It’s July 1, and at OpenDNS that means opening day for SysAdmin Appreciation Month. If you recall last year we made a big decision: SysAdmin Appreciation Day, which is July 25, is not enough. We need an entire month to show our SysAdmin love.

This year we’re doing the SysAdmin Awards a bit differently. There are four categories, in addition to the highest honor, SysAdmin of the Year 2008. The SysAdmin of the Year 2008 will be selected from the submissions to the four categories.

Nominate yourself, or nominate a peer. If you’re reading this, and you aren’t a SysAdmin, I can guarantee you benefit from a SysAdmin, so take a moment to recognize him or her. This is your chance to acknowledge the SysAdmin who keeps your Internets running.

Rules for nominations are simple. Send an e-mail to awards at opendns.com, indicate which category you’re nominating for in the subject line and tell us why your nominee deserves glory. Judging will be done by OpenDNS CEO David Ulevitch (a former SysAdmin himself) and the all-star operations team of George Patterson, Bill Fumerola and Jesse Davidson. The deadline for submissions is midnight on July 22, the night before the OpenDNS SysAdmin Appreciation Party in San Francisco. The real prize is the sheer honor that comes with being selected, but winners will also receive a $50 American Express gift card and be announced right here on this blog. The 2008 SysAdmin of the Year will get $200, a winner’s package of OpenDNS clothing and schwag and a spotlight on our Web site. This is the real deal.

So without further ado, your 2008 OpenDNS SysAdmin Awards categories are:

Best Disaster Response Award

A hurricane, a fire, an earthquake. A datacenter meltdown. Something that would have caused business operations to shut down completely, if it weren’t for this SysAdmin. Like a knight in shining armor, this SysAdmin managed to keep the network up and running.

Unbelievable Uptime Award

SysAdmins take pride in total uptime and this SysAdmin’s router has been up for years. Heck, it’s been up so long he/she might not even remember where it is. Wow the judges with a number of straight days of uptime.

Shoestring Budget Award

This SysAdmin works wonders with a seriously tight budget. Tell us about the SysAdmin with the craziest buildout done on the cheap. We need details for this submission – tell the judges specs, total cost and what kind of awesomeness it powers.

Flying Solo Award

Even with a team of talented operators, SysAdmin’ing is not easy work. But when flying solo it can be downright heroic. Regale us with a (true) story of the heroic sysadmin who saved the world (or did something awesome).

That’s it SysAdmins. Good luck.

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