Seven system administrators that you should know (and thank)

7 awesome sys adminsThese admins amaze me. I’ve learned from reading their posts, tweets, and comments. They learn a lot, and they share what they know.

The list hits Admins in the US, Europe, and Australia. They range from only Windows to a mix of Windows/Unix (and a few developers). 

7. Rachel Baker (@RachelBaker)

Rachel has a great following on Twitter, and for all the right reasons; she learns, shares, and gives credit where it’s due. She’s doing more of a business/social networking consulting now, but don’t let it fool you. She’s technical and has done her fair share of admin work. 

6. Matt Simmons (@standaloneSA)

I started following Matt’s posts in 2008. His passion for system administration is very evident in his writing. When he has a technical challenge he finds a way to fix it. That’s where he gets his best posts.  

5. Michael Pietroforte (@4sysops)

Michael is a Microsoft MVP in Windows administration. His website,, is followed by over 5,000 administrators who learn from his technical product reviews and tutorials. 

He lives in Munich, Germany, and though we have an 8 hour time difference, there is rarely a time that I email him where a reply isn’t received quickly.

4. Adam Ruth (@AdamRuth)

OK, in the strictest terms Adam is not a system administrator, but he knows their jobs inside and out. For over two decades Adam has been writing software tools that make their jobs (and lives) easier. I think the only major platform he’s not written code for is the OS/390. Every flavor of Unix, Mac OS, DOS, and every version of Windows. (Even a tiny bit on AS/400, but he would never admit to that). I’ve worked with him now for over 15 years, and I have yet to encounter a sys admin problem for which he cannot solve… quickly.

(Adam is co-founder of Admin Arsenal, and is our lead developer.)

3. Jeremy Moskowitz (@JeremyMoskowitz)

If you’re a Windows sys admin and you don’t subscribe to GPAnswers, stop reading and head over there and subscribe. You’ll be joining a group of 11,000 admins who learn weekly from his discussions.

Jeremy is a Microsoft MVP for Group Policy. If you want to not only understand how group policy works, but understand why it was created the way it was, Jeremy will explain it to you. If you need to study up on group policy, the chances are pretty good that you’ve read some of his books.

Jeremy is one of the few on this list that I’ve met in person. I had the pleasure of bumping in to him at the 2008 TechEd (Orlando) and again in 2010 in Boston at the annual Business of Software conference. 

2. Evan Anderson 

If Evan ever sees this, the first thing he’ll say is “who is Shawn Anderson?”. Last name notwithstanding, we’re not related. We’ve never met, but he has helped me (and thousands of other sys admins) with his accurate (and frighteningly quick) answers on ServerFault.

Evan has some serious ServerFault bragging rights too (just check out his reputation of 49,392 and his 135 badges). He has a strong background in Windows as well as Unix, which means that there are few sys admins who wouldn’t learn something quickly from Mr Evan.

1. ServerFault

I knew when I started writing this blog that ServerFault, though not alive in the conventional sense, would make #1. It simply had too. It’s just too valuable. 

It’s a rare thing to have a really valuable resource so readily available, but ServerFault (and the entire stack exchange) makes it a reality. (So hats off to Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky for making a Q&A site that doesn’t suck.)


To all on this list, on behalf of system admins from one side of the room to the other, thank you all. You share what you learn (which is great because you… well… always seem to be learning). 



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