1.4. Know Your Resources

System administration is mostly a matter of balancing available resources against the people and programs that use those resources. Therefore, your career as a system administrator will be a short and stress-filled one unless you fully understand the resources you have at your disposal.
Some of the resources are ones that seem pretty obvious:
  • System resources, such as available processing power, memory, and disk space
  • Network bandwidth
  • Available money in the IT budget
But some may not be so obvious:
  • The services of operations personnel, other system administrators, or even an administrative assistant
  • Time (often of critical importance when the time involves things such as the amount of time during which system backups may take place)
  • Knowledge (whether it is stored in books, system documentation, or the brain of a person that has worked at the company for the past twenty years)
It is important to note is that it is highly valuable to take a complete inventory of those resources available to you and to keep it current -- a lack of "situational awareness" when it comes to available resources can often be worse than no awareness at all.