How were your first days as a System Admin?

CodeBloxCodeBlox Member Posts: 1,363 ■■■■□□□□□□
Things are still going good for me roughly 2 months into this role. Today I finally got to get familiar with server hardware (HP Proliant DL380 G5s and Dell Poweredge R210 II's). I had to setup the rack kit in the rack and while I had a vague idea of how it's done (looks really simple), it was actually a good lesson.
One of the senior engineers came into the NOC while I was removing the rails for one of the servers to move it into another rack and he asked "what the hell are you doing down there?". He asked because he saw me with a screwdriver and pliers going to work on a tooless rack kit. I was unscrewing the points that connect the rails to the rack (It really looked like that was how it was supposed to be to remove it!!!). So I told him what I was doing and he said "let me see...". He took a look and said "you know, those aren't supposed to come out, there's a little latch on the back that releases the rail.". So he presses the latch and the rails come right off within seconds... I was like WTF and couldn't help but laugh as it was A LOT of work to get those 8 screws out of the rack. It took me like 30 minutes and I was sweating while I was finally almost done hahaha. The NOC is really cold but all the effort I was putting into removing them changed that.

That's a mistake I won't make anymore, HA!

Did any of you guys have any gotcha moments like that one when you were new to System Admin work?
Currently reading: Network Warrior, Unix Network Programming by Richard Stevens


  • NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The important thing is you put in the effort to get the job done without giving up and you learned from the mistake. Honestly, one of the biggest separators, especially early on is the willingness to put in 100% effort.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
  • W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I've been at my job as a Jr Admin for about two months and I agree, the data center is cold. We have Dell Power edge servers over here and there was one particular server (I believe it was an 850) That I couldn't figure out how to get the front cover off of. I assumed I needed to use a key and the key that seemed to go with it didn't unlock it. I didn't figure it out for ays but it turned out the server was already unlocked and I just needed to press down on a latch to open the case.
  • ChooseLifeChooseLife Member Posts: 941 ■■■■■■■□□□
    That kind of stuff is exactly the experience that cannot be replaced by reading books and getting certs...
    “You don’t become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process.” (c) xkcd #896

    - discounted vouchers for certs
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    Rack kits are the bane of my existence. If it isn't a dell server going into a dell rack or an hp server going into an HP rack it is a nightmare for me - and I have been doing this for years. Then you get networking equipment with "universal" rack mounts which just ever so slightly don't really fit into your dell or HP rack. Then the worst situation, Dell rack, HP server, universal mounting kit.

    Don't worry, becoming a sysadmin, in a network where you are actually allowed to learn (and make these little mistakes) is where you need to be. Learning to be a sysadmin is like drinking from the fire hydrant you have to learn so much to be an effective sysadmin. Sit down and talk to a grey-beard one day and listen to their stories from the bad old days, then your learning curve will seem not so bad icon_smile.gif.
  • SaundieSaundie Member Posts: 69 ■■□□□□□□□□
    ChooseLife wrote: »
    That kind of stuff is exactly the experience that cannot be replaced by reading books and getting certs...
    My thought exactly. How else do you learn to check to see if somebody has already opened the box a server shipped in, until you pick one up and have it slide out of the end that the other person opened? Or that a rack is slightly taller than your lift (or elevator, for the colonials) can accommodate, forcing you to have to bribe building management to help you hump it up the stairs? Certifications and books can't prepare you for such rich experiences!
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    There are still rails out there that will require a screwdriver so don't fret. Always look for fast locking rails first they could be in the case of Dell's the little blue tab in the middle of the front and back of the arm to the blue sliding levers in the middle of an HP rail. But always keep a screwdriver with you because you never know when you'll need it for something. The key is to take your time and ask someone if you're not sure. This is an awesome time if you enjoy learning because you'll definitely learn some hard knock stuff.
  • MishraMishra Member Posts: 2,468 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I learned such a ridiculous amount of stuff when I started out as a sysadmin. I miss learning that much in such a short time period.

    Being more experienced comes more politics because you are trying to push changes and decisions... Not as fun.
    My blog

    You may learn something!
  • TackleTackle Member Posts: 534
    Was replacing the batteries on a UPS that was being used in live production. No big deal.The problem was that when I disconnected the ends from the batteries, without thinking I figured I'd hold them apart with a screw driver so that the ends didn't touch. Who knew that a metal screw driver would be conductive. I thought for sure there were going to be servers down when she sparked. I now know that there is a plug that can be disconnected farther up the wire before unhooking the terminals, that prevents such a thing. Who would have thought that??
  • AkaricloudAkaricloud Member Posts: 938
    I can't think of any moments I had like that but there was definitely a lot of learning.

    None of our systems were documented at all and most of the IT staff had recently been replaces so every time I walked into our datacenter I found equipment running that nobody had the slightest clue as to what it was. To this day I'm still finding things that nobody knew existed or just assumed served some purpose.
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