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Sysadmin Day 2015: Fun things to do – and prizes to win from El Reg

Where the beer, food and gifts are on offer around the world and how to enter

By Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2015

Sysadmin Blog Friday, July 31 is 2015's Systems Administrator Appreciation Day, better known as Sysadmin Day. It is a day during which sysadmins feel sad that nobody remembers there is a day dedicated to them, and they go on being as unappreciated as every other day of the year. The exception being vendors and other sysadmins; they remember to care.

Marketing loves Sysadmin Day. Articles from previous years show an ever increasing number of contests, discounts, and attempts at "customer engagement." This year is no different for vendors: they're out in force.

There is an uptick, however, in community-organized events. It seems that sysadmins are emerging from their cave-like abodes, venturing out underneath that great big ball of photon-spewing fusion in the sky, and actually socializing with other sysadmins in pubs all around the world.

What a brilliant idea.

As always, my Google-fu is imperfect, and not everyone alerts El Reg about their sysadmin day plans. The following rundown of contests and community get-togethers is not remotely a comprehensive list, and I do hope that events I miss will get added to in the comments section of this article.

General contests and marketing faff

Perhaps the most intriguing Sysadmin Day-related bit of marketing faff is only tangentially related to Sysadmin Day at all, but there is some pretty sexy hardware on offer. Catalogic is doing a Sysadmin Day webinar all about the copy data management market in which it operates.

So far, so boring, why am I bothering you with this pointless marketing tat when you can just read the articles in the hyperlinks? Well, a little birdie told me that the back quarter of the Catalogic webinar would be used to discuss the details of their VMworld home lab contest. More to the point, this home lab isn't going to be some crappy Intel NUCs and a switch.

The home lab "will include a free license for ECX and a NetApp box so the lucky winner can experience for himself/herself the power of SW-defined copy data management for VMworld." Details on what, if any, compute servers will be included are sketchy at this point, but any home lab serious enough to include a NetApp box has my interest piqued. Sysadmin Day 2015 will mark the start of a contest that ends quite well for some lucky nerd.

2015 is the first year in I can't remember how long that ThinkGeek doesn't seem to be celebrating Sysadmin Day. Perhaps their marketing people are just slow this year, or perhaps this is part of ThinkGeek's ongoing strategy of trying to appeal to the mainstream and largely abandoning its "geek" base.

If you were hoping to get your ThinkGeek fix on for the year, you needn't fear: Netwrix is here. $25 gift certs are the prize for the best "what stresses you out" short form. Terms and conditions aren't posted, so I have no idea who is allowed to participate.

Manage Engine has fully embraced Sysadmin Day. There is the usual contest, this time based around sending e-cards to your sysadmins. 20 people will be picked from among the senders to receive $20 gift cards for Amazon. More intriguingly, ManageEngine has put together a fun picture-thingie on "sysadmin myths," seemingly sourced from a survey of their community members. The contest is open to everyone unless you live in a country that the US government doesn't like.

Spiceworks is running a 12 days of sysadmas that hasn't seen as much engagement from the community as past years, but is fun nonetheless. There are sponsors listed, but what events or prizes they might be sponsoring isn't immediately evident.

Thwack (SolarWinds) is at it again this year with its own contest. The grand prizes are an Nvidia Shield Pro and a video gaming chair. There are some runner-up prizes as well. The contest seems to be open to residents of Canada, the US, UK, and Germany.

Softinventive Lab is offering a 20 per cent discount for Sysadmin Day, so if you need network auditing and inventory management software you may want to give them a boo.

In the US of A

Events are also occurring around the world. For those sysadmins living in Dayton, OH, DataYard is holding a shindig at the Fifth Street BrewPub. Tip of the hat to those folks for doing something beyond a quick marketing giveaway and for showing local sysadmins some appreciation face to face.

New York City area sysadmins should join in the festivities at The Gingerman, courtesy of Digital Ocean.

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area you might want to take the opportunity to hang out with OpenDNS at their headquarters. They promise pizza and beer. From experience, they're pretty fun guys to spend time with.

CDW and Kingston are also doing a contest this year. There's a Microsoft Surface 3 64GB up for grabs, along with a Microsoft Arc touch mouse and a Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combo. Americans only.

In Australia

Australians are really stepping up to the plate this year. Sysadmin Day's Australian tentacle is running a contest that includes a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (courtesy of Samsung Communications Centre), a Targus rolling travel laptop case (from Datacom), and one year membership to SAGE-AU. There's even an official trophy and certificate from up for grabs.

Paessler – whom we all know as the folks behind the PRTG network monitoring software – is also running a contest. The best response to "Only Aussie SysAdmins Know" gets a $500 Red Balloon voucher.

In the United Kingdom

Are you in London? Spiceworks UK has a movie night planned – looks to be TRON legacy – but with only 30 seats available, it will probably be booked up before this goes to press. Still, details on the when and where are available, maybe you can snag a ticket on your own and join in.

Birmingham sysadmins are invited to The Woodman, courtesy of the local makerspace group. Space is limited, so RSVP now.

In Canada

Sysadmins in Kitchener, ON, should pay Bob Jonkman's blog a visit and figure out where this year's meet-up will be. They've done this a few years running, so it should be good times for all involved.

Edmonton, AB, sysadmins should ping me directly. I've got to chase the local Spicecorps and VMUG folks for firm details, but early rumblings are Brewster's Oliver Square, 6:00pm.

In Hungary

If you happen to be in Budapest on Sysadmin Day, why not stop by Margaret Island and join in an open-source get-together? Mozilla will be there, and they're looking to "recruit new members to Firefox OS Mobilizers." The event promises games and seems to be a general Sysadmin Day bash.

In Argentina

Denizens of Buenos Aires, AdminFest is back! Join in the fun at La Cigale bar. Free beer is available for those who answer technical questions on the help forums correctly. 500 points == 1 beer.

Vulture Love

The Reg would be remiss if we didn't join in on the love. We do so love our sysadmins, and as such we're running two contests this year. Not zero, not one, two! (Take that, binary!)

First up, our US editor Chris Williams has offered to answer your helpdesk questions: put your feet up, BOFHs, and we'll take the load. Never mind that Williams doesn't know his SaaS from his Exchange server, he still remembers some Perl and knows the CTO's email address.

I think we can break him. What say you, dear readers? Email him and let's see what you're made of. Questions will be answered by our man according to no particular criteria whatsoever. Software slinger Iolo is offering free copies of System Mechanic to those who make the cut.

Not to be outdone by the yanks, Vulture South's editor Simon Sharwood has plans of his own. Simon has really fallen in love with the sysadmin horror stories series he's been doing lately, and he's eager to read more. In honor of Sysadmin Day, we've prised some gift cards from the talons of the cash n carrion overlords for the best submissions: drop Simon an email with your system administration war stories.

I know having a topic to think on helps focus the mind, so let's take our cue from the industry at large. 2015 has been the year of the perpetual security breach. I've joked on Twitter that the official unofficial Register drinking game is to look through a week's worth of headlines and take a shot for each new company pwned.

I tried it over the weekend. It ended up being so much alcohol I'm a little surprised I didn't end up in a bathtub in Vegas packed with ice.

El Reg has a readership with some of the most diversely awesome, horrible, amazing and traumatizing stories out there. I await your stories.

Oh, and happy Sysadmin Day. See you at the pub. ®

Competition Terms and Conditions: The competition will close at 11:49pm GMT on July 31, 2015. The winner will be contacted by email shortly thereafter. A Reg account is required to enter. In the event that the winner cannot be contacted within one week, an alternate winner will be drawn. One entry per person, multiple entries will be discarded. No cash alternative. Employees and associates of Situation Publishing may not enter.

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