J003-Content-Sysadmin-Day_SQMerry Sysmas everyone! It’s July 31, and while this is known traditionally as SysAdmin’s Day, we’re joining a few other vendors by combining the idea of Christmas in July to give you Sysmas, the holiday of sysadmins everywhere.

And, just like different countries around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways, and have different incarnations of Father Christmas, so too do the sysadmins of different systems have their own ideas about the spirit of Sysmas, and have their own ways to celebrate. Here’s a roundup for you all to get familiar with this most wonderful time of the year!


First up are our Windows sysadmins, who look forward to visits from Saint Administrator. They celebrate by patching their systems and installing the latest .Net framework to all their systems, and write out their Sysmas lists using PowerShell. They also have Patchus, the evil, horned counterpart to Saint Administrator who punishes bad little sysadmins who don’t patch their systems by saddling them with password policy that makes them have to change their password to one 42 characters long and that must be changed every six days. For Windows sysadmin, the Windows 10 release makes this the best. Sysmas. Ever!


Father Root is welcomed by Linux sysadmins around the world. This benevolent spirit of all things Sysmas rides a sleigh drawn by eight slightly rotund penguins, and treats all good sysadmins with new repositories and experimental filesystems. Linux sysadmin celebrate Sysmas by recompiling their kernels and good natured arguing over which is the better desktop environment, KDE or Gnome, even though they all know Enlightenment is really the best.


Close, but not exactly the same, Unix sysadmin believe that their own Sysmas elf, Papa Root, is truly the best. Papa Root is usually drawn wearing both a belt and suspenders, and fills Unix sysadmin’s stockings with MAN pages printed out in 8 pt Times New Roman font. Unix sysadmin celebrate Sysmas by performing their annual reboot of their systems in a process they like to call “system maintenance.”


Mac sysadmins’ incarnation of Sysmas is named Saint Steven, and visits on the night of Sysmas wearing a black turtleneck and a pair of blue jeans. On Sysmas day, Mac sysadmin exchange iTunes gift cards, and wear small white earbuds that sound amazingly good.


SQL sysadmins all look forward to reindexing their tables at midnight on Sysmas Eve, and then waking up early the next day to see what Father ANSI has brought them for Sysmas. Most database sysadmins just like to SELECT * FROM LIST as a way to say Merry Sysmas!


Oracle sysadmins are a unique bunch, who tend to give one another Java updates to celebrate the day, all while walking around wearing Larry Ellison masks and watching that really bad movie with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. No, not Die Hard with a Vengeance. That one was awesome. I am talking about the first one that hinted at M. Night Shyamalan being a one-hit wonder.


Mainframe sysadmins’ celebratory practices of Sysmas are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that most modern practices can trace their roots back to these legendary people. Archaeological digs at ancient datacenters have found evidence of ribald debauchery, mass consumption of Absinthe, and multi-coloured punch cards decorating the walls.


No one really knows what Novell Netware sysadmins do to celebrate Sysmas, because no one knows anyone who admins Netware anymore. It’s sad really. I like to think that Sysmas is that one day a year where they can come out of the secret room in the basement where they are locked up the other 364 days of the year and finally see the Sun, but I just don’t know anymore.


Email sysadmins want only one thing for Sysmas… bigger mailboxes! And if they are good all year long, and do a good job filtering out spam for their users, then Jolly Old Saint MTA will let them run a cleanup that archives everything older than five years old. The traditional Sysmas greeting goes like this.


Happy RCPT TO:


SAN sysadmins feel the need for speed, and if they have been good all year, then SANta will fill their stockings with SSDs they can use for high-performance storage and caching of the MRU data. SAN admins have some strange Sysmas rituals, which usually involve dropping LUNs at random times while shouting ‘Set my data free!’


Network sysadmins are a festive lot. At Sysmas, they turn off spanning-tree and clear their ARP caches so the switches all light up like a Sysmas Tree. The creative ones will set every odd numbered port to half-duplex to get a more colorful light display going.


Ask any sysadmin from security, and they will deny that they even know what Sysmas is, let alone observe it. But if you are very quiet, and very discreet, you might be able to sneak up on the security team’s offices during Sysmas and catch them

  • Drinking energy drinks
  • Randomly opening and closing ports on the firewall to make the IDS sing
  • Watching The Matrix for the 1337th time
  • Playing Tetris, because that’s all the game a hard core security guru really needs.


Desktop sysadmins like to share the love of the season by randomly pushing out new applications to other users. They might get the latest Office Suite, or perhaps a new graphics editing package, or maybe just a cool utility that they will never use. What they get doesn’t matter… it’s the thought that counts!


MDM sysadmins are the sorts of people you really want to be on good terms with as Sysmas approaches, because their particular observances include unlocking phone restrictions, increasing monthly bandwidth allocations, and if you’re on their very special list, you might even get to field test the newest devices they are evaluating. Of course, they have another list, and if you’re on that one your phone may mysteriously stop working on Sysmas day, require sending out to a specialist, and the only loaner they will have left is a Blackberry 9000 with 3G only.


Our last on the list is also our most subtle. Very few people will even know that a Web sysadmin knows that Sysmas is going on. But if you ever view the source of the corporate homepage on Sysmas Day, you will see the that they wish one another Merry Sysmas with clever messages hiding in meta tags, like <meta name=”Merry” content=”Sysmas”> or <meta name=”On the only day of Sysmas, my manager gave to me” content=”Nothing, as usual. I am not even sure she knows I exist, let alone what day it is L”>.

Whatever system you admin, we at GFI want you to know how much we appreciate you all, and hope you have a very happy Sysmas! System Administrator’s Day comes but once a year, but we appreciate you year round!

Here are the GFI sysadmins with their much deserved cake

The GFI sysadmins and their much deserved cake

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