The War March Of The Sysadmin

It's a long dark night in the server room where the lights blink amber and green
And the chill air that roars from the A/C duct meets the warm draft from every machine
From the RAM and the disks to the CPUs go hopping the bits and the bytes
Of programs in Scheme and pictures of cats and video-sharing websites

The software developers pound out code till the night turns into the day
While the researchers heap up all kinds of data and crunch the numbers away
The bureaucrats slog through mind-numbing forms spewing emails and spreadsheets galore
But the sysadmins keep all the systems together and working forevermore

Oh the packets are pinging across the ether and the firewall's holding tight
And the sysadmins crouched at their consoles vow there'll be no downtime tonight
Oh the land may burn and the sea may boil but the servers are running true
With the sysadmins on ever vigiliant watch the data will all get through

In a town far away there's a user who writes a bug-riddled script for cron
Which rm dash rf's his server config and he doesn't know what's going on
Until other users find out his site's down and raise a hullaballoo
And then he can't ssh in to see why 'cause his ssh key is gone too

So a sysadmin goes to the server itself and reboots it as single-user
And restores from a backup all of the things that were wiped by this hapless loser
But the script's still there and doing its thing and the files all vanish once more
Then the sysadmin knows "Aha it's a cron job" and throws the bad script out the door


There's a gang of delinquents scanning the net for any small holes there might be
The firewall blocks all ports except twenty-two, eighty, and four-forty-three
And one silly user had set a weak password (for which he'll get endless scorn)
So after some guessing the punks get in and start downloading all kinds of porn

But a sysadmin sees the traffic increase and starts to get all suspicious
And su's to root and hunts down processes curious or malicious
And locks the account that was compromised before any real damage is done
(It later comes out that one of the punks was the senior vice president's son)


Now the pestilence spreads all across the land and the zombies are roaming the streets
The survivors are holed up in caves with their laptops (and cans of chick peas and beets)
Thirty zombies have entered the server room and five are now gnawing the wires
There's no question the Internet must be saved before every last human expires

Well the sysadmins scale up the side of the building with grappling hooks and ropes
They've got hazmat suits and M16 rifles with low-light adjustable scopes
They smash through the window and kill all the zombies and reconnect every last node
And the holed-up survivors get back on the net and join in this rousing ode:

(Chorus - repeat the last two lines)

(c) 2016 Benjamin Nacar, licensed CC BY-SA v4.0

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