Matt Welsh suggests that systems researchers should work on an escape from configuration hell. I’ve felt some of the pain he describes while managing a small handful of servers.
Coming from a software engineering background, I would have instinctively classified the problem of misconfiguration as a software engineering problem instead of a systems one. But, really it’s an IT problem more than anything else. And therein lies the tragedy: IT is not considered a respectable area of research in the computer science academic community.