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What are all the important topics that should be covered in System administration ? Kindly list out the topics, and some links that can help me out in reading about it.

When it comes to Perl scripting, i will say the following are important topics ( exclude OOPerl ... ) - Pure PERL scripting,

  • perl basics ( syntax, control structures )
  • all datastructures ( list, hash, nested )
  • regular expressions ( all quantifiers, flags, capturing, non capturing .. )
  • all built ins ( map, grep, etc.. )
  • module writing & usage,

The same way(along with links) can somebody list out the topics that makes a system administration ( i prefer Linux sysadmin ) complete ?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 29 '10 at 18:00

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This question is poorly asked and I voted to close. But please do see this question, it may have what you want. serverfault.com/questions/9766/… Also take a moment and browse around the rest of this site. –  Zoredache Jul 29 '10 at 22:39

2 Answers 2

From a high level the basics are security, recovery and security. I say security twice because it encompasses a lot of topics.

Additionally, some of this is context specific.

For example, security contains networking aspects of your machine. Iptables for example. It also encompasses your user administration. Ie. have you disabled root logins?

Security also could technically encompass system maintenance in the sense of are you regularly updating your machine to have the most current patches and fixes. Additionally, have you removed all packages on your system and disabled all services that you are not using and are not required for the server to do its job.

Recovery is more in terms of do you have a backup plan if your server goes down. Your server can go down in two ways broadly speaking. Hardware & software failures. Each are different.

In terms of hardware, are you using raid and also backing up to protect your servers data? Do you have a spare hard drive in case a drive in your raid array goes bad so you can replace it before you lose another? In terms of software, if this is a production server that requires high uptime... are you using a "staging server" to perform updates and "test" things before applying updates/patches to production server.

There is a lot to administration but my thoughts are somewhat biased to web server administration.

Long story short, it is about crossing your t's and dotting your i's.

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That is a tricky question, Systems Administration is a very broad topic. Can you give us some more information about the position you are in (or want). I assume based on the tags you are only interested in the Linux side.

The problem is that a sysadmins job is very tool based. I could tell you to learn about managing apache, but if you job uses lighthttpd or nginx then it wont help you much. I would read the index of "The Practice of System and Network Administration" by Tom Limoncelli and that will list the general topics better than i ever could. Here are some of the broad topics I have worked on (full time linux admin for years)

Web servers -be comfortable with how to install configure and manage the webservers your company uses, apache, tomcat, nginx, lighty, websphere, etc

Email -sendmail postfix qmail etc -how to create strong policies and not expose yourself can be googled

Database -be comfortable with basic sql -know how to install and manage the database as well as basics of tuning the OS to support a database by changing open file limits and swappiness etc

Language compilers, VM's, linkers -This one is tribal and changes anywhere you go. As long as you know how to install from source and ideally roll your own packages you should be able to handle this -php ruby java python c c++ and a thousand others, again changes depending on the shop

Virtualization -if it is used, take your pick of vmware, xen, kvm, etc

Backups -Server backups, user desktop backups, database backups

SECURITY -This one is unique in that is it less about tools and more about policy. Reading the sys admin books by Tom Limoncelli are a great start on how to create a policy, enforce it, and still maintain your sanity

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