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Tips for the everyday admin -- #1

Bits & Bytes: When it comes to establishing a highly available storage system, the most important piece of advice from Evan Marcus is to keep it simple.

Evan Marcus

Evan Marcus is our expert in high availability. Evan is also a Principal Engineer at Veritas Corp..

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Our countdown, brought to you by high availability expert Evan Marcus, includes some common sense tips for the everyday storage admin to follow.

#1: KISS (keep it simple)

1. Use no extraneous hardware
2. Remove all non-critical applications
3. Keep non-critical users off critical systems
4. Limit network connections
5. Use sensible, mnemonic system names
- Some names and IP addresses change during failovers
- Pick "zeus" over "ha4pv56a"
6. Minimize points of control, contention and variable introduction
7. Avoid monitors or remove screen savers

More on KISSing

1. More mistakes happen on complex systems
2. Mistakes lead to downtime
3. Honest errors are responsible for some percentage of downtime
4. Give everyone less opportunity to make those errors
5. New system admins have to learn everything
6. Obscure configurations take longer to learn
7. Complexity hard to maintain after staff departures

Looking for more great Evan Marcus information?

Check out the Evan Marcus availability tips section of

Also, visit our bookstore for Evan's book: Blueprints for high availability: Designing resilient distributed systems.

Have your own tips for the everyday admin? Submit them here.

This material is copyright 1997-2003 by Evan Marcus and Hal L. Stern. It may not be used in whole or part for commercial purposes without the express permission of both authors.

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