No one is talking about Sysadmins and every one is hiring DevOps Engineer, DevOps Architect, Cloud Engineer,Cloud Architect, Site Reliability Engineers and Recruiters assuming Sysadmins as of inferior quality engineers those who can’t automate in comparison to these latest fancy dressed and tagged people but being an Sysadmin, i would like to remind them that they still exist and still backbone of IT infrastructure and they still play a big role in keeping your infrastructure up to date and still has their arsenal to fight any IT problem or disaster where your fancy boys will bow down.
NOTE: My reference to Sysadmins includes all people those who are involved in network, servers, storage administration.
Is it Devops a replacement of Sysadmins?
I don’t think so, but i agree they are another layer over Sysadmin profile that is more focused on Dev collaboration world and more focused on CI/CD part where sysadmins used to hesitate to enter due to diversion in their day to day core system administration work that itself is much critical in comparison to your code deployment.
So, if you are hiring only DevOps skill set people with no sysadmin qualities and then you assume that DevOps will perform your Sysadmin duty then you are bound to fail on critical IT infrastructure planning and my point is indicating toward critical IT infrastructure work that sysadmins do like network subnet and designing, storage replication and integration, VPN integration, Hyper converged device integration and installation,Virtual or Container Platform administration,Racking and Stacking and hell lot of other bare bone of IT infrastructure that require much deep understanding of these areas and require lot of experience and fundamental understanding that require solid experience and hands on.People hiring only with Jenkins, Git, Python, Go, Ansible, Puppet,Chef, AWS, Azure is not going to help you on core inner technologies and are just another layer that helps you to automate most of the stuff over above core IT infra layer.
For an example, you might say you can easily create VPC using wizard on AWS and get public or private subnet and can work smoothly but who will design CIDR range when you have your physical office presence on multiple location and then you have to allocate proper CIDR range, Create correct VPN profiles, recovery planning in case of corruption in your devices, Traffic blocking in case of DDoS Attacks,Hardware configuration in case you are in hybrid model etc. Terraform, Ansible, Python, Jenkins can’t help you in core areas but yes these are the supporting tools those can be used to help sysadmins.
NTP Servers, Package Managers, Recovery mechanisms, AD Setup, DNS Setup, FTP Servers, NFS Servers, SELinux, RAC servers, Blade servers, Interconnects are not outdated technologies and still present around you with same functionality and are not replaced by AI or ML and still continue to live in IT infra environment and Sysadmins are the guys who are the leaders of this domain and will continue to dominate this domain.
Most of the Architects those who are planning and implementing at scale with current latest technologies and when you talk to them then you will find their amazing sysadmin experience behind their success.
So to summarize, i am not negating benefits of DevOps, SRE people but would like to convey sysadmins or sysadmin experience and its importance to your core IT infrastructure and the sysadmin qualities that you should look for while hiring DevOps, Cloud, SRE people in Infrastructure domain and then it will be a win win situation for companies and sysadmins people on critical important resource constraints.