mas system administration links
- DevOps, DevSecOps, SRE
- Distributed systems
- Distributions of GNU/Linux software
- Magazines and podcasts
- Monitoring individual systems
- Security of systems
- User groups and trade associations
DevOps, DevSecOps, SRE
- Ansible best practices: the essentials.
- Google Site Reliability Engineering Book.
- The Must Know Checklist, a HackerNoon article by Aymen El Amri from . Part of the 31skills project.
- Erik Meijer and Leslie Lamport in conversation on Mathematical Reasoning and Distributed Systems.
Distributions of GNU/Linux software
- CentOS, the Community Enterprise OS, GNU/Linux distribution based on RHEL, Red Hat Enterprise Linux from Red Hat.
- Ubuntu, a GNU-based Linux-kernel software distribution based on Debian, developed by Canonical. New versions are issued twice a year with a long-term support version every two years, e.g. 16.04 in April 2016.
Magazines and podcasts
- Linux Format magazine from Future Publishing.
- Linux Journal, on-line only technical magazine.
- Linux Magazine is published by Sparkhaus Media.
- Linux Voice GNU/Linux and Free software magazine, now merged into Linux Magazine. The staff also produce the Linux Voice podcast
- lwn free software news
- PragPub, monthly for software developers, edited by Mike Swaine.
- TWIG — This Week in Google. A weekly review of what’s new and newsworthy from Google and other internet service providers. Hosted by Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, Stacey Higginbotham. Gina Trapani was a regular panel member. TWIG is a TWIT TV programme.
- Ubuntu UK podcast.
Monitoring individual systems
GNU/Linux systems have a rich variety of monitoring tools. Ones I use regularly include:
htop— a somewhat updated version of
topwith more detail on some reports.
nmon— Nigel’s Monitor — can report processor, network, memory, i/o, paging and more. Uses curses.
top— resource usage by process and overall server stats.
- Disk, I/O and files
lsofcan provide enormous detail on open file descriptors, including Unix sockets. This includes, for example, all files open by a given pid or all processes with descriptors open within a specified directory or files open by commands starting (or not starting) with a given string.
freeand, for more detail,
pmapreports memory usage per process.
vmstat— virtual memory reporting.
- Processor and processes
cat /proc/cpuinfolists number, type and capability of installed processors.
mpstatreports processor usage, including per processor (
mpstat -P ALL).
strace— a debugging tool that reports system calls by a program. Not routinely used as it slows performance but valuable to identify the details of program interaction with the system.
uptime— overview of server load and time since last boot.
In addition, for VPSs, the vendor may provide statistics, graphs and reporting tools. These may use tools such as those above to provide data to their customers.
- htop explained: everything you can see in htop and top in GNU/Linux. Written by Pēteris Ņikiforovs.
16 basic server monitoring commands by Steven Vaughan-Nichols. A reminder of basic tools you should be using anyway. Includes iostat, meminfo (cat /proc/meminfo), free, mpstat, netstat, nmon, pstat, ps, pstree, sar, strace, tcpdump, top, uptime, vmstat, wireshark.
- Crypto 101 is an introductory course on cryptography, freely available for programmers of all ages and skill levels.
- Stack on a budget: free or low-cost web stack services.
User groups and trade associations
- net Creative Bloq web design and technology magazine from Future Publishing.
- EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation.
- FSF, the Free Software Foundation, is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users.
- FSFE, the Free Software Foundation Europe, is a charity that empowers users in Europe to control technology.
- ISOC, the Internet Society, promotes the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world. The site includes tutorials introducing IPv6 addresses and protocols. There is an ISOC member portal and an ISOC England chapter.
- Linux Foundation is a trade association that supports kernel development.
- ORG, the Open Rights Group UK, exists to preserve and to promote individual rights in the digital age. This includes campaigns such as one in 2016 highlighting highlighting problems in the Investigatory Powers Bill..
- SFC, the Software Freedom Conservancy provides a non-profit home for Free, Libre and Open Source Software projects.
- Stack Overflow
- Super User
Systems administration is a fundamental art and science for human interaction with general purpose computers. At its widest it includes everything to do with computers that isn't actually writing and using the application software. For the biggest systems this may be termed infrastructure management with systems administration being working on individual machines but this boundary is somewhat artificial and has to be flexible. A computer, whether an individual machine, multiple machines, or a shared multiprogram and multi-user system, must be capable of doing the jobs needing to be done but it also needs to be suitably affordable (both to buy and to run), environmentally sound (power, heat, size, weight, noise, raw material sourcing and disposal), secure, resilient, robust, reliable, speedy, etc. As always one probably cannot have all the desired qualities at the same time … today. Some desired, or even necessary, attributes may be impossible to fully meet.
For individual machines, including virtual ones, system administration includes requirements analysis and specification, initial configuration and set-up. It continues throughout the life of the system with ongoing updates, fixes, backups, monitoring and enhancements. It ends with the shutdown of the system, possibly archiving its contents, termination or transfer of any leases, licenses or rentals. It initiates disposal of any redundant hardware.
Systems administration includes or requires related skills and disciplines such as systems programming, security administration, facilities management (e.g. power, air-con, accommodation, access control) and capacity planning. Networked systems also require network design, network engineering, network administration and network analysis.
For multi-machine systems the needs and requirements are similar but achieving good outcomes becomes more complex and difficult.
The modern trend towards cloud services has changed the nature of some of these steps but they still need to be done. If you are not doing them for yourself then you are trusting someone else to do them well on your behalf: a cloud service is just your data entrusted to someone else's computer.