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

On Wed, May 30, 2007 at 11:12:20PM -0700, Lamont Granquist wrote:
> On Thu, 31 May 2007, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> >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.
> You can't knowledge transfer comptency in anything to someone who doesn't 
> start out competent.  And someone who is competent should be able to sit 
> down and figure out Xen, it isn't rocket science.  He doesn't need 
> consultants and he doesn't need RHCEs, he just needs smart competent 
> sysadmins...

There's "competent", and then there's "really good".  I think we probably
have different definitions of "competent".  To me, a competent sysadmin is
one who, overall, manages to produce more good than they cost in stuffups. 
(It's depressing that there's plenty of people with root who don't meet even
that minimum standard).  They typically aren't all that eager to go out and
learn new things and experiment with new technologies, or go outside their
"comfort zone" to troubleshoot and problem solve.

A really good sysadmin will "pick up" Xen pretty quickly (I did, and I
presume a lot of the people on this list did too -- we're early adopters,
and as such are typically the higher end of the competency gradient).  If
you need people in a hurry and you don't have the sort of contact network
that allows you to know who most of the "really good" sysadmins in an area
are and ask them if they want a job, then you're almost certainly not going
to end up with a team of really good sysadmins, you're going to end up with,
at best, competent sysadmins.  Why?  Because as I said earlier, the really
good sysadmins don't watch job boards.

If you've got the contacts to know who the good people are, then you
wouldn't be putting ads on job sites and asking on mailing lists.  As such,
I presume that the OP will almost certainly have to work with the
'competent' grade of sysadmin, who do really benefit from a good guide while
they're getting up to speed.

I really, really would love it if everyone in the industry was your grade of
"competent" (and my "really good") -- it'd save me untold frustration. 
Unfortunately, there's heaps of the lower-grade sysadmin out there, and in
any decent sized organisation you're going to have at least a smattering of
them.  If you're really unlucky, the competent ones are the good ones...

- Matt

"Need? What does -need- have to do with it? I'm talking about pure,
unadulterated lust here."
        -- James Campbell Andrew, in the Monastery, hopefully talking about
                computer hardware

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