3 Methods of Linux System Administration and Why Linux Commands Are Best – Linux Training Online

When you are a new user needing to get Linux training, it is often confusing to decide what to focus on.

Should you learn how to use Linux for just one distribution (a.k.a. version, distro)?

Should you focus on learning GUI utilities – or should you learn Linux commands for doing system administration?

Linux Commands Training Tips: The Linux System Administration concepts and commands covered here apply to ALL Linux distros, including: Red Hat, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Slackware, Debian, Fedora, SUSE and openSUSE.

3 Methods of Linux System Administration and Why Using Linux Commands is the Best Method

1. Using Linux GUI utilities for System Administration

Many Linux distributions have “point-and-click” GUI (graphical user interface) utilities that allow you to do common and popular tasks, like manage the file system, create Linux users, and manage user and group permissions.

However, these GUI utilities are usually specific to a single Linux distribution.

So, learning how to use a Linux GUI in one distro is basically useless if you have to use a different one later, or if you’re working in an environment with multiple Linux distributions.

Linux Training Tips: To run a GUI utility, you need to have a desktop installed and sometimes one isn’t installed on a Linux server because it isn’t needed. In addition to this, the Linux system administration pros only use commands because GUI utilities are too slow to run and time-consuming to use.

2. Doing Linux System Administration Tasks with Commands that are Specific to a Distribution

The major (popular) Linux distributions all have several commands that are specific to that single distribution. In other words, for each popular distro, there are several commands that are specific that just that version.

For example, a Linux distribution will likely have a command that is used to manage partitions (disk space) and this command is specific to that distribution.

Learning how to use commands that are only available on a single distribution is a huge waste of time – if there is an equivalent GNU / Linux command – and there almost always is.

For example, the Linux fdisk command is a GNU command that is used to manage the partitions on a system and this command exists on all distributions.

So, rather than learn a command that is specific to a single Linux distribution, learn the GNU commands because these commands are common to all distributions.

3. Using Linux Commands that are Common to All Distributions – The GNU Commands

The GNU commands are the most popular Linux commands – and they are common to all distributions.

Linux Training Tips: Linux distributions are rising and falling in popularity all the time.

If you just learn how to use Linux by running the GUI utilities in one distro, and then you stop using that distro, then you have to learn all the GUI utilities of the next distro. If you learn how to use commands, then you learn how to use Linux for all distros!

How can you tell which commands are the GNU / Linux commands?

Get an excellent set of videos that shows you the popular GNU commands and then try these Linux commands yourself. Then you can learn Linux the easy way – by watching it and then working with it!

Network Monitoring For Satellite Teleconference, Distance Learning, and Media Distribution

Today’s Satellite Systems

Many satellite system projects these days involve satellite uplinks with hundreds or perhaps thousands of receivers in the network receiving content from them. Traditionally, if these networks are monitored, the planners rely on SNMP traps for big troubles and plan for round-robin polling and pinging to determine the health of the receivers and other devices.

Traditional monitoring systems, because of polling speed, within an hour or two NOC (network operations center) personnel can know system status for all devices.  For example:

  • is device alive
  • can I ping it
  • is the receiver on the right channel
  • signal level
  • locked for the transmission
  • error rates

As to the traps, a little secret: many of the devices do not support traps and if they do traps can be lost because they are sent as UDP traffic with no assured delivery. Requirements for today’s professional satellite systems have evolved to the point where NOC personnel need more information and they need it more quickly. Representative are teleconference, distance learning, and media distribution systems.

For these new systems the requirements for monitoring have moved out of a strictly maintenance need to both a maintenance and operational requirement.

Teleconference and distance learning have an almost interactive need for status and data:

1. Is the receiver is on the right channel?

2. Is the feed good? Are error rates low and the signal level high?

3. If the signal is low in Milwaukee, what’s the weather like?

4. Are all of the correct materials downloaded to the receiver?

5. Are keypads and other data entry devices ready?

Media distribution systems for broadcast and digital cinema have many of the same needs and some others:

1. Is there sufficient space on the device to receive the huge files used in these operations?

2. What is the progress of the transfer (it takes a long time to transfer multi-gigabyte files)?

3. Did the digital rights management (DRM) keys arrive?

4. If it is a playout device, did the correct play list arrive?

5. Can we get the playback logs as events play?

6. What about maintenance logs, do we have to SSH into each device and retrieve them manually, or will the system automatically gather and check them for us?

These lists are representative of information the NOC needs to ensure proper operation of the network. First and second generation monitoring systems don’t even begin to broach gathering and reporting the new types of information needed to reliably operate these systems.

Third Generation Network Monitoring

Satellite network monitoring systems must have parallel collection processes in order to have sufficiently fresh data to be of value to the NOC. For many types of operations media content must be tracked. You could argue that media is not part of network monitoring and yet today’s NOC needs this information to ensure proper operation. A new generation of devices are out there delivering media content. Real time, or near real time reporting is needed to insure proper operation of these systems. New ways to visualize the network to go along with these new data sets is also required.

It’s a new game in the network monitoring world: network monitoring software has to move to the next level, including being media-aware, to meet the needs of today’s NOC for information.

Eliminate the Cost, Hassle and Time Associated With Printing and Distributing Enterprise Reports

Like most large businesses, the magazine relies on large reports to distribute information to manage their business. They produce over 1,000 unique financial reports in their central data center for use by their staff around the world. These reports are currently printed on large production printers then physically distributed to their offices around the country.

This process proved to be very inefficient and costly. The cost of producing these reports strains the company’s IT budget, both in terms of paper, direct printer costs (including acquisition and maintenance) printer supplies and in terms of personnel costs associated with the delivering of reports around the company. In addition, the cost of physical distribution (courier) also added to the inefficiencies.

Secondly, the availability of the report information to the end user was too slow for today’s business climate. Business processes were being delayed while the knowledge worker waited for the report they needed to complete their assigned task. The reports were distributed in a very traditional way; they were centrally printed and manually distributed around the company, both locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. This “print and distribute” approach was a hindrance in terms of getting their reports out to knowledge workers in an efficient and timely fashion. The problem was exacerbated during month end closings because trial balances would be run, put in the queue to be printed, delivered to financial management personnel and reviewed.
After the appropriate corrections were made, the reports were re-run, sent through to be printed and delivered to management for review again.

The Challenge (continued)

This process was repeated until no more changes needed to be made and the final version of the report is printed for general distribution to the appropriate personnel. Keeping track of interim report versions, and ensuring proper security of those interim versions proved to be very challenging, and time consuming for management. Reports that were printed and then distributed to outlying offices (both in North America and around the World) could take hours and even days to end up on the knowledge worker’s desk, delaying business processes and reducing productivity around the organization.

The Solution

Plus Technologies worked very closely with the customer to integrate RM Plus, our electronic report management and distribution system and OM Plus our advanced print spooler software into the customer’s report distribution environment. This solution performs multiple functions after report creation through to the availability of a report for a knowledge worker and paid for itself in about 9 months.

A pilot was implemented for testing in a controlled deployment. Twenty reports were chosen along with twenty knowledge workers to be part of the pilot. Upon successful completion of this pilot, the solution was rolled out to over 200 knowledge workers for more than 1000 reports.

RM Plus performs the following functions:

RMPlus provides quick, easy access to computer reports!

The Mainframe creates the report and “prints” it to a virtual destination within OM Plus. This required no changes to the mainframe application.

OM Plus re-labels the report with a descriptive name. This makes the report name more intuitive to the knowledge worker.

OM Plus delivers the report to the RM Plus Document Repository. No operator intervention is required.

Reports are indexed, assigned security, and stored in the file system. At this point, the system notes report versioning. This permits managers to review and re-run (if necessary) financial reports prior to general distribution.

Users can access reports from their desk-tops or from their browser and view just the reports or pages they need to perform their function. All printing is done locally on network lasers when/if needed.

Report Manager Plus-Easy and affordable report distribution and management

RM Plus is an electronic report management and distribution system that connects every report generating application to every end user throughout your organization. It is an easy-to-use, flexible yet cost effective solution that captures reports from any enterprise application and stores them in a centralized repository accessible to your users 24/7!

RM Plus automatically captures report output from multiple enterprise system platforms, organizes and indexes the reports, applies security rules and distributes individual pages or bundles of report pages across your network or the Internet. End users can view, print and download reports – or selected portions of a report – on demand. Data contained in reports is easily found and extracted electronically and can be imported into spreadsheets or databases for further analysis. No more re-keying report data for further analysis!

The Benefits of RM Plus

o Eliminates the cost of printing, report distribution and storing enterprise reports–No more report distribution costs, printer maintenance, toner costs, binders, file cabinets consuming floor space or courier expenses. Don’t let the cost of printing your reports get out of line!

o Instant Access is provided to your report-hungry users. Users have rapid document delivery that is secure and instant access to their reports and documents from anywhere on the web.

o Increases Security and Compliance by controlling access to cabinets, folder, files and pages. Eliminates unauthorized viewing of customer data and provides a detailed, time stamped audit trail of all document delivery and end user activity.

o Improves Customer Service by accessing documents in seconds eliminating the manual retrieval of reports. Automating report delivery to your knowledge workers increases their productivity and the company’s bottom line.

o Streamlines Report Access from Multiple Systems as RM Plus provides a single access point to all report types, no matter where they came from. Whether they are mainframe reports, UNIX applications or Windows Server application reports RM Plus will capture them and make them easily and almost instantly available.

o Data contained in reports is easily found, viewed and securely stored to prevent unauthorized viewing and it is easy for document sharing to take place amongst multiple people.

o Mine and export data in reports to other applications like Excel for further data analysis.

o Creates One Centralized Report Management Repository that is very cost effective. Your users learn one system to access all their archived reports.

o Why RM Plus Report Management?

Here’s why report distribution and management makes sense, especially with the cost effective solution from Plus Technologies:

Eliminates printing distributing and storing of enterprise reports – Significant cost reductions associated with electronic vs physical distribution of reports

No more printer costs, binders, file cabinets consuming floor space, or courier expenses – Improve the bottom line and increase velocity of delivery of business critical report data

Quickly view Reports online, virtually immediately after report is created – Multiple people have access to the same report immediately and simultaneously improving access to business critical data

Data contained in reports is easily found and extracted – Extract data from reports electronically and import into spreadsheets or databases for further analysis. No more re-keying report data

Securely manage who viewed a report and when – No unauthorized viewing of reports for compliance or business reasons

Other Solutions

OM Plus – is advanced, intelligent spooling software designed to seamlessly complement application software programs used by corporations and institutions. Without impacting the application software program, OM Plus will ingest outgoing enterprise print jobs and provide advanced job delivery functions. OM Plus will provide ‘confirmed delivery’ of documents and provide an enterprise level monitor of all print jobs and destinations. In addition, OM Plus provides users and/or administrators a host of tools to automate the printing function. OM Plus users receive benefit from increased help desk productivity, centralized control of print environment, intelligent routing, reduced print related errors, printing assurance, increased security and more.