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I have a group of "application administrators" who manage a fairly large student information system. The group as it stands has daily interaction with a UNIX prompt (mainly AIX, but some Linux and Solaris). However, the access used is solely to maintain the application and the urge to jump outside of that box to check system logs, etc. is just not there.

We will soon be moving everything into a RedHat based environment. I would like to recommend some sort of training that will help them get more comfortable with the "system administration" side of the operating system. We have system administrators who manage and patch the systems for us, but I need our team to be proficient enough to do initial troubleshooting and even some application-specific system configuration work. Our UNIX admins are very proficient at what they do, but they do it for way more systems than just ours and the goal is to get our team to a point where we can do troubleshooting that is relevant within the context of our application. We cannot expect our UNIX admins to have the understanding of our apps the way we do -- so we want to bridge the gap and know enough of the Linux side to help them help us if it gets to that point.

I've seen classes and (some free) online training materials, but they range from really simple shell commands (which these folks already grasp), to GUI based Linux administration, to "fundamentals" courses which go into grave detail about setting up OpenLDAP services as part of core OS training.

Does anyone know of any training resources (class based or online) which would benefit people who need to be comfortable with some higher level system administration tasks but don't need to be full blown Linux admins?

If I were to put together a list of specific concepts, this would be it:

  • RHEL 5.x file system layout
  • Log files and how to derive useful information from logs
  • Strategies for looking at system resource utilization (and understanding what is being displayed)
  • An introduction to /etc, the init.d system, controlling services, etc.

Like I said, these are app admins who need to take a bit more ownership of the applications being run by being able to take a peek under the hood, so to speak. They don't need to know the ins and out of ext3, running fsck, and other lower level tasks, but a good grasp at how to troubleshoot the system with the resources the OS provides.

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I highly recommend Red Hat training classes. Not only are the classes very thorough, the instructors are also very knowledgeable. I always learn cool tips and tricks from the instructors that you wouldn't get from just reading the course material alone. They are a little pricey, but I felt like it was worth it.

Red Hat Training

Red Hat Systems Administration Curriculum

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