Senior Unix Sysadmin needed at new Harvard lab in Innovative Computing

Douglas Alan doug at
Wed Aug 2 21:31:45 EDT 2006

I'm helping to start up a new research lab at Harvard called the
Initiative in Innovative Computing.  The web site for the lab is here:

We need to hire a senior sysadmin who would be excited to also be part
of this start-up process.  The environment, at least initially, will
be mostly OS X desktops and Solaris 10 Sun Fire Opteron-based servers
using ZFS and Zones.  We also have an Apple Xserve.

The initial environment will only have about a dozen employees and is
located on the main Harvard campus, a few blocks from the Science
Center.  If all goes according to plans, the lab will scale up over
the next several years to several hundred employees, and will have its
own building on the new Allston campus.

So, we're looking for someone who doesn't mind starting small, but
also has the ability to plan and build a scalable infrastructure that
can handle spurts of rapid growth.  Other essential skills include:

   - Techniques to efficiently deploy and update software on lots of
     Mac-based desktops, while maintaining a coherent and consistent

   - Understanding single sign-on technologies.

   - Use of automounters and symlinks (or other technologies such as
     file system virtualization servers) to make a bunch of file
     servers appear to be a single large coherent shared virtual
     filesystem to client computers.

   - Understanding the trade-offs between NFS, AFP, and CIFS in such
     an environment.

   - Experience with backing up large quantities of data.  (We
     currently have more than 36 terabytes of disk space on our
     servers alone.)

Scripting will be done in Python, but you don't have to know it
already -- you just need to be willing to learn and use it.

The official job posting is located here:

This posting lists experience with HPC clusters as a required skill,
but I don't think that it will end up being so.  If we can find
someone, though, who is adept at most of the above and has some
significant experience with HPC, such a candidate would certainly have
a leg up.


P.S. If you wish to apply for the job, you will have to submit a
resume online via the above URL. If you want your resume to be easily
readable to us, you'll probably want to submit it in M$ Word format.
I apologize for this onerous requirement -- our lab had nothing to do
with creating Harvard's job application system.)  You can also cut and
paste plain text into the Harvard web site, but, if you do that, what
we end up seeing will probably look pretty crappy.  If you don't have
a Word version of your resume, but you have an HTML version in
addition to a plain text version, you might email me the URL, so that
I, at least, will have access to a version that is easier to read.  In
fact, you might want to email me a copy of your resume anyway, since
when your resume goes through the Harvard web site, it passes through
several layers of bureaucracy before it reaches me, and who knows how
long that will take.

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