[Beowulf] Beowulf SysAdmin Job Description

Prentice Bisbal prentice at ias.edu
Wed Apr 29 10:12:27 PDT 2009

Steve Herborn wrote:
> The request wasn't so much about finding candidates, or even questions to
> ask candidates, but to get a "good" idea what should go into an HPCC
> Administrator's job description over & above just a plain old every day
> System Admin job.  I don't know about every where else, but our HPCC people
> do way more then our regular Unix/Windows SysAdmins.

I'm sure you can tell from the posts on this list that most HPCC people
have a much better understanding of the minutiae of how computers
operate than your average sys admin.

Part of that may be because the subscribers here are just more
experienced, but I think the main reason is that HPCC really taxes the
hardware much more, and knowing how to get the most out of the hardware
requires knowing how it works. Evaluating cache design or FPU
performance is much more important when choosing a cluster nodes than
web servers or desktops.

Another trend I've noticed in HPC - most cluster admins do not have any
formal education in Computer Science or IT. Most have advanced degree in
a pure science and learned HPC because they needed it to do their
research, whether in college of afterwards, then found that IT pays
better. ;). Keep in mind that's based on my personal experience, not a
formal survey. My degree is in Chemical Engineering, for example.

So if you were writing a job description for a cluster admin, don't make
the mistake of requiring an education in CS/IT.


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