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[Xen-users] Re: Sysadmin guys that know XEN?

On Wed, May 30, 2007 at 10:07:53PM -0400, Nathan Allen Stratton wrote:
> Anyone know any good ways to find systems guys that know XEN? We started
> looking around Houston, TX and then expanded to anyone willing to relocate
> on all the major job sites.

There's your problem -- the good people very rarely trawl job sites, because
they get their work through word of mouth and "head hunting".  Joel
Spolsky's article on "Finding Great Developers"
(http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/FindingGreatDevelopers.html) is just
as true for sysadmins -- just s/developer/sysadmin/ig and keep reading.  The
place I work for has, to the best of my knowledge, never advertised a
technical job.  They've never had to build a team in a hurry, though, which
sounds like what you're trying to do.  Unfortunately, it takes time to build
a good team, while the standard answer to "we need it now" is "hire a

> It has been very hard to find anyone with clue. Yes, a few people put xen,
> clustering, LVM on their resume, but you ask them a few basic questions
> and they admit that they click xen once on a suse install or something.
> Is it worth continuing to look, or is our best bet to train guys in house?

At the moment, finding a number of pre-existing people in any one geographic
area who have commercial experience in maintaining Xen clusters is going to
be *hard* -- and you've already said you're not interested in "checked the
box once" people (of which there is always a plethora, and they're almost
always universally terrible).  As such, you're going to have to grow the
people yourself.

Since you sound like you're on a time budget, I would recommend finding good
generalists, then contracting to one of the big houses who know Xen to setup
your infrastructure *and* train your team *while* they're doing the setup. 
You'll need to make it clear that you're not interested in the contractor
doing the setup then running some sterile training course for your new
hires, you want "pair systems admin" -- one of their guys sitting next to
and talking to one of your guys while they both do the work together:
complete knowledge transfer.  I don't actually know if any of the big houses
will do that.  My employer does that for people, but we're not exactly in
your locality.

- Matt

Part[s] of .us are the global benchmark for pumpkin being a verb.
                -- Anthony de Boer

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