Tools and Automation

Eser Kandogan, Paul P. Maglio, Eben M. Haber and John Bailey

in Taming Information Technology

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195374124
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979134 | DOI:

Series: Human Technology Interaction Series

Tools and Automation

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This chapter provides examples of the wide range of tools we saw sysadmins develop to improve their productivity and effectiveness, from ad hoc tools for on-the-fly data processing and analysis, to collections of small but useful tools that admins collect and pull out when needed, like Swiss Army knives, and databases and shared repositories of reusable tools that perform significant tasks. The chapter tells the story of Shawn, an operating system administrator responsible for keeping 120 Unix servers up-to-date with appropriate patches. He relied heavily on homegrown tools and methods for coordinating his team's activities and interacting with the client. The chapter also tells the story of Diana and Mark, storage administrators at a large government facility, who created numerous custom tools as part of managing a massive robotic data-tape repository. Finally, the chapter tells the story of Jimmy and his colleagues, database administrators working at a department store, who developed advanced automation to handle all their common tasks. The complexity and idiosyncratic nature of many IT systems mean that vendor-provided tools are often insufficient, and that administrators use their own creativity to fill the gaps.

Keywords: home-grown tools; patch management; automation; tool repositories; scripts

Chapter.  10331 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Engineering (General)

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