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Questions regarding being a systems administrator or pc technician

Posted on 2014-03-15
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I am taking a hardware class at school and I am allowed to interview someone locally or online so I figured this was the perfect place. I just have questions I need answered by someone with experience.  Please write what you feel is enough to sufficiently answer the questions. This will help me write a paper from an interview I conducted with a candidate.Thanks.

How does your organization use personal computers in your business?

What are the form factors used and how has this changed over recent years?  

What are the “real costs” of personal computers to your business including maintenance and training?    

Describe the kinds of electrical power issues your firm encounters.  

How much power do all your computers use?  

What kinds of backup power options do you have?  

Have you considered reducing your “carbon footprint” by reducing power consumption?    

Describe the various kinds of motherboards in the computers you use.

How do they manage so many different types of motherboards?

What are the update cycles for replacing motherboards?

Has the diversity of motherboards declined over time?  

Ask them to describe the various kinds of central processors they use in their firm.  How do they manage so many different types of microprocessors?

How long a life do they expect processors to have?  

What are the update cycles for replacing processors, or do they wait for computers to fail before updating?  

How have power management issues affected their use of CPU.    

Describe the various kinds of computer memory found in their computers.  

How do they manage so many different types of computer memory?

How long a life do they expect memory modules?  

Do they increase memory size of existing boards or do they replace entire boards instead?

Ask them to describe the problems they have encountered with computer buses and expansion cards.  

What kinds of applications tend to trigger computer bus speed issues?  

How do they know a computer bus is the problem when a client PC is experiencing problems completing jobs?

What corrective actions do they take when they suspect a computer bus is not working properly?  

How do they use expansion cards?    

Describe the issues they have encountered with managing hard drives in a large population of PCs.  

How have hard drives changed in size and reliability in their experience?  

Are they now switching to SATA drives for some applications and PCs?  

Do they use SCSI drives?  

How do the alert users to potential hard drive failures?

Describe the networks used in their business, the topologies of those networks, and the protocols used.      

Describe the problems they have encountered with removable and portable storage devices, from optical drives (CDs) to USB jump drives.  

What kinds of security issues  arise, and reliability issues?  

Describe the problems they have encountered with input and output devices in their organizations.  This would include everything from keyboards and mice, to scanners, speakers and printers (as well as the cables required to connect them to PCs).

Discuss how their organization manages printers, and production of printed  documents.  What efforts have they undertaken, if any, to reduce the volume of paper  document production?  

Why is this such a difficult goal to achieve?

Describe the problems they are encountering with managing the rapidly growing population of portable systems.  

What kinds of security issues have they encountered?  

What kinds of losses of personal devices have they encountered?
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Question by:Mark_Co
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Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 39931638
had a quick look at the questions and they look good.

just let you be aware that this question is available on the internet and everyone can see your little secrets before the interviews. :-))
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Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39931677
Good questions but for security reasons, people probably should not post their answers here. :)
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Author Comment

by:Mark_Co
ID: 39931687
I appreciate it, I'm not worried about who sees this. I'm allowed to get an interview from anyone. My professor doesn't care, as long as I get a person willing to answer these interview questions. Thank you though :)
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Author Comment

by:Mark_Co
ID: 39931700
I'm not seeking any specifics. Be as general as you want to. I just need the core of the questions answered. Thanks
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Accepted Solution

by:
TimotiSt earned 500 total points
ID: 39938538
That was a lotta questions... :)


-----------------------------------------------
How does your organization use personal computers in your business?

As a college, we use computers for administration and teaching students.

What are the form factors used and how has this changed over recent years?

We've used mini tower and small formfactor (SFF) models, we're moving now to all-in-ones.

What are the “real costs” of personal computers to your business including maintenance and training?

purchase, software licence, time to provision, maintenance, reprovision, recycle

Describe the kinds of electrical power issues your firm encounters.

turning in a full computer lab by wake-on-lan can trip the breakers.

How much power do all your computers use?

roughly 500 PCs * 150W

What kinds of backup power options do you have?

none, mains is reasonably stable in Ireland

Have you considered reducing your “carbon footprint” by reducing power consumption?

Yes, we've implemented more aggressive power saving options.

Describe the various kinds of motherboards in the computers you use.

Some ATX, the all-in-ones use proprietary form factors.

How do they manage so many different types of motherboards?

We don't manage them.

What are the update cycles for replacing motherboards?

We only upgrade full computers.

Has the diversity of motherboards declined over time?

No.

Ask them to describe the various kinds of central processors they use in their firm.  How do they manage so many different types of microprocessors?

Most of our computers are Intel based. We have 32bit and 64bit OS images, we don't do any other management.

How long a life do they expect processors to have?

Physical lifecycle: 10+ years. Practical: 6 years.

What are the update cycles for replacing processors, or do they wait for computers to fail before updating?

We only upgrade full computers.

How have power management issues affected their use of CPU.

n/a

Describe the various kinds of computer memory found in their computers.

DDR2, DDR3 in user PCs; registered ECC DDR2 and DDR3 in servers.

How do they manage so many different types of computer memory?

We order upgrade kits in batches for full labs.

How long a life do they expect memory modules?

10+ years.

Do they increase memory size of existing boards or do they replace entire boards instead?

We upgrade memory as necessary if the board permits it, or replace the computer.

Ask them to describe the problems they have encountered with computer buses and expansion cards.

We don't use expansion cards in PCs.
In servers, gigabit network cards usually exhaust the parallel PCI bus.

What kinds of applications tend to trigger computer bus speed issues?

IP routing at Gbit speeds.

How do they know a computer bus is the problem when a client PC is experiencing problems completing jobs?

Only an issue for servers; we trace the datapath from CPU to the IO devices.

What corrective actions do they take when they suspect a computer bus is not working properly?

Replace legaci PCI with PCIe; or replace server.

How do they use expansion cards?

Mostly IO cards in servers: network cards, USB3 cards, SAS adapters.

Describe the issues they have encountered with managing hard drives in a large population of PCs.

We do break-fix on most PCs. We monitor drive condition with SMART in servers and important desktops.

How have hard drives changed in size and reliability in their experience?

Capacity went up, reliability down, prices down.

Are they now switching to SATA drives for some applications and PCs?

We mostly use SATA at this stage.

Do they use SCSI drives?

Parallele SCSI in some old, retiring servers, SAS in some new servers.

How do the alert users to potential hard drive failures?

SMART monitoring software on some desktops and servers, reports submitted by email.

Describe the networks used in their business, the topologies of those networks, and the protocols used.

Switched Ethernet LAN, Ethernet-based Internet uplink, IP networking, static routing, PC-based Linux routers.

Describe the problems they have encountered with removable and portable storage devices, from optical drives (CDs) to USB jump drives.

Use of optical media is declining, USB has data recovery issues and data leak issues if stolen/lost.

What kinds of security issues  arise, and reliability issues?

Possibility of data loss with USB devices and laptops. Encryption is encouraged/enforced.

Describe the problems they have encountered with input and output devices in their organizations.  This would include everything from keyboards and mice, to scanners, speakers and printers (as well as the cables required to connect them to PCs).

Printers have their own set of issues and need separate maintenance, standard peripherals are usually reliable. Keeping cables tidy is a priority.

Discuss how their organization manages printers, and production of printed  documents.  What efforts have they undertaken, if any, to reduce the volume of paper  document production?  

We've a managed printing provider to maintain the printers. IT personnel stock up paper in public printers.
Double sided printing is the default.

Why is this such a difficult goal to achieve?

Printers, being mechanical, need regular maintenance. Users print a lot of unnecessary things if they aren't immediately faced with the costs of it.

Describe the problems they are encountering with managing the rapidly growing population of portable systems.

Problems include data loss prevention (encryption), update management and taking regular backups.

What kinds of security issues have they encountered?

Data loss, internal hacking, external hacking.

What kinds of losses of personal devices have they encountered?

Lost and stolen smart devices (phones and tablets), lost and stolen laptops.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
ID: 39938581
may i know the date, time and location of the interviews? :-)))
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