[Beowulf] Re: MS Cray

Tim Cutts tjrc at sanger.ac.uk
Thu Sep 18 01:32:38 PDT 2008

On 17 Sep 2008, at 8:54 pm, Joe Landman wrote:

> We have seen 2 full time admins handle 4000+ Linux machines with  
> time to develop software to make their lives easier (Incyte), as  
> compared to seeing 10 windows admins struggle to keep 100 machines  
> each up to date.

To be fair -- and I used to work for Incyte, but as a programmer not a  
sysadmin -- the sysadmin group was *much* bigger than that.  Yes, Stu  
started off the Linux clustering as a stealth project between him and  
one other guy, whose name I'm ashamed I forget, but you have to  
remember that a lot of the routine sysadmin stuff like DNS,  
networking, authentication, account management, backups, and whatnot,  
were out of their hands, handled by the [really quite large] central  
system administration team.  By the time they were up to a couple of  
thousand nodes, there were definitely more of them running it.  For a  
start, IIRC there was no PXE provisioning, so it was one unfortunate  
sysadmin's job to go round with a crash cart and a boot floppy  
whenever a machine needed installing.

Incyte's systems team model was a central team which did all the core  
infrastructure stuff, and then individual teams around the company had  
dedicated embedded local sysadmins.

As always, my memory is subject to error, so if there are any ex-Palo- 
Alto-Incyte sysadmins on the list, feel free to correct me...


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