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O'Reilly Network: What is a Network Administrator Anyway?

Jul 22, 2000, 21:41 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Terry Dawson)

"We've seen the terms "system administration" and "network administration," in the title of this column for example. There are some obvious system administration tasks, such as installing or upgrading system software like the kernel or libraries and managing user accounts and disks space, so you probably have some idea of what a system administrator does. What does a network administrator do, and how do you differentiate between system administration and network administration? Bear with me while I think out loud on the subject, and perhaps we'll have some idea by the end of this column."

"In a small environment, the difference is fairly moot -- the same person or team will probably fill both roles anyway. In large IT environments, perhaps a large web-hosting company or a large ASP, the question has relevance. There will be enough work to have teams of systems administrators and teams of network administrators, and at some time it will be necessary to work out who is going to do what, to what, and when."

"I'm not going to attempt to define the role of the network administrator in this column. Instead I'll share my thoughts on the subject and add a dash of the larger context of telecommunications management in the hope that you might make some sense of it."

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