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Friday, March 14, 2014

A Day in the Life.....

It's been a really crappy week. I had the flu and was out sick Monday through Thursday, and now I have to leave early on Friday to tend to the sick kids. :(

So, I didn't learn much this week, and REALLY haven't felt like writing. I guess I should be upfront and let everyone know: If you're checking this blog for daily posts you're going to be disappointed. I don't learn new things that are worth writing about every day, and some days I just don't have the time!

So today I'm going to bore you with my daily work routine. <grin>

The first thing I do before I sit down is walk through the server room and check for red or amber LEDs where there shouldn't be.

I get into my office and boot up my laptop, and see this.

The two screens on the top are running of a custom desktop I built to run VMware Workstation for testing. I've appropriated some additional hardware that I've found lying around, and now it has 3 SSD drives, 32GB of RAM, and a 3TB spindle drive. I can run quite a few things at once, which comes in handy when you need to spin up a domain controller, a SQL backend, a Sharepoint server, and a mail server all at once. Most of the time, though, it just sits there and is my heads-up display.

On the left side of the left monitor, I have Veeam ONE running, and next to that is Dell's SANHQ, which shows my Equallogic SAN activity. On the right side is a custom dashboard I built in PRTG. That thick green circle is my "donut". My co-workers joke about it all the time: "Don't make his donut turn red!" Those little graphs on the right side show me file system usage on my file servers. In the tables at the bottom I'm looking at top 10 highest bandwidth, least available diskspace, and slowest pings.

In just a minute, I can tell whether I'm having network, application, or storage issues, and I can see if someone dumped a bunch of stuff on my file server that probably shouldn't be there.

COFFEE!!!!! One cream, 3 sugars. Spare me your health lecture, or how non-manly my coffee is, because I have a ton of emails to read.

Usually, there's nothing in my inbox. I use the 0-inbox policy. Every email I get goes into a ticket or is cleared out when the conversation is finished. Right now, I have 3 emails because I'm conversing with some vendors and am awaiting replies.

I open the IT Reporting mailbox to about 70 emails. Most of these are simply reporting backup successes. Quite a few are from various Powershell scripts that run to report things like whether I have running VMware snapshots, or if there are any unassigned computers in WSUS, and I also get a DCDIAG report. I try to create scripts so that I get good info in the email's subject. Being able to glance at an email and tell whether I need to read further saves a lot of time.

Once I've cleaned out the inbox, I move on to the ticketing system. We use Spiceworks, and I feel like I have a pretty good system worked out to keep myself organized. Organization is key for sysadmins; it's too easy to get overwhelmed without a good system. I keep my tickets separated by priority: High for things that are very important, or that I plan on working on today. Medium for stuff to get to when the high priority stuff is done. Low for things that have a due date that is not today, or that I am waiting on someone else before I can proceed.

Due date, by the way, doesn't necessarily mean when the project has to be completed (of course, it can), but instead means that I need to do something with it on that day. For example, I had a project called "Roll out Syslog Server". The due date was only there because I needed to check on the size consumed by the logs after a week. If I had something else to do thereafter I would set a new due date or clear the due date and set the priority to medium (when I get to it), depending on what was needed.

I now clear out tickets for all of the things I just did above. I have a script that creates Spiceworks tickets for the tasks that I just went through (Checking backups, looking at my donut, yada yada yada). So right off the bat, I have 10 tickets done. YAY!

And now, I get to work on things and hopefully learn some stuff!


  1. Hey man! Awesome blog you set up in here! Can I know what you use for your "thick green donut" system? I want a similar CP in my workplace

  2. That's PRTG. You can learn more about it at Thanks for the compliment!

  3. Question on your paragraph about the script that creates Spiceworks tickets. How does that work? Does your script send emails to spiceworks install for ticket creation, or does it actually create the tickets?