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Linux Systems Administrator Job in Nairobi Kenya

Vacancy Number: SA/LINUX/RMG/09/11

Department: Research Methods Group (RMG)

 Nairobi, Kenya

 2-year term with possibility of renewal

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works at the crossroads of livestock and poverty, bringing high-quality livestock science, communications and capacity building to bear on poverty reduction and sustainable development.

ILRI is one of 15 centres supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). ILRI has campuses in Kenya (headquarters) and Ethiopia, with other offices located in other regions of Africa (Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria) as well as in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka), Southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand, Vietnam) and East Asia (China).

The position: ILRI requires a Systems Administrator (Linux) to join the ILRI-ICRAF Research Methods Group (RMG).

This is a joint group of ILRI and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) providing support to researchers in the areas of research computing & data management, project & study design, data analysis & reporting and GIS/RS services.

This position exists to provide administration of the Linux systems installed at the ILRI Kenya campus and oversight for Linux systems installed at other ILRI locations.

The person will also be expected to carry out some programming, scripting and web site development to assist researchers in analysing their data. The majority of the work will be in support of the Biotechnology and Bioinformatics groups in ILRI.


  • Ensuring the smooth and effective operation of the Linux servers; currently these consist of:
  1. A high-performance computing (HPC) server with 32 processing cores, used to store and analyse bioinformatics data;
  2. A high-performance computing cluster with 12 compute nodes and 26 processing cores, used to store and analyse socio-economic and spatial (including imaging) data;
  3. Several bioinformatics web servers;
  4. Several servers running virtualization software (VirtualBox and VMware).
  • Management of user accounts, system security, software updates, and scientific applications used on the servers;
  • Installation, configuration, and administration of HPC network services such as SSH, Samba, Apache, rsync, NFS, and database applications such as PostgreSQL and MySQL;
  • Carry out scripting (shell, Perl, PHP, Python) to support researchers’ data analysis (including capacity strengthening);
  • Backup and restore of research data and system configurations (HPC & other Research Computing systems), and provide input into the Institute Business Continuity plans;
  • Liaise with ILRI Information systems department regarding data storage provision and systems;
  • Provide support for the Linux workstations on the network, and the links from Windows desktops to the Linux servers;
  • Supervise students that are on attachment in RMG – Research Computing group.
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • A minimum of 2 years experience in a software development or systems administration environment;
  • Up-to-date certification in Linux Systems administration, proven experience in programming and web-site development;
  • Training in Bioinformatics packages, Cisco networking, Customer service is an advantage;
  • Skills in Linux installation, configuration and administration;
  • An understanding and working knowledge of advanced computer systems such as high-performance clusters;
  • Strong customer service orientation with good communication and interpersonal skills that establishes a good working relationship with customers, with the attitude of wanting to assist people and pass-on knowledge and experience while grasping difficulties perceived by users
  • Excellent technical knowledge of computer applications and systems;
  • Good logical diagnostic skills and ability to exercise good judgement in the resolution of problems;
  • Ability to multi task, work under high pressure, meet deadlines, monitor and follow-up on pending matters under minimum supervision.
  • Good communication skills; written and verbal.
Location: Nairobi

Terms of appointment:
 This is Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position based at ILRI’s Nairobi campus and is on initial 2 year contract renewable subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding. Salary and benefits will be in line with those provided within ILRI’s NRS scheme.

Job level:
 The position is job level 2B with a starting salary of 75,833 or 2C with a starting salary of 105,833, dependent on qualifications and experience.

Applicants should send a cover letter expressing their interest, detailed CV, names and contact details (Telephone, E-mail) of three professional referees to e-mail: by 23rd September 2011.

The position title and reference number ‘SA/LINUX/RMG/09/11 should be clearly indicated on the subject line of the email application. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

To find more about ILRI, visit our Website at

ILRI is an equal opportunity employer.

You can now click on this link to visit our sister website for more vacancies.

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