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System 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 tasks.

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.