CHIMIT (2007,2008,2009) is a conference for researchers that study the habits and workflows of IT workers in an effort to find ways to make them more productive (they call this "human factors in IT"). Anyone trying to make my work easier is alright in my book.
At the most recent conference I moderated a panel of system administrators who had been in the audience watching the first day of presentations. It was our turn to "speak up" about what we had seen.
One of the useful things that came out of this panel was a list of "signs that a product was designed to be easy for system administrators to install and maintain."
Here is a short version of the list:
- as a command line interface
- has an API so it can be remotely administered
- has a "silent install" mode so it can be cleanly deployed
- has a config file that is ASCII so it can be stored in a revision control system; and the same file can be input INTO the system.
- has a clearly defined way to do backups and restores.
- has a clean way to monitor for up/down issues (know when there is an emergency) AND vital statistics that relate to scaling/latency (know how to debug slowness) AND historical monitoring (be able to predict far in advance when we need to buy more capacity)
What would you add to this list?