11
Condor
27d

I already wrote a rant about this yesterday, but since I'm a sysadmin trying to convert to dev.. I dunno, maybe it's not a bad idea to muddy the waters a bit and talk about why not to be a sysadmin.

Personally I think it's that the perceived barrier to entry is just too high, while it isn't. You don't need a huge Ceph cluster and massive servers when you're just starting out. Why overbuild an appliance like that if it's gonna start out at maybe 5 requests a minute?

Let's take an example - DNS servers! So there's been this guy on the bind-users mailing list asking how to set up a DNS server on 2 public servers, along with a website. Nothing special I guess - you can read the thread here: https://0x0.st/ZY-d. Aside from the question being quite confusing, there was advice to read RFC's, get a book, read the BIND ARM, etc etc. And the person to deny this? No one less than Stephane Bortzmeyer, one of the people who works for nic.fr (so he maintains the .fr TLD) and wrote some of those RFC's as part of the DNSOP working group in the IETF. As for valid reasons to set up a DNS server? Could just be to learn how the DNS works, or hell even for fun. As far as professional DNS servers go.. this (https://0x0.st/ZYo9) is the nugget that powers the K root server, one of the 13 root servers that power the root zone of the internet, aka the zone apex. 2 RJ45 connections, and a console connection. The reason why this is possible is the massive recursor networks that ISP's, Google DNS, Cloudflare DNS, Quad9, etc etc provide. Point is, you don't need huge infrastructure to run a server!

Or maybe your business needs email. How many thousands of emails per second are you gonna need to build your mail server against? How many millions will you need to store? If your business has 10 employees and all of those manage about 10k emails total.. well that's easy, 100k emails total. Per second? Hundreds of emails per second per employee? Haha, of course not. Maybe you'll see an email a minute at most. That is not to say that all email services are like this - it is true that ISP's who offer email to their customers, and especially providers like Microsoft and Google do need massive mail servers that can handle thousands of emails per second. But you are not Microsoft or Google. So yeah, focus on the parts of email that are actually hard.. and there is plenty.

Among sysadmins you have this distinction between "professional" sysadmins and homelabbers. I don't mind the distinction itself but I think both augment each other. If you've started out by jumping into a heap of legacy at an established company, you will have plenty of resources, immediately high complexity, and probably a clusterfuck right away. But you will have massive amounts of resources. If you start out with a homelab, you will have not many resources, small workloads, and something completely new for you to build and learn with. And when running a server like that, you'll probably find that the resources required are quite small, to provide you with your new services. My DHCP servers take 12MB memory each. My DNS servers hover around the 40MB mark. The mail server.. to be fair that one consumes around 150. But if you'd hear the people saying that you need huge servers.. omg you need at least a TB of RAM on your server and 72 cores, massive disks and Ceph!1!

No you don't. All that does is scaring people away and creating a toxic environment for everyone. Stop it.

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