Tag Archives: learning

Future Tech I want to try out

In the near future, I may be allowed to have a little more quality time with my infrastructure, so when that happens, I want to be able to hit the ground running. To that end, I wanted to enumerate some of the technologies I want to be trying, since I know lots of you really like cool projects.

  1. Desktop/Laptop Management
  2. I want to work on centrally managing my users’ machines. I already mentioned rolling out machine upgrades in flights. That way all I can distribute all machines pre-configured, domain authenticated, really take advantage of some microsoft-y technologies like Group Policy object to install any additional software on the fly. I want to do network-mapped home directories, as well, which I can only do on those users who have machines which have been added to the domain. I’d also like a little more full-featured computer management solution. I’m really sort of leaning towards (at least) trying Admin Arsenal, who did a guest blog spot last week. I’ll have to do some more evaluating and try some test runs to see how it goes.

  3. DRBD
  4. DRBD just sounds like a cool technology. Essentially you create a clustered filesystem, even though both machines aren’t connected by anything other than a network. The scheme is called “shared nothing”, and from what I have read, the filesystem is synced on a block level over the network. I can definitely see how it would be valuable, but I have lots of questions about what happens during network outages and the like. Ideally I would be able to setup a lab and go at it.

  5. Puppet
  6. Puppet was the darling of the configuration management world for a long time. According to the webpage, it translates IT policy into configurations. It sounds like alchemy, but I’m willing to give it a shot, since so many people recommend it so highly. Speaking of people recommending something highly….

  7. ZFS
  8. Somewhere on the hierarchy of great things, this is reputedly somewhere between sliced bread and..well, pretty much whatever is better than ZFS. That’s a long list, no doubt, but reports are fuzzy on where bacon stands on the scale. In any event, if you’ve recently asked a Solaris user what filesystem is best for…pretty much anything, chances are good that they’ve recommended ZFS. If you’ve offered any resistance at all, you’ve probably heard echoes of “But….snapshots! Copy on write! 16 exibytes!”. I suspect that its allure would probably lessen if it were actually available on Linux instead of being implemented in FUSE, but that’s probably sour grapes. And in order to actually try it, I’m going to need to try…

  9. OpenSolaris
  10. All the fun of old school Unix without any of the crappy gnu software making us soft and weak. OpenSolaris became available when Sun released the source to Solaris, and a community sprung up around it. Learning (Open)Solaris is actually pretty handy since it runs some pretty large scale hardware and apparently there’s some really nice filesystem for it or something that everyone is talking about. I don’t know, but I’d like to give it a shot.

How about you? If you had the time, what would you want to spend some time learning?

Finally, I have a Safari subscription!

After months and months (and months) of asking, FINALLY, my work got me a bookshelf subscription to O’Reilly’s Safari Online. If you’re unacquainted with this site, click the previous link. It’s an online library of IT books from pretty much every major publisher. With my bookshelf subscription, I can “check out” 10 books a month and put them on my “bookshelf”, so that they’re available to me. With the even cooler “library” subscription, you just go read whatever you want. Your bookshelf doesn’t have limits, and it just goes.


A few months ago, I know exactly what I would have checked out first, however I now own the most excellent tome The Practice of Systems and Network Administration. Let me just say that if you don’t have it yet, I give it my highest recommendation.

So my question is, what books do you recommend that I get first?