System/Network Administrator - What do you do?

I started a new position as a system/network administrator for a small, local company. My prior job was in managed service so I always have stuff to keep me busy. Right now, there's a lot of projects to keep me busy but I've always wondered what do system/network administrator do on a daily basis?

It's not like you setup servers or configure router and switches everyday, so what do you do? Do you have a routine/checklist that you go through each day?


  • EssendonEssendon Posts: 4,548Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I break stuff and then fix it.

    I work on service tickets as they come in. Projects keep me busy too. We do have a checklist that an admin must tick off each day.
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  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    What do you have in your environment (Exchange, server 2003, 2008, SQL, etc)? How many servers? How many clients?

    I had Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quartarly, and Annual tasks. But any suggestions would depend on what you have on the network.
  • pham0329pham0329 Posts: 556Member
    All in all, we have 5 servers.

    Server 1 - AD, Exchange, IIS
    Server 2 - AD, Exchange, IIS (this is a backup for server 1)
    Server 3 - Terminal Server
    Server 4 - SQL
    Server 5 - File server, AD, Print Server

    We have multiple offices so I don't know exactly how many clients we have, but I would say about 20-30.
  • NightShade03NightShade03 Posts: 1,383Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I had Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quartarly, and Annual tasks.


    When I was a system admin for a smaller company (than the one I work for now) I pretty much had to create my own daily tasks and other check lists as there was nothing previously in place. I would also say that as a system admin projects such as upgrades to server, purchasing hardware, and keeping up with dying servers has kept me busy for about 7 months and I'm not even 50% through half my projects icon_cool.gif

    I'd also point out the obvious task of checking backups. Some get daily notification that they happen (such as myself)...others are on a weekly basis. Again that is specific to the individual and company policies.
  • forkvoidforkvoid Posts: 317Member
    I check backups. Sometimes I restore full backups to verify they're working. I do that about once a month. You can never be too careful with ensuring backups are working. Remember, server fails and your backups are bad, you're out of a job with a really bad explanation for why you were fired.

    I always have a list of projects to work on. Things are never perfect, so you'll never run out of work.
    The beginning of knowledge is understanding how little you actually know.
  • phoeneousphoeneous Go ping yourself... Posts: 2,333Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    What do you have in your environment (Exchange, server 2003, 2008, SQL, etc)? How many servers? How many clients?

    I had Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quartarly, and Annual tasks. But any suggestions would depend on what you have on the network.

    Care to share? Im always curious what other admins do.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Posts: 2,077Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Well, I am technically just help desk. But generally considered a junior admin at my place. I man a phone and when not on the phone I am pushing projects along.

    Here is today's closed tickets
    - Installed ESX and setup a 2008 DC on it
    - Upgraded an Cisco ASA IOS and added to EIGRP
    - Configured a workstation for a new hire
    - Setup a new phone in CME with headset
    - Updated our dial by number directory in CME aef
    - Patched our Windows 7 image
    - Swapped backup tapes
    - Reinstalled Office for a client and patched it
    - Ran a malware removal for a client
    - Responded to a UPS alert
    - Ran a data recovery on a failed laptop drive
    - Ordered a replacement HDD from HP that died
    - Took about.. 10 "how to" calls
    - Wrote up a request for money for a new rack
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Here's my typical average day, I'll break it into morning, afternoon, and after-work sections.


    I wake up and prepare for my day, generally optimistic through the entire process. I live a bit further from the office than I used to now so I get to enjoy either some music if I'm not in the study mood or some audio books or audio tracks ripped from CBT's I have. I'm still fairly optimistic about my upcoming day at this point, however - the optimism quickly fades when I pull in the driveway and see my building and it's almost as if both myself AND the building both have this "You AGAIN?!" expression.

    I check my e-mail and messages for my list of fires to start to putting out and get going. While I'm doing these sorts of basic helpdesk type requests (we're all jack of all trades with no discrete helpdesk staff), I can't help but keep thinking about all of the huge projects I have going on right now and how I'm never going to get them done at this rate. Typical tasks if I'm not handling helpdesk requests or working on a project basically include health checks and updates on our various Linux servers and a handful of Windows servers. I check up on and update periodically our ESXi servers. I try to get out as I can to remote offices and perform physical maintenance i.e. dusting them out and checking the fan's out now and then, because they are often in a small closet somewhere in the building in our branch offices as IT is always a total after thought for our company.


    We're only guaranteed to man the helpdesk phone's till 1PM and do work at remote branches if needed after then. Yea, probably should answer after 1PM but lately I don't if I've got projects pending - I save this time as my project time if at all possible. Unfortunately, there are often issues with servers, end user machines, and so forth... so I don't get a lot of time to spend there either. See, we run a fairly bad department overall - all kinda cobbled together due to lack of budget and lack of staff. As a result we have a lot of stuff failing on us all the time it seems. So we spend a LOT of time barely fixing things up to sorta run and a very small amount of time implementing well designed and configured solutions that are easier to manage and more reliable.


    I usually spend my evenings studying or working on projects for work since at this point I'm free of interruptions. That pretty much consumes my entire evening until I head to bed - yea, I have absolutely no life at all - no tv shows except one now and they very rarely, no games, etc. If I have my son, I spend all the time I have with him of course until he's down to sleep then it's back to study or projects for the most part.

    So that's my overall routine. I catch flack from friends and family for working on work projects so much after-hours but I look at it as a learning experience since some of the projects I'm working on are new to me or sometimes weaker areas for me. But really, if I wasn't doing that I'd just be wasting away in front of the TV or something anyways so I may as well learn something.
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