Systems Administrator’s Lab: Cacti Development

Background Today, I finally took the time to update a Cacti Data Query which I wrote a while back. When I took a look at it, I found out that it was never actually working for other people strait out of the box. This data query graphs BGP prefixes, messages received and messages sent. I

KVM Virtualization 201

  Background In my original post KVM Virtualization 101 and my second post KVM Virtualization 102, I explained some basic commands that are necessary to get on using KVM and some features for tuning KVM. In this article I move on to some of the more advanced problems when converting existing Linux machines from a

KVM Virtualization 102

  Background In my original post KVM Virtualization 101 I explained some basic commands that are necessary to get on using KVM. In this article I move on to some slightly more obscure topics in using KVM.   Routine Operations CPU Type When you are operating in a KVM virtual machine the processor will report

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part3

Background In Part 1, I described a method of documentation where the introduction of the system is made using the documentation. This builds consensus, enculturates an operations group, and provides a platform unto which more automation can be built. In Part 2, I elaborated on the ideas of Bootstrapping & Rooting, Self Service Culture, and

The Systems Administrator’s Lab

Recently, I listened to an O'Reilly webcast called "The Myths of Innovation" where Scott Berkun discussed the concept of a lab. He showed a picture of Edison's lab which showed wooden tables, lamps, and beakers. Systems administrators are also inventors.  We are required to script, program, and configure exotic servers and equipment. To discover new solutions, we need a lab. This is especially true with cloud computing and virtual infrastructure where machines are created and destroyed in a very transient manner.  You need a lab to track all of the successful and failed experiments.

KVM Virtualization 101

Background For those of you who are familiar with virtualization, KVM is a hypervisor which is built into the Linux Kernel. This allows a Linux desktop or server to simulate multiple pieces of hardware, which can then have different operating systems installed. KVM uses the QEMU virtual machine format. QEMU may be familiar to those

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 2

Background In Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 1, I laid out a blueprint for using documentation as the bootstrap for entry into an operations environment. In this article I will dig into the three main concepts mentioned in Part 1. In Part 3, I will demonstrate our use case for a data center of about

Bootstrapping and Rooting Documentation: Part 1

Bootstrapping and rooting are two concepts often associated with computing, but not the documentation of computing environments. Sometimes concepts such as these are called design patterns and I would like to try and introduce a new pattern called Documentation Bootstrapping. I think this is a critical pattern for the creation of any successful and useful documentation.

Unix/Linux Signals 101

Background Unix/Linux allows a user to have control over a program that they are running by sending what are called signals. These signals are then normally handled by the program in a way that is compliant with Unix/Linux standards. Two of the most important signals that are commonly sent to a program are called SIGTERM

Unix/Linux Filesystem Permissions 101

Background Standard Unix filesystem permissions are less complex than Windows file system permissions and Linux ACLs. Though, this lacks flexibility which is sometimes needed, In many cases it can be leveraged as an advantage. Often the complexity of ACLs can allow administrators to create file system permissions which are cumbersome to audit and document. The