AFTERBURN REPORT 2001System Administration
The SysAdmin team has spent the last year investing a great deal of time and
no small amount of resources into improving the infrastructure and maintainability
of all Burning Man internet services. The team's largest accomplishment
has been the acquisition and installation of a new server machine, and
the migration of the web site and a number of other services onto this
new machine. This marks the first time that the site has been served off
of a machine that the Burning Man organization owns outright, which has
done a great deal to empower the organization (and the SysAdmin team in
particular) to be self-sufficient; no longer is it necessary to engage
the assistance of an outside entity to handle the highest level administrative
In addition to handling the migration and ongoing maintenance of the servers and services, the team has been slowly putting important infrastructure components into place. These components include data redundancy (backups), contingency plans in cases of hardware, network, or service failure, access privilege protocols to better manage security without disempowering users who require access, and additional services to meet the growing communication needs of the organization.
The biggest challenges the team has faced had to do with the handling
of emergency situations. It is difficult to get the enterprise level support
required of the Burning Man information systems from a team of loosely
knit volunteers. To remedy this, the team has increasingly distributed
responsibilities, and has done an exemplary job of striking a balance
between security and accessibility.
One particularly daunting task is still unresolved: in 2002, the team is determined to provide a stable file sharing environment between Gerlach and San Francisco.