Questions asking for best practices in a given field. Be aware, that sometimes there might be no generally accepted best practices, in which case the question is likely to be closed for being subjective.

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101
votes
8answers
17k views

Best practice: Should I always install a fresh OS for new employees?

I had an argument with a superior about this. Though at first glance the prior user of a laptop only did work in his own documents-folders, should I always install a new OS for the next user or is ...
97
votes
18answers
11k views

What sysadmin things should every programmer know?

As a programmer, we tend to take sysadmins for granted. The few times I've been without a good sysadmin have really made me appreciate what you guys do. When we're venturing into an environment ...
76
votes
5answers
8k views

How do I protect my company from my IT guy? [closed]

I'm going to hire an IT guy to help manage my office's computers and network. We're a small shop, so he'll be the only one doing IT. Of course, I'll interview carefully, check references, and run a ...
75
votes
6answers
54k views

Top level domain/domain suffix for private network?

At our office, we have a local area network with a purely internal DNS setup, on which clients all named as whatever.lan. I also have a VMware environment, and on the virtual-machine-only network, I ...
68
votes
5answers
4k views

Choosing between meaningful and meaningless hostnames [closed]

Assume an environment with a puppet-managed cluster of different servers - various hardware, software, operating systems, virtual/dedicated, etc. Would you choose meaningful hostnames (mysqlmaster01.....
56
votes
4answers
59k views

Windows Active Directory naming best practices?

After experimenting with Windows domains and domain controllers in a virtual environment, I've realized that having an active directory domain named identically to a DNS domain is bad idea (Meaning ...
46
votes
7answers
6k views

Cable Management Policy

We've all seen good and bad examples of cable management. What are objective, measurable requirements that can be used in a policy to maintain cabling order in the rack/server room/data center? I'...
44
votes
7answers
20k views

Best Practices in Username Standards: Avoiding Problems

I'm interested in finding out what people's experiences with standard usernames is. I've always been in places that used {firstInitial}{lastname} (sometimes with a length-limit). Now I've users that ...
40
votes
15answers
2k views

Should I keep my ex-employer's data? [closed]

Following my brief reign as System Monkey, I am now faced with a dilemma: I did successfully create a backup and a test VM, both on my laptop, as no computer at work had enough free disk space. I ...
35
votes
8answers
25k views

Should I expose my Active Directory to the public Internet for remote users?

I have a client whose workforce is comprised entirely of remote employees using a mix of Apple and Windows 7 PCs/laptops. The users don't authenticate against a domain at the moment, but the ...
31
votes
7answers
2k views

What would you do if you realized your email hosting provider could see your passwords?

We received an email last year from our hosting provider regarding one of our accounts- it had been compromised and used to deliver a rather generous helping of spam. Apparently, the user had reset ...
30
votes
7answers
14k views

Is it best practices to have separate login for a domain for domain admins?

I typically like to set up separate logins for myself, one with regular user permissions, and a separate one for administrative tasks. For example, if the domain was XXXX, I'd set up a XXXX\bpeikes ...
29
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I prevent accidentally jacking with a production database?

Just recently, I had a developer accidentally try to restore a database to production, when he should have been restoring to a staging copy. It's easy to do, given that the db names are similar, i.e., ...
26
votes
12answers
45k views

Active Directory: delete vs. disable departed employees [closed]

When an employee leaves your organization, do you delete or disable their Active Directory account? Our SOP is to disable, export/purge the Exchange mailbox, and then after "some time" has elapsed (...
23
votes
9answers
2k views

A partner wants a copy of our written IT security policy and I'm not sure what to do [closed]

My company is working with another company and as part of the contract they are requesting a copy of my company's written IT Security Policy. I don't have a written IT security policy, and I'm not ...
20
votes
9answers
2k views

Best practices for backup checking?

It is a common situation, when administrator makes system for automatic backuping and forgets it. Only after a system fails administrator notices, that backup system has broken before or backups are ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

Bad to be logged in as admin all the time?

At the office where I work, three of the other members of the IT staff are logged into their computers all the time with accounts that are members of the domain administrators group. I have serious ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

Where do companies typically store SSL certificates for future use?

We recently bought a wildcard SSL cert for our domain. We converted all of the certs to a Java keystore, but now we are asking ourselves where we should store these for later use. Do people use ...
18
votes
3answers
8k views

Naming a new Active Directory forest - why is split-horizon DNS not recommended?

Hopefully, we all know what the recommendations for naming an Active Directory forest are, and they're pretty simple. Namely, it can be summed up in a single sentence. Use a subdomain of an existing,...
17
votes
8answers
959 views

What is the system administration equivalent to dogfooding?

Software developers have the concept of "dogfooding", which is where they personally use the software that they are developing, often on a regular basis. For some projects, the direct interaction it ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

How to correctly move a server inside a rack up and down

Maybe a bit stupid question, but Sometimes (rarely but it happens) I need to move a server in a rack 1-2U up or down. What do you think, which of the ways is the most correct and useful and why? ...
15
votes
4answers
74k views

Best Practice: vCPUs per physical core

I am trying to find some documentation or best practice guides for virtualization with respect to provisioning vCPUs per physical core (of a CPU). If it matters, I am looking at vmWare for the ...
14
votes
4answers
758 views

IT lead does not have a backup, DR plan in writing [closed]

This is a general management question to IT managers out there. We are a small firm with about 4 servers in our colo cabinent. No full time IT manager. But we do have one person on monthly contract ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

How bad is it to run Exchange 2016 on a Windows 2012 R2 domain controller for a small organization with assuredly fewer than 25 users?

I know that it has been officially unsupported forever and yet I have seen or heard about many small business installations of a single host running AD DS and Exchange simultaneously. For a resource-...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

In Puppet, how would I secure a password variable (in this case a MySQL password)?

I am using Puppet to provision MySQL with a parameterised class: class mysql::server( $password ) { package { 'mysql-server': ensure => installed } package { 'mysql': ensure => ...
12
votes
4answers
43k views

How do you diagnose packet loss?

I realise this is very subjective and dependent on a number of variables, but I'm wondering what steps most folks go through when they need to diagnose packet loss on a given system?
12
votes
5answers
23k views

A secure, standard iptables rule-set for a basic HTTP(s) webserver

I have been trying to put together a basic server iptables script that will work for most sites just running a basic webserver using HTTP(S) and SSH (ports 80, 443, & 22). After all, most VPS only ...
12
votes
2answers
17k views

What Are The Best Practices For Business Folder Structure?

We've tended in the past towards having departmental folders (Sales, Marketing, etc) on a single share and then adding folders below these ad-hoc as and when they're needed. It's gotten a bit messy - ...
11
votes
2answers
472 views

Outlook Email Abuse - Guide for email etiquette?

I've spent a lot of time performing mail migrations for companies that either had very little IT focus, or no fulltime staff to handle common issues. As a result, policies governing email use and best-...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Server room wiring questions

I'm looking at rewiring our server room to be more presentable, organized, and easier to troubleshooting. Right now we currently have 4 HP racks (don't know the model right now). We do not have a ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Best practices for settings for Oracle database creation

When installing an Oracle Database, what non-default settings would you normally apply (or consider applying) ? I'm not after hardware dependent setting (eg memory allocation) or file locations, but ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Best practice for automated Linux updates

We are working on a way to perform automatic updates for our RHEL/RHEL-based servers. Initial idea: Using Puppet, we disable the default repositories and point to our own. Then, we use ensure => ...
10
votes
5answers
677 views

Tips to gracefully take over a (UNIX) production server

After months of neglect, e-mail flames and management battles our current sysadmin was fired and handed over "the server credentials" to me. Such credentials consist in a root password and nothing ...
10
votes
3answers
643 views

Cisco ASA and multiple VLANs

I currently manage 6 Cisco ASA devices (2 pairs of 5510s and 1 pair of 5550s). They all work quite nicely and are stable so this is more of a best-practice advice question rather then "OMG it's ...
9
votes
7answers
914 views

C:\ is for OS, D:\ is for Data?

"Back in the day" we always segregated our OS drives (in Windows) from our Data drives. In the Linux world, although I am much less familiar with it, I am aware that the wisdom dictates even more ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Best strategy to keep chef cookbooks versions under control

I'm looking for ideas about chef cookbooks versions management. I know that you pin specific versions in the environment, but I'm not sure how to go about it. We use librarian-chef which installs 3rd ...
9
votes
1answer
856 views

What are the best practices for service accounts?

We're running several services in our company using a shared domain account. Unfortunately, the credentials for this account are widely distributed and being used frequently for both service and non-...
8
votes
3answers
671 views

What are some best practices when taking over IT at a new company? [closed]

I thought this would make for a good topic with some interesting suggestions. What are the first things you would do when taking over IT at a new organization? What are some red flags you would look ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Nagios server best practices?

I run a medium-sized Nagios server. It monitors roughly 40 servers with 180 services currently and is only growing by the day. I migrated from an old Nagios setup that was configured in a very ...
8
votes
6answers
12k views

Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Annual Sysadmin Tasks

This should probably be community wiki. I'm trying to come up with a list of all the sysadmin tasks that we should be doing on a regular basis because I believe we're not doing enough at our company. ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I load-balance a load balancer?

I'm about to convert a single-server single-database web application into a physically distributed high-available configuration with servers on two physical locations (for now). Now, obviously, I need ...
8
votes
1answer
959 views

Best practice for Exchange 2010 HA topology considering 6 x Exchange licenses and TMG 2010

What would be best topology considering that: 6 x Exchange 2010 Standard Licenses 2 x Separate locations that are supposed to support redundancy in case of link problems 4 x Forefront TMG 2010 with ...
8
votes
1answer
909 views

How to manage Nagios dependencies on big clusters?

I'm using quite a big nagios configuration (about 4000 services), without any dependencies. This results in a huge mess of notifications when something goes wrong. I try to look for best practices ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Maintenance page on nginx, best practices

I want to configure the server to show a maintenance page when it exist. I tried this code and works: location / { try_files /maintenance.html $uri $uri/ @codeigniter; } But I noticed it would ...
7
votes
2answers
398 views

Transition away from Domain Admin only account

In our Windows environment, our Domain Admins only have one user account. This single user account is used across the board including running on a day to day workstation. In our transition away from ...
7
votes
2answers
609 views

As an admin, what tools do you use to log what you do to your boxes? [closed]

I am more of a linux applications developer than an admin. Over time, I've built servers and maintained them, sometimes to offer services, mostly just to develop the applications I work on. Way back ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

GPO best practices : Security-Group Filtering Versus OU

Good afternoon everyone, I'm quite new to Active Directory stuff. After upgraded Functional level of our AD from 2003 to 2008 R2 (I need it to put fine-grained password policy), I then start to ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

System administration standard [closed]

I have been given the responsibility to manage a team of 4 system admins. They are managing 70+ servers. They don't yet have written processes/procedures/practices. I don't much about system ...
6
votes
3answers
332 views

Is there already a recommended IPv6 Firewall setup?

I'd like to switch from private-IPv4-subnet-behind-NAT to IPv6, but of course I have no intention of exposing my users' workstations "unprotected" to the net. Some obvious points up-front: Allow ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Distinguish Between Users and Service Accounts in Active Directory

Question Is there a "correct" / standard way to distinguish Service Accounts from User Accounts in AD? More Info In certain scenarios we have systems running under AD Credentials (i.e. under a ...