Do you know a runbook from a flip book? How sysadmins use documentation


Come along on a tour of common types of documentation system administrators use to get their jobs done.

As an enterprise software developer, system administrators are my customers and colleagues. In this session, learn not just what gets used, but also what internal and informal sources to look for to create better docs. I'll share what I've learned sysadmins want from the written information they rely on daily. I'll also talk about what ops teams write for themselves that can add important details to your documents.

We'll go beyond glossy presentation slides of instructor-led training to delve into what's meaningful for day-to-day tasks. For example, integration and migration: to accomplish this smoothly, sysadmins need references and examples to install, configure, and customize new tools to work with existing systems. Tutorials can show how, real-world configuration examples show what, and cookbooks provide ready-made examples to customize as needed. Deployment checklists ensure the rollout goes smoothly.

Emergencies can happen at any hour\u2014which is why runbooks can be so valuable. With step-by-step details so staff can respond without making mistakes. A junior engineer can resolve an issue without calling a developer for help. Manifests, dependency lists, and logs become necessary adjuncts to documentation, providing critical data for root cause analysis.

Learn about these sources, not just how others use them, but where you can find valuable detail to enhance the documents you write for operations.

  • Conference: Write the Docs NA
  • Year: 2017

About the speaker

Andrea Longo