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Hate is a strong word, but here’s how you irritate your sysadmin

IT World published something with the inflammatory title of “9 reasons your sysadmin hates you.”

I’ve seen most of these things, but I haven’t seen my personal pet peeve, which is something my management structure calls “shadow IT.”

I’ve lived with shadow IT for much of my career. I thought, naively, that it went away in 2005, but that was only when I escaped it, for a time. Shadow IT goes like this. Some guy gets his hands on a desktop PC, maybe even an Emachine, installs Windows Server on it, and puts it into production. There’s probably no UPS on it, no redundancy on the disks, and the quality isn’t up to par with typical server hardware either, in most cases.

The software may not be properly licensed either, which is a whole other barrel of fun.

It’s even better when it’s old desktop hardware no longer deemed suitable for use as a corporate workstation, so it goes onto a second career as a server, rather than as a home PC.

But my very favorite part is when those systems fail and they want the systems restored. “Why weren’t you backing that up?” they ask.

Because backup systems back up what they know about, that’s why.

Now, granted, PCs got into corporations through shadow IT–through accountants buying IBM PCs so they could run Lotus 1-2-3 on them because it facilitated their number crunching a lot better than the tools they had available on the corporate mainframe or minicomputer. But there’s a definite difference between being cutting edge and deliberately circumventing industry best practices.

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