Meet Your Zenoss System Admin: Esteban Diocares

As we continue to celebrate system admins (sysadmins) who have made an impact, we spoke with another Zenoss system administrator rock star Esteban Diocares. Esteban has unique insight into Zenoss as a ZaaS operations systems admin — learn more about Zenoss as a Service here.

How long have you been with Zenoss?

Almost three years.

What is your main role as a sysadmin?

I do ZaaS, a version of the product we call Zenoss as a Service.  I basically make sure it’s running— tracking performance, system monitoring. Monitoring Zenoss with Zenoss.  

What inspired you to become a sysadmin?

I wanted to work in technology and solve problems. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I want to be a system admin,” but this is something that filled both of those requirements — it was something that I came into.  Basically, the work itself, I get to work with technology and provide a valuable service.  

As a sysadmin who uses Zenoss to monitor Zenoss, what would you say makes our product unique or valuable?  

As a product, the ability to scale and customize. As a company, the customer-centric perspective. I think the support and the human aspect of that customer relationship — it’s more of a partnership than just the “customer-vendor” relationship or a service.

Are there any stereotypes you’d say are true or not true of sysadmins?

I personally haven’t seen too many. I think one that’s definitely not true that I get from my friends is that we spend our time hacking into stuff — I mean, there’s very little of that at all, if any. You’re there supporting systems. There’s no sitting behind a screen typing away to get into some sort of secret agency.  

As a sysadmin, is there anything you wish people knew about your job?

That when solving a problem, it’s not always obvious what the source of the issue is — especially with a lot of the technologies now that are more abstracted.  It’s not always as easy as turning it off and back on again.  

What’s the best part about your job?  

I think solving an issue and getting over a big hurdle with our team since it allows all of our customers to get the benefits of any new solution. So, we can solve the problem once and provide that everywhere. That’s pretty cool. [We have] the ability to scale the problem-solving part of the work. You can make a bigger impact than if you were just working with one type of that server.  

Do you keep a messy or clean desk when you’re in office?   

Messy and organized. Not too much in terms of decorations. There’s a pingpong trophy and a Zenoss Core Award. Mostly clean, I would say.

What is the Core Award for?

Need For Speed. (More about Zenoss Core Values and what this award means here.)

How careless are people with passwords and data?

It ranges. It depends on how much they are aware — but in our industry, it’s pretty careful. In personal experience with family and friends, you can be surprised.

So you’d say that a lot of people in the IT industry are very careful. What about just the average guy out there?

I’d say the average person, not so much. Especially with data — what they’re willing to give for free to either social media or other applications.

Do you have any tips for creating good passwords or for data safety?

Using a password manager helps. That way, you can create strong passwords without having to remember them or write them down. Usually, that allows some sort of dual authentication so you only have to remember one strong password.  

And then, I think, for data safety from an enterprise perspective, it definitely starts with a strong infrastructure and having safety as an infrastructure from the ground up. If you have vulnerabilities early on, it might be possible [for others to] reverse whatever protection you have on your data.

Has anyone ever given you a piece of career advice that impacted where you are today?

I think one of the best pieces of advice would have to be that technology problems are usually solvable. The most difficult problems can be with your relationships or with people and to focus on that — not to discount that as a real influence on your success.  

Is there any advice would you give new sysadmins?

Be OK with being uncomfortable or not knowing something. Everybody started somewhere. There are infinite things to learn, so it’s OK to ask a question that might seem obvious or simple. It’s better to ask than to try something that might not work.  

This week is System Administrator Appreciation Day — but at Zenoss, we don’t think a day is enough when it comes to the great work SysAdmins do every day! Follow along as we highlight some rock star sysadmins we look up to and celebrate the work they do.  

Catch up on our interview with Zenoss sysadmin Marshall Dean here, and keep an eye out for more great insights from sysadmins this week — and for our sysadmin giveaway!