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Introduction

Honestly, I think so but there is no hard evidence just yet. In fact the whole human race could be originating from Alien civilization. There are a lot of facts and small pieces of the puzzle and hopefully one day the puzzle is put together and humanity will know how it all got started. Whatever our origin is we are here now and we are evolving, learning and getting ready for some amazing years where we will see science come up with such breath taking technologic breakthroughs it will be hard to imagine in fifty years how we lived today.

What the … are you blogging about?

I guess some of you are already wondering if I had magic mushrooms for breakfast by now but I can assure you I did not. I stumbled upon a video on youtube featuring Erich Von Daniken. I really love it when a video or a blog makes me think and that is exactly what the video did. After watching the video I went to look for more content on whether or not aliens ever where in fact on earth or even if we originate from alien civilization. I found a documentary from history channel and it is in fact very interesting.

In one of my previous blogs “How has blogging changed my everyday life?” you can find hints that I was checking out content on alien civilization. How does any of this relate to basis administrators and even to SCN? I invite you to read on and find out the answers.

We are who we are

System administrators are often stereotyped as being geeky and asocial. A stereotyping I dislike a lot but sometimes I cannot get around the fact that some of my beloved out of work activities seem to fall in that category. Although the gaming industry is much larger than the movie industry these days gamers are also stereotyped as being geeky. So I already have my profession that points in the direction of being geeky and then I have the fact that I love playing games. Wait is that a bad thing really? Geeky is hot nowadays, the huge geeky looking glasses are worn by some hipsters and geeks seem to be attractive somehow.

I do believe a lot of diverse persons exist within a single profession but I also see similarities. Of course everyone has its own personality and looks different and I’m glad that is a fact. How boring would the world be if everyone would have the same personality and look exactly the same? Seriously, I wouldn’t want to have a girlfriend that looks like a copy of my mom.

A similarity I often see among SAP system administrators is that they are dedicated and flexible. We tend to have very flexible work hours and it is also something we love. I do love the fact that I can do irregular work hours, especially if I can start at five am. Of course the job also brings along timings or tasks that are less interesting. Working during weekends or being called in the late evening because a SAP system has crashed for example. When we are on guard we can be called 24/7 in case something goes wrong.

The importance of flexibility

There is a lot of unawareness what system administrators do and it also brings some what I call “crazy eye” looks along with the unawareness. Sometimes to others it looks like we are not working hard, for example when I would be leaving the office at two pm. But that is because the other people in the office don’t know that I was awake at five am solving an issue and started to work already. It can also be the case that I have to do more work at seven pm again from home.

As a SAP system administrator being flexible is important. It makes sense that the business doesn’t want to bring down their productive SAP system during the work hours or even extended work hours so it also makes sense as a system administrator you will sometimes be working in the evenings, at night or in the weekend.

Working twenty-four hours straight

I’m planned in to do a SAP Netweaver upgrade this weekend and not to my surprise I’m being misunderstood by my own better half who has been feeling slightly ill this week. As some of you already read I have two little children (Colin, nine months old and Caitlin two and half years old) and it can be exhausting to keep them busy so I can understand it isn’t easy.

Being a SAP system administrator means you have to constantly keep learning to avoid your contract being cut off and ending up losing your job in the worst case scenario. Yesterday I attended a G&TS (General & Technical Session) of CTAC to broaden my knowledge and get in touch with my colleagues. Of course I ended up coming home very late because I had started at five thirty am, worked until four pm and then headed off to the G&TS. I arrived back home at around ten thirty pm.

I know I will be called at around one am tomorrow morning to start working on the upgrade. I also know it is going to be a lot of work since it is a large, distributed environment with a lot of dependencies. It is also a very business critical mission because it is one of the most important SAP systems in use at my customer. Given this and all the tasks that I will be performing, taking into account the durations of all of the different tasks I performed on the Quality Assurance landscape I know up front I’m looking at staying awake for more than twenty-four hours straight.

It is a necessity to ensure I will be ready on schedule so functional testing can begin once I have finished my work. This is also part of being a system administrator. Later on today I will finish the latest preparations so I can start tonight and have a smooth upgrade. Of course I’m not the only one involved in general for the upgrade but to perform the technical upgrade of the SAP system and everything connected to it that is depending on it I am.

Alien language

Sometimes I really feel as if I’m talking in an Alien language as my better half has a hard time understanding why I have to work at certain timings or why on earth I have to stay awake for twenty-four hours if needed. Can’t you just check every few hours? No it doesn’t work like that.

I want this upgrade to succeed and I don’t want to lose time that can be spend on performing proper testing before the actual Go Live. It can feel like talking to a brick wall but then again my better half seems to have the same feeling. No matter how far my explanation goes that it is a necessity and that it is of great importance the misunderstandings and the crazy eyes seem to stay.

System administrators attention

I hope this blog and other blogs about SAP System Administration or also referred to as Basis Administration can give a view on what we do and get rid of some of the stereotyping and misunderstandings. I’m glad to see other community members like Clinton Jones start to bring system administration into the picture by producing content on SCN. 

I was also very pleased with the SAP Virtualization and Cloud week that did contain sufficient information for SAP system administrators. It was very interesting and in my opinion also very much needed as we still have to search really hard sometimes to find sufficient information. I still see a lack of system administration related content in certain events but I will keep voicing the need for content and also for a system administration space on SCN.

I also still invite everyone to use the hashtag #sapadmin to mark interesting content on twitter for system administrators.

I do what I have to do

I’m glad I was able to vent my frustration by writing this blog which is actually a great way to vent. I’m dedicated to the cause and I will do whatever it takes to make this upgrade a success story.

This is what a system administrator has to do and it is one of the reasons that make us valuable.

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7 Comments

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Chris

      Thanks for the comment and for the link.

      Good blog you wrote there, I enjoyed reading it.

      My easter upgrade was succesful, worked a lot of hours and had to solve many issues but it is all worth it once it goes live it puts a smile on my face 🙂

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  1. Sebastien Pondichy
    Hi Tom,
    your blog entry reminded me some of the craziest upgrade “parties” I’ve enjoyed 😉
    During one of them, the project manager captured the best moments with his smartphone and he created a CD with the ‘upgrade movie’ … The faces after 20 hours of work were … humm … zombie-esque.
    Sometimes I do also feel like an alien 🙂
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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Sebastien

      Thanks for your comment.

      Those pictures sound like fun. I was a walking wreck once it was done 🙂

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  2. Kumud Singh
    Hi Tom,

    This whole blog looked like a TOP is spinning continuously without being stopped or given a chance to stop(same as shown in Inception movie).Not to mention TOP is you yourself.
    Now reading this blog can cause two type of effects:
    1. One might never take up administrator role because of ultra hectic schedules.
    2. One might get fascinated with tsunami of learnings, responsibilities, exposure one can have as system administrator role.

    I do perfectly know that you are promoting second point.However,being into non administrator role, I have just seen and heard my friends working in such crazy hours.But also they get due respect and recognition for the same.

    However, I must admit that you can act as a role model for people having fascination for learnings and their SAP work.

    Thanks,

    With Regards,
    Kumud Singh

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Kumud

      Thanks for your comment, I always appreciate community members commenting.

      I can happily state the upgrade was succesful and I worked around thirty-one hours. We encountered some new issues which did not occur on acceptance so it was a hectic weekend but looking back on it I can only be proud of the end-result.

      I don’t do these kinds of upgrades every weekend but it has to be done from time to time and it is considered normal to work that much and be that dedicated as a system administrator. 

      Yes I’m promoting system administration in general and I also voice for the importance of system administrators as I feel they are somtimes overlooked.

      I can imagine a lot of persons in a big organization have no idea how much effort we have to put into these kind of actions.

      Thanks for the nice words.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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