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OSU's Open Source Lab offers students systems management experience

Jan 09, 2010, 16:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Stansberry)

"The Oregon State University Open Source Lab's data center hosts some of the Linux community's heaviest hitting projects including the Linux Master Kernel and the Linux Foundation. It is also the primary location for the Apache Software Foundation and Drupal, open source content management software. The lab, aka OSUOSL, also hosted the core infrastructure for Mozilla's Firefox project, and currently host's six of Google's servers.

"Despite housing such high-profile open source projects, the lab's systems administrators are actually OSU computer science students. In the following Q&A, Lance Albertson, an OSUOSL systems administrator and architect, talks about his job -- managing a data center with a staff of 18- to-21-year-olds. SearchDataCenter.com recently visited the OSUOSL data center on OSU's Corvallis, Oregon, campus and talked with Albertson about the rewards and challenges of his job. OSUOSL's data center hosts and mirrors some of the most important open source community projects in the world.

"Undergraduate students run the systems administration -- and it works. Why do you let undergrads manage your data center?

"Lance Albertson: I wasn't around for the original decision, but I can certainly tell you what I think the reason was. Foremost, hiring students is really low cost and as a nonprofit we need to ensure that we keep our costs to a minimum. However another huge factor is giving students "real world" responsibility and experience. Most students leave the OSL with employers chomping at the bits to hire them because of the experience they get here."

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