Unix How To: Unix Resolutions for 2010

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They will resent you only until someone with a stupid password enables a break-in.

Use sudo or similar technology for users who only need a little bit of root access. Sudo is easy to set up and reliable. Besides, giving someone only what they via sudo means they don't have to be given the root password. How cool is that?

Monitor your log files from time to time. You can have hardware and software screaming their little hearts out and be totally oblivious to problems if you don't scan through your log files from time to time. Automated log gisting scripts can send you summaries of important messages. If you don't have something like this scanning your log files periodically, put something together.

Document your important service configurations, especially those that are tricky or difficult to understand.

Plan for disasters and think recovery. From time to time, think about the things that could go wrong on your systems and what you would do to recover if they did. Identify single points of failure. How would you replace that disk array if its power supply failed? How about that important database server?

Test your backups before you need them. If you can't recover from backups, you're not properly backing up.Years ago, I was called in to help when some colleagues needed to recover a file system. They discovered that the backups they had been running every night for six months or more had been failing, but that no one had been noticing the warnings in the log files. Nothing could be done. Six months of data were gone. Oops! And did I say scan your log files?

Look at performance on your systems from time to time so that abnormal performance will stand out as abnormal. A profile of a system's average performance will make it very clear when a system is having a bad hair day -- and it doesn't take long to generate.

Don't use telnet or allow it to be used on your systems. C'mon! We've been warned about telnet and ftp for decades now. It's time to insist on only using secure tools to connect to our systems.

Treat your users like customers you want to keep. Yes, they can be annoying, demanding and sometimes even rude, but helping them get their work done is what our trade is all about. Keep this in mind as you go about your work.

And, last but hardly least, be kind to yourself. You work way too hard, rarely get credit for all the emergencies you prevent and are worth your weight in platinum.

Have a wonderful and prosperous 2010!

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