
-Fixed a three month gap in their backups by implementing Veeam, and verifying its functionality
-Migrated a ‘no downtime’ fileserver to a new hypervisor host, implemented a ‘hot standby’ server as a backup kept up to date by the minute with DFS replication.
-Replaced failing hard drives in a RAID array underlying their one ‘business critical’ fileserver, which had no backups for 3 months at that time
-Reorganized Active Directory and Group Policy deployment from a nightmare spiderweb of OUs and duplicate policies
-Documented the entire old network and now the new one as I’ve been upgrading this
-Audited the developers AWS instances and removed redundant machines, optimized load balancing on front end Nginx servers, joined developer run Fedora workstations to the AD domain and implemented centralized syslog monitoring on them.
-Performed network scans and rewrote firewall exceptions to tighten security
There’s more, but you get the idea. I’ve now been tasked with taking point on an upcoming PCI audit which will be my first.
I’m being paid $16/hr US, with marginal health benefits. This is roughly $32,000 a year, before taxes.
I have two years previous work experience managing a third party Apple repair facility (SimplyMac) and every Apple certification for warranty repair and software troubleshooting. I have a two year degree in general sciences, with about 4 years of college credit (Two years of a physics education and two years of computer science after I switched focus) I’m actively pursuing a CCNA and MCSA server 2016 with exams paid for and scheduled.
I’m going into a salary negotiation in two months. What is a reasonable salary to request, from your perspective, for someone in my position?
Thanks in advance!6
We were all 16 once right? When I was 16, my school had a network of Windows 2000 machines. Since I was learning java at the time, I thought learning batch scripting would be fun.
One day I wrote a script that froze input from the mouse and displayed a pop up with a scary “Critical System Error: please correct before data deletion!!”. It also displayed a five minute countdown timer, after which the computer restarted.
I may or may not have replaced the internet explorer icon on the desktop with a link to my program on the entire student lab of computers. Chaos.12
Spend 1 hour learning to configure networking interfaces via command line on an ubuntu VM for home use.
Can't ping anything.
Double check /etc/network/interfaces, restart box, check loopback interface functions, check physical cabling.
Realize that VM is attached to a separate virtual switch.
Virtual switch is tagged for Vlan 2, connected router is a flat topology.
I’m curious about the age of tech workers, and what they do career wise as they approach 40, 50, and beyond.
I’m young and benefit from it right now, but the ageism seems strong in this industry and I won’t be young forever.
Does anyone here have a tech career in their 40s+ and if so what advice would you offer to a younger generation of technology professionals to maintain relevance and a satisfying career?16
TLDR: Small family owned finance business woes as the “you-do-everything-now” network/sysadmin intern
Friday my boss, who is currently traveling in Vegas (hmmm), sends me an email asking me to punch a hole in our firewall so he can access our locally hosted Jira server that we use for time logging/task management.
Because of our lack of proper documentation I have to refer to my half completed network map and rely on some acrobatic cable tracing to discover that we use a SonicWall physical firewall. I then realize asking around that I don’t have access to the management interface because no one knows the password.
Using some lucky guesses and documentation I discover on a file share from four years ago, I piece together the username and password to log in only to discover that the enterprise support subscription is two years expired. The pretty and useful interface that I’m expecting has been deactivated and instead of a nice overview of firewall access rules the only thing I can access is an arcane table of network rules using abbreviated notation and five year old custom made objects representing our internal network.
An hour and a half later I have a solid understanding of SonicWallOS, its firewall rules, and our particular configuration and I’m able to direct external traffic from the right port to our internal server running Jira. I even configure a HIDS on the Jira server and throw up an iptables firewall quickly since the machine is now connected to the outside world.
After seeing how many access rules our firewall has, as a precaution I decide to run a quick nmap scan to see what our network looks like to an attacker.
The output doesn’t stop scrolling for a minute. Final count we have 38 ports wide open with a GOLDMINE of information from every web, DNS, and public server flooding my terminal. Our local domain controller has ports directly connected to the Internet. Several un-updated Windows Server 2008 machines with confidential business information have IIS 7.0 running connected directly to the internet (versions with confirmed remote code execution vulnerabilities). I’ve got my work cut out for me.
It looks like someone’s idea of allowing remote access to the office at some point was “port forward everything” instead of setting up a VPN. I learn the owners close personal friend did all their IT until 4 years ago, when the professional documentation stops. He retired and they’ve only invested in low cost students (like me!) to fill the gap. Some kid who port forwarded his home router for League at some point was like “let’s do that with production servers!”
At this point my boss emails me to see what I’ve done. I spit him back a link to use our Jira server. He sends me a reply “You haven’t logged any work in Jira, what have you been doing?”
More sysadmin focused but y’all get this stuff and I need a rant.
TLDR: Got the wrong internship.
Start working as a sysadmin/dev intern/man-of-many-hats at a small finance company (I’m still in school). Day 1: “Oh new IT guy? Just grab a PC from an empty cubicle and here’s a flash drive with Fedora, go ahead and manually install your operating system. Oh shit also your desktop has 2g of ram, a core2 duo, and we scavenged your hard drive for another dev so just go find one in the server room. And also your monitor is broken so just take one from another cubicle.”
Am shown our server room and see that someone is storing random personal shit in there (golf clubs propped against the server racks with heads mixed into the cabling, etc.). Ask why the golf clubs etc. are mixed in with the cabling and server racks and am given the silent treatment. Learn later that my boss is the owners son, and he is storing his personal stuff in our server room.
Do desktop support for end users. Another manager asks for her employees to receive copies of office 2010 (they’re running 2003 an 2007). Ask boss about licensing plans in place and upgrade schedules, he says he’ll get back to me. I explain to other manager we are working on a licensing scheme and I will keep her informed.
Next day other manager tells me (*the intern*) that she spoke with a rich business friend whose company uses fake/cracked license keys and we should do the same to keep costs down. I nod and smile. IT manager tells me we have no upgrade schedule or licensing agreement. I suggest purchasing an Office 365 subscription. Boss says $150 a year per employee is too expensive (Company pulls good money, has ~25 employees, owner is just cheap) I suggest freeware alternatives. Other manager refuses to use anything other than office 2010 as that is what she is familiar with. Boss refuses to spend any money on license keys. Learn other manager is owners wife and mother of my boss. Stalemate. No upgrades happen.
Company is running an active directory Windows Server 2003 instance that needs upgrading. I suggest 2012R2. Boss says “sure”. I ask how he will purchase the license key and he tells me he won’t.
I suggest running an Ubuntu server with LDAP functionality instead with the understanding that this will add IT employee hours for maintenance. Bosses eyes glaze over at the mention of Linux. The upgrade is put off.
Start cleaning out server room of the personal junk, labeling server racks and cables, and creating a network map. Boss asks what I’m doing. I show him the organized side of the server room and he says “okay but don’t do any more”.
... *sigh* ...20