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Linux Administration

Unit 1
Duties of System Administrator

Overview
Linux System Administrator
Installing & Configuring Servers
Installing & Configuring Application Software
Creating & Maintaining User Accounts
Backing Up & Restoring Files
Monitoring & Tuning Performance
Configuring a Secure System
Using Tools to Monitor Security

Linux System Administrator


Linux is a multiuser, multitasking operating system, in
this regard the system administrator has flexibility &
responsibility far beyond those of other operating
systems
Linux requires a degree of administration greater than
that of less robust home systems
By definition, the Linux system administrator is the
person who has root access
The root user has unfettered access to everything
all user accounts, their home directories, & all files
therein; all system configuration files; and all files on
the system

Duties of Linux System


Administrator
Installing & Configuring Servers
Installing & Configuring Application Software
Creating & Maintaining User Accounts
Backing Up & Restoring Files
Monitoring & Tuning Performance
Configuring a Secure System
Using Tools to Monitor Security

Installing & Configuring Servers


The word server is used to describe a computer that
provides some type of service to the client
Use of GUI & printer in Linux requires configuration of
graphical layer server (XFree86) & print server respectively
However, access to features/services like world wide web,
FTP access, Internet e-mail does not require configuration
Whenever a server is connected to machines outside
your physical control, security issues arise
Linux distributions are shipped with all imaginable servers
turned on by default
It is the duty & responsibility of the administrator to know what
servers you need & how to employ them
Also the administrator has to be aware that it is a bad practice
& a potential security nightmare to enable services that the
system isnt using and doesnt need

Installing & Configuring Application


Software
It is possible, in Linux, for users to install applications in
their home directories
These applications are not available to other users
If an application is to be used by more than one user, it
needs to be installed higher up in the Linux file hierarchy,
which is the job of the system administrator
Location of installation matters if you compile the
application from source code, if you use RPM
application package, it automatically goes where it
should
Skeleton configurations administrator determined
default configurations set baseline for user employment
of applications

Creating & Maintaining User


Accounts
No one but the administrator can create an account
for each user
Apart for creating the user account, the Linux
system administrator also performs the following
functions

Assigning & Resetting passwords


Maintaining & Deleting user accounts
Deciding applications that can be accessed
Deciding what sites can be accessed
Deciding what locations on hard disk can be accessed

Backing Up & Restoring Files

There is need to backup important files in the event of a failure of hardware, security or
administration

Because of its built in security features, Linux doesnt allow users to back up their own files,
only the system administrator can do this

Backing up is only half the story. You need to formulate a strategy to make sure that
the system is not vulnerable to catastrophic disruption

Backing up user accounts & system configuration files is necessary

The system administrator has to decide

What to back up

How frequently to perform back ups

Whether to maintain a series of incremental backups or multiple full backups

When to perform these backups

Do you want an automated or manual backup process

Restoring files from backup media is no less important than backing them up in the first place

Periodically testing backup media is also necessary

Monitoring & Tuning Performance


System Tuning is an ongoing process aided by a variety
of diagnostic & monitoring tools
Some performance decisions are made at installation
time, while others are added or tweaked later
Proper monitoring allows you to detect a misbehaving
application that might be consuming more resources than
it should or failing to exit completely on close
Through the use of system performance tools, hardware
up gradation can be decided
Careful system monitoring with wise use of built in
configurability of Linux allows to squeeze the best
possible performance from the existing equipment

Configuring a Secure System


The system administrators first & foremost task is to make certain that no
data on the machine or network is likely to become corrupted whether by
hardware or power failure, by misconfiguration or user error, or by
malicious or inadvertent intrusion
Depending on how and to what a Linux machine is connected, the
sensitivity of data it contains & the uses to which it is put, security can be
as simple as turning off unneeded services or otherwise engaging in
protection & security of Linux & non-Linux machines connected to the
same network.
Security is an ongoing process
For any machine that is connected to any other machine, security means
hardening against attack & making certain that no one is using your
machine as a platform for launching attacks against others
The system administrator has to strike the right balance between
maximum utility & maximum safety, while bearing in mind that
confidence in a secure machine today says nothing about the
machines security tomorrow

Using Tools to Monitor Security


The Linux development community is quick to find potential
exploits & to find ways of slamming shut the door before
crackers can enter
The first & best security tool is making sure that whenever a
security advisory is issued, download & install the repaired
package
This line of defense can be annoying, but it is better than
rebuilding a compromised system
Preventing the use of your machine for nefarious purposes &
guarding against intrusion are, in the end, your responsibility
alone
Linux (Red Hat) equips you with tools to detect and deal with
unauthorized access of many kinds

Summary
As the system administrator the duties/tasks,
mentioned above, are ongoing and that there is
never a machine that is completely tuned,
entirely up-to-date, and utterly secure for very
long
Always remember that,

SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION IS A
STATE OF MIND

Questions?
Please don't keep it to yourself ?