Sysadmin to manager translation guide


I just wrote this for fun, no liabilities taken! 🙂

Well, this is interesting:

  • “Something is definitely broken, but I don’t expect persistent data loss. Someone made a highly stupid bug”
  • “Puppet should do this (good thing), but it does that (bad thing)”
  • “I think this is gonna break once anyone touches it”
  • “I think this is gonna break in the next 24 hours”

Well, this is weird:

  • “This should never have happened. Something fucked up big time.”
  • “There might be logical data corruption.”
  • “I might soon tell you we’re doomed.”

This is not good:

  • “You lost service and/or data”

(notice “well” indicates undetermined data loss)

I’ll need to have a look at that:

“This is all broken and was set up by someone who didn’t bother to think. We’ll need to take it apart just to find out what was broken by setup and what recently broke so you called me. It’s better if you won’t hear what I have to say about this setup.”

How do you do backups?

  • “What you’re asking might cause data loss”.
  • “I don’t yet trust you to do things right”
  • “How many layers of safety do we have?”

By asking about “how” you get a chance to make up excuses, or, if you can give details, we’ll have a good chance to getting out of this safely. I like “safely”.

What date is your last backup?

“You have lost data, I’m planning a strategy for recovery and if, incidentially, you’d not tell me your backups are broken, then we can proceed quite successfully. i can probably fix this without needing the backups and saving a lot of time, but if you don’t *have* a backup, I can’t try this method. Because suddenly I need to worry about finding all your uncovered data before trying to fix anything.”

I’ll need to look this up

  • “you threw something completely new at me”
  • “you designed things so creatively that it’ll need 1-2 hours of research and ideally a rebuild in lab to make sure there IS a workable path out of this. No sane person has a setup like this.”
  • “Last time someone did such a crazy thing I managed to fix it, but you need to go away right now because if you see how other people ended up in that situation, you’ll be depressed”

Could someone fetch the green book please?

Your VxVM volumes are broken because you never properly configured anything. We needthe best possible documentation before we even start typing.”

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