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Evolution of the Super Administrator

October 8, 2014 - 1 Comment

Large enterprise organisations are traditionally siloed from an IT perspective. You have the Server Team, the Network Team, the Storage Team, the Security Team, the Application Team; you get the idea.  There are usually politics involved, where the IT Division resembles a kindergarten with playground arguments and disagreements.

THE GAME IS CHANGING!  With the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), Hyper-Convergence, the “Goldilocks Zone” and Network Virtualisation, you are seeing the rise of the “Super Administrator” – the one person who has the skills that span every silo.  That individual can lay cables, install hardware, configure a router or switch, install a hypervisor, configure directory services, build a VM, configure Windows Server, carve a LUN, zone fiber-channel, configure application firewall rules, manage a hybrid cloud, troubleshoot VDI and present a NAS share.

The SMB version of this person is normally present in small organisations, since they have only one or two people who run the whole shop and out of necessity become the “jack of all trades, master of none”.  The trick is to evolve these skills to the Enterprise and Service Provider level by “T-Skilling”.  This means developing your knowledge until you are minimally competent in all areas of the SDDC (Cloud, Data Center, Network, Storage and VDI).

So you have to ask yourself: “Do I want to be a one trick pony?” and “How do I break out of my silo?”

There are a number of ways to develop “T-Skilling”:

  • Request a transfer to another silo within your organisation or change companies to get the technology role you want
  • Training – Cisco, VMware, EMC, Hitachi, HP, Microsoft, Red Hat, Nutanix, etc.
  • Certification – Cisco (CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, CCDE, CCAr), VMware (VCP, VCAP, VCIX, VCDX), Microsoft, Red Hat, Nutanix, etc.
  • Home Lab – you can download and run most of the SDDC at home, with nested hypervisors and evaluation versions of software.
  • Blogging – document your discoveries, placing it in the public domain forces you to be extra vigilant with developing accurate content.

As long as you are prepared to learn new skills, there is no reason why you cannot be a “Super Administrator”.  If you do not enjoy change and learning then Information Technology may be the wrong career path for you.

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  1. Hi,
    I think that two important skills are missing from the list.
    1. Network virtualisation skills, such as the ability to deploy MPLS VPNs within the data centre and across your campus. This is especially true if you are building multi-tenant data centres for private and/or public clouds.

    2. Software Defined Networking skills. Admittedly this technology has come from a low base but it is gaining increasing traction in the market place.

    See this post for further details: