• 7 habits of highly successful Unix admins

    Posted April 5, 2014 - 6:41 pm

    You can spend 50-60 hours a week managing your Unix servers and responding to your users' problems and still feel as if you're not getting much done or you can adopt some good work habits that will both make you more successful and prepare you for the next round of problems.
  • A generic repository for .NET Entity Framework 6 with Async operations

    Posted March 11, 2014 - 8:00 am

    Taking advantage of .NET generics can save you loads of repetitive data access leg work. Since it’s likely that each of your data tables will require the same basic operations (Get, Find, Add, Update, Delete) you’d be better off writing these functions once instead of recreating them for each data model.
  • Why you should use async tasks in .NET 4.5 and Entity Framework 6

    Posted February 18, 2014 - 9:00 am

    Building a web application using non blocking calls to the data layer is a great way to increase the scalability of your system. Performing a task asynchronously frees up the worker thread to accept another request while work is being done in the background. Until recently, designing your system this way was significantly more complicated. With the .NET framework 4.5 and Entity Framework 6, the task has become trivial.
  • Unix: 14 things to do or stop doing in 2014

    Posted January 4, 2014 - 7:22 pm

    It's a new year and a great time to review what you're doing right and not so right in your Unix career. Time to commit to an effective to do list!
  • 5 security best practices for SMBs

    Posted July 16, 2013 - 11:21 am

    If your small-to-midsized business is like most, you're playing a game of chicken with cyber-criminals. You probably know that your defenses probably aren't able to repel today's sophisticated, persistent attacks, yet you hope that you'll be overlooked.
  • What Unix can teach you about big data

    Posted June 30, 2013 - 2:58 pm

    Big data may be a tech buzzword of the moment, but Unix admins who need to hunt through logs to figure out what's going with their systems have been grappling with huge data sets for decades. Here are tips on command-line tools and techniques that can make sense of seemingly overwhelming data sets.
  • Unix & Security: So you're about to be audited

    Posted April 21, 2013 - 11:26 am

    Don't let an ISO 27001 audit ruin your week. Chin up and follow some simple rules to chase away the pain and the worry.
  • So you want to be a Unix sysadmin?

    Posted April 7, 2013 - 10:41 pm

    A number of people have asked recently what it takes to be a Unix systems administrator, what “core competencies” are required, and what are the best and worst aspects of the job. Here are some answers that might work once we get beyond “it depends”.
  • Unix: Rooting out the kits

    Posted March 17, 2013 - 8:06 pm

    Finding a computer infection that is, above all else, designed to remain hidden is not easy work, but neither is it impossible. With some good insights and tools, you might just get a leg up on how the multi-billion dollar spyware industry is attacking your systems.
  • Security: The beauty of ... malware reverse engineering

    Posted February 17, 2013 - 5:35 pm

    Malware represents one of the greatest threats that organizations face today and IT departments are coming to understand that their AV tools can only do so much to protect them. When malware is discovered on their systems, they want to know what it might have done, if the threat is still ongoing, and what they might have lost to the infection. Answers can be very tough to find, but reverse engineering the malware might just be the way to provide them.
  • How to freeze Unix accounts

    Posted January 7, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    Before the chilly winds of a RIF blow in your direction or a pile of your friends take off for greener pastures, you need to be prepared with an easy way to freeze account and preserve what might be of value in the abandoned home directories. In today's post, we'll look at some commands for inactivating accounts on Unix systems and provide some starter scripts for you to adapt to your environment.
  • 5 ways to optimize cloud usage

    Posted January 6, 2013 - 9:24 pm

    Designing and optimizing an IT environment that responds to demand in real time is one of the biggest challenges facing cloud users given the spikes and troughs in typical requirements. At AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas we met with users from a range of companies and listened to their concerns about usage and identified five main takeaways.
  • Why SELinux is more work, but well worth the trouble

    Posted December 24, 2012 - 5:09 pm

    Complexity isn't all bad. Sometimes it comes with a tremendous boon to security. Are you ready to cozy up to SELinux? Maybe it's time.
  • How to harden your RHEL 5 servers

    Posted December 17, 2012 - 9:03 pm

    Hardening tips for Unix systems have been issued for decades, but when's the last time you stopped to review how your servers stack up against the latest advice from the sages? Let's check out some of the recommendations provided for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and see what you might gain or lose by implementing them.
  • 13 Things that a Unix sysadmin will never do

    Posted December 9, 2012 - 7:17 pm

    As we find ourselves hurtling toward 2013, it's a good time to think about all the things that we Unix admins would never do ... and how that keeps us out of trouble.
  • sed: not just for pipes and one-liners

    Posted August 26, 2012 - 7:03 pm

    sed is the command of choice for changing this to that between a set of pipes, but there are a lot more tasks you can use it for -- some that it handles much better than the more obvious choices.
  • Take my Twitter account - please!

    Posted July 27, 2012 - 12:00 pm

    If you tweet for work, can you take your Twitter account when you leave? And what about company pens?
  • Rediscovering sar

    Posted July 22, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    The best trick for understanding performance problems on a Unix system is to understand performance when it ISN'T a problem. If you know what acceptable performance looks like, you'll quickly spot what's out of whack when a system is hurting. And one of the best tools for routine performance monitoring is built into many Unix systems -- sar, the system activity reporter.
  • How to do a risk assessment for ISO 27001

    Posted July 15, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    A key element in the ISO 27001 certification process is to identify and assess risks. While this idea may seem obvious, you may be surprised at how much you can learn about your systems, processes and security threats by pushing them through this very systematic process.
  • Getting started with ISO 27001

    Posted July 8, 2012 - 6:44 pm

    The first step is justifying the first step. Why are you willing to go through an arduous certification process? How it will help your company? The next is getting a whole lot closer to exactly what that means.
  • What Hadoop can, and can't do

    Posted June 13, 2012 - 8:00 am

    Hadoop is not meant to replace your current data infrastructure, only augment it. Here are examples when Hadoop makes sense, when it doesn't, and what you can expect to pay.
  • Configuring password complexity in Windows and Active Directory

    Posted May 20, 2012 - 6:00 pm

    You may be a Unix devotee, but if your organization uses both Windows and Unix systems, you need to understand how password complexity is configured on both platforms.
  • How to enforce password complexity on Solaris

    Posted May 12, 2012 - 7:44 pm

    Solaris 10 is the first version of Solaris to provide a complex set of variables for controlling password strength. The /etc/default/passwd file contains a series of parameters -- most commented out when a system is first installed -- that allow you to exercise some fairly rigorous constraints on the passwords your users may select.
  • How to enforce password complexity on Linux

    Posted May 6, 2012 - 8:17 pm

    Enforcing password complexity involves making decisions about how long passwords need to be and whether they must contain a mix of characters -- such as digits, a mix of uppercase and lowercase, or special characters. In general, the rules are not hard to set up, but you need to know both the syntax and the rules to get the outcome you expect.
  • What makes a good password?

    Posted April 29, 2012 - 5:02 pm

    Sound advice against the use of bad passwords has been around for decades. Yet I still find people electing to use passwords like pa55w0rd and login123 as if they'd never heard about password cracking programs. Even technical professionals -- programmers, help desk techs and systems administrators -- sometimes assign really weak passwords to their own and other important accounts. It's become painfully obvious to me that telling people to use good passwords isn't enough. We need to clearly define what a good password is -- and never imply that short or predictable passwords are ever OK.
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