systems administration

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  • 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.
  • Review

    Ansible orchestration is a veteran Unix admin's dream

    Posted January 9, 2014 - 5:23 pm

    Ansible and AnsibleWorks AWX bring simplicity and power to Linux and Unix server automation.
  • Review

    Review: Ansible orchestration is a veteran Unix admin's dream

    Posted October 10, 2013 - 1:42 pm

    Ansible and AnsibleWorks AWX bring simplicity and power to Linux and Unix server automation.
  • Expanded '2-person rule' could help plug NSA leaks

    Posted June 18, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    The National Security Agency is creating new processes aimed at making it harder for systems administrators to misuse privileged access to agency systems, NSA officials told the U.S. House Intelligence Committee Tuesday.
  • Ubuntu in the cloud: Getting started with juju

    Posted February 27, 2013 - 4:50 pm

    Juju works to do for servers what package managers do for individual systems. It enables you to deploy services quickly and easily across multiple servers, simplifying the configuration process, and is particularly designed with cloud servers in mind.
  • Splunk 4.3 gets a boost for business analysis

    Posted January 10, 2012 - 3:43 pm

    With the newest update of its machine-data search engine, Splunk has expanded the user interface in a number of ways so it can be more easily used by business analysts as well as system administrators.
  • Stop being your own worst enemy

    Posted December 15, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    System downtime is frequently due to operator error. Document your work as simply as possible to avoid these self-inflicted wounds.
  • Monitor servers on your iPad with iStat

    Posted May 13, 2011 - 1:38 pm

    There aren't many dedicated monitoring apps available for the iPad. But they aren't non-existent, either. iStat is one such app that, though configured for the iPhone, provides a neat little snapshot of any remote Linux, Unix, or OS X device that iStat can see.
  • Security tip: How to set up a chroot jail

    Posted March 3, 2011 - 4:37 pm

    Using packages such as mod_chroot for use with Apache, or Jailkit, an open-source project with a handful of utilities, can make configuring a chroot jail much more efficient and even automated in some cases. Here are some important things to remember when setting up a chroot jail.
  • Myths, gods, and titanic disasters: How servers really get their names

    Posted March 4, 2009 - 5:19 pm

    Want a server to last forever? Name it Belgarath.
  • Would a server by any other name be as functional?

    Posted January 30, 2009 - 11:19 am

    If you name your main file server after a depressive alcoholic playwright can you really expect it to be anything other than problematic?
  • Long listings for the ps command

    Posted August 7, 2008 - 12:15 pm

    If you've ever been frustrated by ps output that is truncated at the edge of your 80-column terminal window, let's take a look at the options that various Unix systems provide for showing you what you really want to see.
  • Unix and long usernames

    Posted July 30, 2008 - 7:20 pm

    Working around problems caused by usernames with more than eight characters is generally easy, but isn't it time we stop having to abide by limitations created 40 years ago?
  • Setting up a proxy web server with Apache

    Posted July 24, 2008 - 11:59 am

    Setting up a forward web proxy with Apache involves a very simple and quick procedure. From start to finish, it should take you roughly half an hour. Let's examine the process step by step.
  • Unix Tip: More on bc

    Posted March 20, 2008 - 10:25 am

    The bc utility is not just acommand line tool. You can also write numerically intensive scripts in bc. The tool incorporates enough syntax to assign values to variables, write and call functions, collect responses from users and print annotated results.
  • Unix Tip: Using bc for big calculations

    Posted March 12, 2008 - 6:44 pm

    For sysadmins who want to perform simple calculations on the command line, there's a considerably more useful tool than expr. Try bc. Like expr, the bc command allows you to do simple math.
  • Unix Tip: Burning bootable DVDs

    Posted March 5, 2008 - 9:43 pm

    One of the messages that you don't want to see when getting ready to upgrade a system to Solaris 10 is "can't open boot device". The problems this kind of error suggests, such as bad CD/DVD reader or improper device alias, can be troublesome. So, when I ran into this problem on a Friday afternoon, I was not amused. I had tried various boot commands, but got the same basic response each time...
  • Unix Tip: Creating a chrooted FTP account

    Posted November 6, 2007 - 12:33 pm

    Often referred to as a "chroot jail" or a "padded cell" because users cannot escape from the directories into which they are put when they log in, the basic concept of a "chroot" (change root) configuration is that a user's working view of the system's file system is dramatically modified so that only some particular directory and its contents is visible. However, in order to be useful, each chrooted environment should contain many of the same directories you would expect to find in the root file system on a typical Unix system. Here's what you need to know.
  • Unix Tip: Mail loops back to me

    Posted April 3, 2007 - 7:14 pm

    Many systems administrators have run into errors in their syslog files that complain that mail is looping back, suggesting a possible MX problem. The common cause of this problem is that a server is receiving email for a domain that it doesn't recognize as its own. Then, when the server looks up the MX address for the intended target (in order to send the mail on its way), it notices that the MX record is one that identifies the mail exchanger as the system itself.
  • Unix Tip: Changing chown

    Posted September 22, 2004 - 5:19 pm

    If you have tried to give away any files lately on any of your Unix systems (i.e., without first becoming root), you may have been surprised to learn that you can't. On most Unix systems today, any non-root user is likely to get errors such as these when he or she tries to change ownership on a file.
  • Whatcha' gonna make?

    Posted October 18, 2001 - 4:32 pm

    understand make is to look at a programming example.

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