"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."