UBLIS 503 System Administration in a Networked Environment

Part 00      Week 1      Week 2      Week 3      Week 4      Week 5      Week 6      Week 7

Week 8      Week 9      Week 10      Week 11      Week 12      Week 13      Week 14      Week 15      Final Exam

Part 00
Part 00
LIS 503 SysAdmin DS Syllabus
LIS 503 DS Syllabus Extension. Instructor capsule bio. Teaching statement. The course as a learning community Strictly optional

Textbook Reading Table of Contents
Learning Blog Instructions
Soergel GSE Faculty Spotlight
Soergel CV - short
Learning Objectives

After taking this course, you will (or should):

  1. Be able to assess and understand the work and functions in an enterprise that are or could (should) be supported by computers.
  2. Understand the components of computer infrastructure, including computer knowledge users possess.
  3. Be able to learn the specifics of external services, hardware, and software and to assess these components as to how well they serve enterprise needs, sufficiently for Objective 4.
  4. Be able to participate in configuring, planning for, implementing, assessing, and maintaining the computer infrastructure for an enterprise.
  5. Be able to manage the tasks of the systems administration team, balancing daily troubleshooting with medium- and long-term development of improvements.
  6. Have the foundation on which to build a career in systems administration should you wish to do so.
LIS 503 SysAdmin E-mail Archive
Week 1 - September 2-8, 2015
Week 1 Readings


Week 2 - September 9-15, 2015
Week 2 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2:

TPOSANA ed. 3 pdf:
     Part 2 Workstation Fleet Management, p. 15 - 137
Questions/Exercises About configuring productivity software optimally for your users:

1. How can you create a Setup customization file (.msp file) to configure user settings to customize the user's environment in Office 2013

2. How can this be customized for individual users and still keep workstations fungible (mutually interchangeable)

3. What preference settings would you use to adapt to your users and the kind of documents they produce. Do you know all the
      preferences for Word and where each can be set?

4. Do you know how to create macros in Word and assign them to key strokes to make users' work easier?
       For example, on my computer I defined the following key strokes for Word:
         Alt-PgDn     Cursor to top of next page
         Alt-T           When in a table, set top and bottom row margins to .04" (the Word default of 0 makes for squished tables)
         Alt-R           Inserts row in a table
         Ctrl-Alt-R    Deletes row in a table

5. Get some information on KU tools for office and determine how useful these add-ins would be.

6. Another background utility you might look into is AutoHotKey

7. Give users the ability to make anything they can print into a pdf.
Adobe Acrobat Professional installs a "printer" Adobe pdf. Just do Ctrl-P, select Adobe pdf from the printer list, click on Print, and voila, you will be asked for a name for your new pdf file, and there you have it. Very handy for Web pages you want to preserve. But Adobe Acrobat Professional is expensive. Find tools, preferably free or inexpensive ones, that offer similar functionality. You could then make a suitable tool part of a standard workstation configurations



Week 3 - September 16-22, 2015
Week 3 Readings TPOSANA ed. 3 pdf, Chapters:
       9 Server Hardware Strategies, p. 139 - 166
     10 Server Hardware Features, p. 167 - 186
     11 Server Hardware Specifications, p. 187 - 202
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
1. Context: A midsize company (500 employees) whose business depends heavily on Web and phone sales of both physical and electronic products, prompt customer service, and mining past customer data for insights on general and individually targeted marketing.
The present server infrastructure is not sufficient. You must present to top management options to deal with the situation in three broad classes: Do nothing, upgrade, replace. Question: Give the criteria by which these options should be evaluated.

2. You check out where and how a company's server machines are kept. How can you tell without much technical knowledge whether the system administrator (or the system administration team) is well organized?
Assignments none
Week 4 - September 23-29, 2015
Week 4 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2, Part2. Foundation Elements Chapters:
     5 Services, p. 95 - 28
     6 Data Centers, p. 129 - 186 (Just skim (read this when you actually need to know)
     7 Networks, p. , p. 187 - 221

You may want to find some other readings on networks on the Web, for example,
Questions/Exercises Exercise
At some point, no later than Weeks 7/8, read some documentation for Slack, then configure Slack to use some add-on/plug-in apps such as Dropbox and what else you might find useful. The earlier you do this, the earlier you will reap the benefits.

Questions to ponder
1. Draw a diagram of service dependencies

2. From both chapters, can you derive some principles that apply to other domains (in other areas of life)? That is called cross-domain knowledge transfer (an important concept in education).

3. Assume that you are (1) part of a team planning for the installation of a new network in a multi-building company campus or (2) part of a team reviewing an existing network in a multi-building campus to determine any upgrades or other changes that should be instituted. Even if you are not an expert in network technologies and physically installing cables, based on textbook Chapter 7, what could you contribute to the conversation?
Assignments none
Week 5 - September 30 - October 6, 2015
Week 5 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2, Part2. Foundation Elements, continued Chapters:
       8 Namespaces, p. 223 - 240
       9 Documentation, p. 241 - 260
     10 Disaster Recovery and Data Integrity, p. 261 - 270

Supplemental reading
Soergel. Supplemental comments on file naming conventions. 2015-09-29
Applied Knowledge Group. Best practices for document naming conventions. 2014-04-28. Very good advice
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
1. Where else are the ideas you learned about this week applicable?

2. Assume you are part of a large SA team. Other members are more technically versed than you are. What functions could you perform
for the team, particularly considering what you have learned in the information studies program?

3. What are the audiences for documentation? How should documentation for different audiences differ?

4. What technologies for disaster prevention and recovery have become available since the textbook was written?
Assignments none
Week 6 - October 7-13, 2015
Week 6 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2, Part2. Foundation Elements, continued Chapters:
     11 Security Policy, p. 271 - 322
     12 Ethics, p. , p. 323 - 342
     13 Helpdesks, p. 343 - 361
     14 Customer Care, p. 363 - 387
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
1. You learned earlier that workstations should be standardized and that initial installation and update of software should be automated. How does that relate to security?

2. How can an organization prevent classified documents being sent as email attachments?

3. Assume your organization requires that email messages be encrypted and you are charged with arranging for that. How do you proceed?

4. You are head of information security for a medium-large company. You have a team of five people to work on security issues. What knowledge and skills need to be represented on your team?

5. In a university, what data / information needs most protection. What about a hospital?

6. Compare the System Administrator 's Code of Ethics with the ALA Code of Ethics (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics).

7. What should a help desk for an e-commerce website look like? What knowledge and skills should help desk personnel possess?

8. How might help desk operations endanger security?

9. Compare the IT customer request process (p. 365) with the reference interview. What are parallels, what are differences? What can we learn from one for the other?

10. How can help desk logs and other problem reports be used to improve the total information processing system in the organization (remember that this includes the users and their knowledge and skills)?

11. Reflect on the balance between personal and automated support.

12. How can help desk logs be used to create a knowledge base that supports help desk staff and that may enable more automation in helping users? What about the same question for a reference desk?
Assignments none
Week 7 - October 14-20, 2015
Week 7 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2, Part 3. Change Processes Chapters:
     15 Debugging, p. 391 - 403
     16 Fixing Things Once, p. 405 - 414
     17 Change Management, p. 415 - 433
     18 Server Upgrades, p. 435 - 456
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
1. Reflect on the relationship between debugging and fixing problems and helpdesk tracking software.

2. How would you go about scheduling major upgrades to minimize disruption in the organization?

3. What is the take-home message of Chapter 18 Server upgrades?

4. These chapters fall under the category "boring but important". You would not want to memorize all the detail. How could this material be made available so that a system administrator faced with one of these tasks could get step-by-step guidance and at the same time without much effort keep a record of exactly what she did?
Assignments none
Week 8 - October 21-27, 2015
Week 8 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2, Part 3. Change Processes, continued Chapters:
     19 Service Conversions, p. 457 - 471
     20 Maintenance Windows, p. 473 - 499
     21 Centralization and Decentralization, p. 501 - 520

Additional reading
     Reading 1 IT-Service Support Management (ITSSM) Tools
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
1. On introducing new services, the book says (p. 459) "without changing the workflow or [the] user interface". Does this apply in all situations? Why would the workflow and/or the user interface change? What would you do to prepare users?

2. Chapter 20 Maintenance Windows is really about how to manage changes. What is the importance of service dependencies in a maintenance/upgrade/changeover process?

3. How does security figure into decisions on centralization vs. decentralization?

4. How do the ideas presented in Chapter 21 Centralization and Decentralization apply to the system of library cataloging in the US?
Assignments none
Week 9 - October 28 - November3, 2015
Week 9 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2, Part 4. Providing Services chapters:
     22 Service Monitoring, p. 523 - 542
     23 Email Service, p. 543 - 564
     24 Print Service, p. 565 - 581
     25 Data Storage, p. 583 - 617

There are many references to ed.2, Chapter 5 Services. You may want to refresh your memory of that chapter.
Questions/Exercises General questions to ponder. Weeks 9 and 10
Make notes on these questions as you read the chapters, put your thoughts into a post after week 10.

Think about services that are more widely used today than they were in 2006.

Substitution of services. Choices system administrator make in designing the best service mix for users and choices users make. Economists talk about substitution of goods (so do cooks); for example,
      - margarine is a substitute of butter,
      - cream of wheat, couscous, rice, and quinoa can substitute for each other,
      - cinema may substitute for live theater.
Think about similar substitutions in IT services.
For more on the concept of substitution look, for example, at
In economics, substitution is viewed from the point of view of the consumer. As System Administrators we might look at substitution from the point of view of offering different services that fulfill the same final function. But if we offer the user choices, predicting demand for each service depends in part on predicting how much each of the choices offered is used.
To get you started with one example: You could share a file by emailing it to someone (or a whole list) or by sharing it on Dropbox or a similar service. (BTW, which is more convenient of the recipients depends on how their email client handles attachments and how the information on the file shared in Dropbox is communicated - what steps does the recipient need to take to get the file; does the recipient have to be connected to the Internet to get the file?) Now it is your turn to think of more such substitutions. Think how an ultimate purpose can be achieved.

Questions to ponder. Services covered in Week 9

When should a monitoring system alert end users? Which ones?

When should a monitoring system trigger some action automatically? What kind of actions?

How do real-time monitoring and historical monitoring relate?

How would you go about predicting demand for email service for a given organization or company? What data should you consider? Take a broad view. How would you get these data?

Note the dependency of email on more basic services mentioned on p. 543, 3. paragraph. How can you use these dependencies for predicting the demand for the more basic services that are required for dependable and sufficiently fast email service?

This question is a special case of substitution. From that perspective, print is simply a form of display. List the reasons why people print. Then think about what improvements in other forms of display (screens and the devices that put information on screens) could entice users to print less.

Storage. When I write a paper, I save many versions without ever going back to delete the old ones because it is too much trouble. When my hard "drive" (a solid state "drive") runs out of space, I get a bigger one. Is there a better way to do deal with this storage problem?
Assignments none
Week 10 - November 4-10, 2015
Week 10 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2, Part 4. Providing Services, continued Chapters:
     26 Backup and Restore, p. 619 - 652
          Note: There is now technology to back up continuously to machines in big data centers maintained by companies like Amazon -           backup as service purchased from an external vendor
     27 Remote Access Service, p. 653 - 666
          Note: Technology has moved a lot since 2007
     28 Software Depot Service, p. 667 - 687
     29 Web Services, p. 689 - 723

Additional things to look at for Chapter 26 Backup and Restore:
     Podcast - Tape backup vs disk backup
On "cloud" backup for personal computers or small businesses:
But beware of reviews. Some do not tell you the date, and some provide way outdated information.
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
1. How do backup, file sync, and collaboration relate?

2. Find out about software for remote access to a computer (including just a single machine in someone's home for the purpose of maintenance)

3. Looking at software depot as a library, discuss how users could be assisted in finding suitable software and in recommending software to add to the depot

4. As an interesting aside: Try to use Google to find software for maintaining a software depot.

5. Today, there are many websites that offer functionality such as accounting or maintaining a bibliography or project management or data analysis. So instead of installing and maintaining software on its own computer(s), a company could use software that runs on external computers and is accessed through the Web.

     5.1 What does this mean for the administration of the Web server?

     5.2 Find a website that offers project management (with functionality such as MS project, see
           https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management_software) and briefly describe its functionality. Clearly, users would access            in-house project management software through their computes (online), just as they would a project management website. Discuss            the pros and cons of in-house software vs a Web-based solution.
Stop! Not current beyond this point
Week 11 - November 11-17, 2015
Week 11 Readings Configuring SharePoint
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
Week 12 - November 18-24, 2015
Week 12 Readings Configuring SharePoint
Questions/Exercises Questions to ponder
Week 13 - November 25 - December 2, 2015, No class
Week 13 Readings Review. Complete term paper
Week 14 - December 2-8, 2015
Week 14 Readings Review. Complete term paper
Week 15 - December 9-15, 2015
Week 15 Readings TPOSANA ed. 2 Chapters:
Final Exam - December 16, 2015
Final Exam Readings TPOSANA ed. 2 Chapters: