Jennifer Briston

Jennifer Briston

Brand Marketing Manager

Sysadmin Day 2020: IT Heroes and Homelabs

by | Jul 27, 2020 | Blog, Community

Sysadmin Day 2020 is right around the corner and we’d like to show our appreciation for all the sysadmins out there who keep IT humming along and come to the rescue to resolve critical issues day in and day out. This year, we’re celebrating all week long by hosting an IT Heroes and Homelabs contest. Join the celebration by retweeting our post with the hashtag #SysadminDay #NetdataWin, and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win some Netdata swag!

Showing our appreciation

Without IT, most businesses wouldn’t exist, and without sysadmins, there wouldn’t be IT! This is why we are elated to celebrate Sysadmin Day with you. System Administrator Appreciation Day is an annual, day-long celebration dedicated to those who not only keep our systems up and running, but businesses as well. It’s an opportunity for us to pay tribute to those who work long hours, putting out fires and preventing problems before they happen. This year, Sysadmin Day falls on Friday, July 31, and we’ll be celebrating all week long.

What exactly is a sysadmin?

A system administrator or sysadmin, is responsible for a wide range of tasks including maintaining reliable system operations and upkeep of performance and security. Their efforts are critical for business continuity. As a company that exists to help IT pros monitor and troubleshoot systems, applications, and infrastructure, we at Netdata know first-hand how important this role is.

How we’re celebrating: showing off homelabs and battlestations

Our week-long celebration will feature Netdata employees’ homelabs and battlestations to give you a view into how our global team works. We’d love for you to share a glimpse of your systems running Netdata, your homelab, or your battlestation. Our IT Heroes and Homelabs theme is designed to inspire each other, as more of us start to work from home and begin to depend on remote operations. As a fully remote, tech-first company, naturally, we’re excited to share Netdata staffers’ home workstations. Here’s a sneak peek of a few:


Homelab rack cabinet

A homelab from James Mill, senior SRE at Netdata, featuring his “Rack Cabinet” / “Server Room.” From James, “This is a 22 RU 19″ Rack Cabinet with 3x Supermicro 1RU servers with single socket Intel Xeon 3.4Ghz 32GB DDR4 RAM and 2x Samsung EVO 560(s) ea. These all run Proxmox VE Hypervisor and dozens of VMs that make up my Home infrastructure. The larger server is a 4RU Supermicro with 10 3.5″ Drive bays and 4 2.5″ bays. The 3.5″ bays are fully populated for a ZFS RAID-Z2 storage array of ~22TB. At the top if a fully managed 24-port Gbpg switch where (yes) most of the cables that run into the wall are actually used throughout my home.”

Upgraded laptop for faster speed

This image features an upgraded laptop by Markos Fountoulakis, senior software engineer at Netdata. In his words, “This is my laptop, naked. Top left would be the DVD-WR device, bottom left would be the HDD, they’re both missing in this picture, so what I did was upgrade my laptop, almost completely. I upgraded my HDD (should be bottom left) to a 2TB drive, I upgraded my other disk drive (bottom right) to a 512GB NVMe SSD drive, those are very fast, so the fast drive is the boot drive, the slow one is for archival storage (lots of data). I upgraded my main memory (2 RAM stick bottom-center) to 32GB of RAM and I also upgraded my WiFi card (top-center-left) to a fast 5GHz one. Typically, people don’t upgrade their laptops, because it’s either too troublesome or impossible because the components are soldered on the mainboard, so that’s my desktop-like laptop.”

Lenovo S940 running Windows

Nicolás Parada, backend developer, has a setup that includes a Lenovo S940 running Windows (monitoring Docker with Netdata), a piano “collecting dust until the day I decide to play it,” an electrical standing desk, and is elevating his lighting game with some RGB lights and an Xiaomi lamp.

QHD monitor, Swiftpoint Z mouse, Logitech wireless keyboard

Austin Hemmelgarn, on the SRE/DevOps team, shared, “here’s the first of four. This is my desk when I’m not at work (at work for me is just using my laptop in a different room), including my QHD monitor, Swiftpoint Z gaming mouse, Logitech Wave wireless keyboard (soon to be replaced), a home-made LCD desk clock (just below the monitor), and a Galilean thermometer (right side of the monitor, partially obscured by it in this picture.”

Virtualization host system, Mac Mini, Thinkpad X1 Extreme

Second of four for Austin, “my virtualization host system (the big mini-fridge sized thing), sporting a Ryzen 9 3950X CPU, 64 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, 2 1TB NVMe SSDs and 2 500GB SATA3 SSDs, running Gentoo and currently hosting a total of 30 VMs I use for cross-distro testing. On top are the fourth generation Mac Mini that I use for testing stuff on macOS, the second generation Thinkpad X1 Extreme that I use as my primary system for work as well as for gaming, and the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Areo wireless headset I use most of the time when gaming or in video calls.”

Custom-built NAS system

Third of four for Austin, “my new custom-built NAS system with a Ryzen 3 3200G CPU, 16GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, 2 1TB SATA3 SSDs and 4 4TB SATA3 HDDs, running Alpine Linux with most of the services managed through Docker Compose. On top is one of the 802.11ax wireless mesh routers I use for WiFi, which is currently also being used as a wireless bridge for it. Located in one corner of my house because I’m planning to get an ATSC tuner card for it and make use of the live TV and PVR functionality of Plex, and this happens to be the best place in the house for OTA reception.”

System used for CUDA/OpenCL testing

And lastly, “the last of four, the system I use for CUDA/OpenCL testing, as well as for running BOINC workunits, with a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU, 32GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, 2 120GB SATA3 SSDs, and three NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 GPUs, running Gentoo. This one is located in a part of the house where the rather high thermal load isn’t an issue for the HVAC system to deal with, as well as being right near my main router so it can use a wired Ethernet connection.”

Let’s start the celebrations

We invite you to join in the fun by retweeting our post for a chance to win some Netdata swag! We encourage you to share with us your homelabs, battlestations, workstations, or wherever you set up shop to get your job done. Follow us along all week long on Twitter to see even more Netdata employees’ home setups as well as our retweets of pictures from the community, or check out our community forums with all the details.



The Sysadmin Day 2020 sweepstakes is now closed.

Congratulations to our winner, @user_ops! 

To view all the contest rules and additional information, please visit our official Official Rules.