What Do You Do for a Living - Off topic

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Long time nixers
@venam: Your field sounds super interesting. I can imagine that it’s pretty dull at times (like sifting through the docs of weird standards and protocols), but still. I hardly know anything about any of the topics you mentioned.

I work as a sysadmin in a medium-ish company. I’m an “internal” admin, meaning my team doesn’t deal with customers’ systems directly, but we’re responsible for keeping our own systems (and our infrastructure in general) up and running.

A colleague started the config management system BundleWrap some time ago – around the same time that Ansible started, but Ansible wasn’t usable back then, so we made our own thing. If Ansible would have been more mature back then, we might have ended up using that instead. We like to not write our own software, but it happens alarmingly often that we can’t find a standard solution to our problems. For example, I developed our backup system on top of rsync + ZFS, because none of the alternatives were satisfying.

Anyway, a lot of my work involves writing stuff for BundleWrap. You know, you don’t write an nginx.conf manually anymore, but you have templates for it and abstract representations of your systems. We have one big Git repo where all systems are managed – internal systems and customer systems. So in the end, what I do often affects customer systems after all.

Over time, we have automated a lot of the stuff we do. For example, we use several cloud providers where our VMs run and we have a tiny amount of servers on premise, all of which form a big internal network, all connected over IPsec (or Wireguard, yay!) with BGP for dynamic routing. Pretty much none of that is configured manually. We basically add a new “location” (think “a new office” or “a new cloud provider”), assign it a subnet, and then the config management system takes care of creating the IPsec tunnels, bird configs, monitoring, backups, and so on. All that basically by extending a Python dict (and bootstrapping the actual VMs where this all runs on).

I’m pretty happy that – so far – (almost) all we do is Linux only. My work laptop runs pretty much the same Linux environment that I run at home, including my own window manager, which is pretty cool, I think. When I started at that company, there were still a bunch of Windows servers, which were a total mess and sheer horror, so we did our best to get rid of them. There are one or two Windows VMs left, which we only need because of … guess what? Printer management software.

I sometimes try to push OpenBSD a bit, but nobody other than me knows it and Linux just works, so I’m not very successful. But at least I had some fun with OpenBSD recently while establishing a Wireguard tunnel to a customer who runs OpenBSD – which is insane! We create lots of IPsec tunnels from our network to customers’ networks and most of the other companies use some sort of silly “hardware” firewall, which only provides a web interface and only supports IPsec (sometimes not even IKEv2, let alone good crypto). This almost makes you lose (even more) faith in humanity. Not this time! That guy actually ran a bunch of OpenBSD boxes, so we could figure out the Wireguard config and pf.conf together. I wish that happened more often. :-)

On rare occasions, I make a new web app using Python + Flask. I really try to avoid doing frontend stuff, though – my web apps are usually of the “if it doesn’t work in Lynx, then it’s broken” variety. (Is it even a plural? Did I make more than one web app? I don’t remember.)

Before and during University, I had very different jobs (driving as a courier; something like a janitor; cleaning swimming pools). I miss that sometimes. Simpler times.

Messages In This Thread
What Do You Do for a Living - by venam - 23-12-2021, 07:13 AM
RE: What Do You Do for a Living - by venam - 23-12-2021, 07:14 AM
RE: What Do You Do for a Living - by movq - 27-12-2021, 03:21 PM
RE: What Do You Do for a Living - by pyratebeard - 29-12-2021, 12:06 PM
RE: What Do You Do for a Living - by pfr - 08-02-2022, 09:33 PM
RE: What Do You Do for a Living - by ckester - 24-08-2022, 06:55 PM
RE: What Do You Do for a Living - by venam - 25-08-2022, 01:56 AM