Systems Administrator

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, October 5, 2018
Archive Date: 
Friday, November 2, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory (NSO), Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The National Solar Observatory (NSO), Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is seeking a Data Center Systems Administrator. This position will be located in Boulder, CO. The DKIST is currently under construction in Maui, Hawaii on the summit of Haleakala and scheduled for completion in 2019. The DKIST, will be the world's largest most advanced solar telescope and will help resolve the fundamental interactions between solar magnetic fields and the dynamic atmospheric plasma on scales below 0.1 arcsec over entire active regions. 

General Description of Position:

The Data Center of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is seeking an experienced Systems Administrator to support the development and deployment of its software services and hardware systems. The DKIST is a flagship project of the National Science Foundation and is being built by the NSO/AURA on Maui. The Data Center, located in Boulder, Colorado at the NSO headquarters, is responsible for distributing petabytes of processed scientific data to the community of users interested in leveraging data from the world’s largest solar telescope.

The Systems Administrator will utilize their experience with the automated deployment of systems to support the development and quality assurance activities within the team, and the deployment of tested systems and services to pre-production. They will support the configuration and maintenance of current systems, team productivity software, and will support the deployment of all developed software onto production hardware in 2019, in advance of the start of DKIST Operations. The DC is using numerous modern, open-source tools and frameworks for its scalable, microservice architecture, designed to meet the petascale data processing, management and distribution demands of the DKIST. The development team works within an Agile and continuous integration framework, and the Systems Administrator will utilize and extend several automatic software and systems provisioning and orchestration tools to support the team. The Systems Administrator will also utilize their broad experience to support networking and routing configuration, deployment, and troubleshooting, and will contribute to cybersecurity

Essential Functions:

  • Provide hardware systems administration for complex, high-performance, low-latency computing, networking, and storage hardware running Linux
  • Maintain and extend robust open-source solutions for system provisioning, maintenance, monitoring, and failover
  • Maintain and improve team development and productivity tools
  • Contribute to strategic planning and recommended improvements and upgrades for DC systems
  • Contribute to definition and execution of system load and performance testing

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a technical or business field (relevant experience may be used in lieu)
  • At least five years of demonstrable, progressively responsible experience in the administration of large Linux systems
  • Demonstrable experience building, managing, and maintaining large data storage systems, including deployment and maintenance of enterprise databases (Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL)
  • Demonstrable experience with virtualization hypervisors and provisioning
  • Demonstrable experience with infrastructure automation systems, such as SaltStack, Puppet, Chef, or Ansible
  • Demonstrable experience deploying physical, virtual, and containerized infrastructure
  • Demonstrable scripting experience in Python or Ruby
  • Experience with system monitoring frameworks and visualization
  • Experience implementing disaster recovery, failover, and colocation plans
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to speak and write effectively, including preparation of technical reports
  • Occasional travel (<10%) expected

Desirable Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Experience designing and managing federated resources (e.g. single sign-on, Globus)
  • Experience implementing security procedures for distributed organizations
  • Experience with non-relational data storage (Ceph, OpenStack, S3)
  • Experience working within a DevOps team
  • Experience working in scientific or technical (e.g. engineering) organizations, and/or have been involved with developing system architecture serving such organizations.
  • Linux certifications, such as LPI Level 2/3, RedHat (RH CSA/CE/CA), Oracle (OCA/P)

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately


Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume to your application.  Should you have any questions, please contact

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

NSO will accept and review applications until the position is filled. Please be sure to submit a completed application along with supporting documents by no later than October 19th 2018 to be considered in the first review.  Qualified internal candidates will be given preference.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 5, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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