This eBook will educate system managers on how to best approach the complex realm of Linux and UNIX management and performance monitoring. The book will focus on core issues such as configuration management, accounting, and monitoring performance with an eye toward creating a long-term strategy for sustainable growth.

There can be no doubt that UNIX, and Linux in recent years, have come to serve an absolutely vital role in the enterprise environment. More often than not, organizations today have at least one critical application or infrastructure service that runs on UNIX or Linux.

For all of their power and reliability, however, UNIX and Linux systems often increase the complexity of systems management. Managing these systems, especially when they are present in large numbers, can sometimes be overwhelming. And the fact that there are many variants of UNIX and Linux requires staff to learn different tools and techniques for managing each system.

Fortunately, all is not lost. There exists a set of best practices for managing UNIX and Linux systems in any size environment. These best practices address concerns such as systems installation and security hardening, user management, and performance tuning and monitoring, to name just a few.

"Best Practices for Managing Linux and UNIX Servers" provides readers with a blueprint for mastering the set of best practices that address these concerns. Whether you are planning on deploying new UNIX and Linux servers in a small environment, or managing hundreds or thousands of UNIX and Linux servers in an enterprise, "Best Practices for Managing Linux and UNIX Servers" provides you with the insight and foundation to design, deploy, and manage a stable and scalable UNIX and Linux environment using proven principles and practices.

In Chapter 1, "Introducing Best Practices," I'll discuss the business drivers for following best practices, the integral nature of best practices and policy development, and I'll review idiosyncrasies specific to Linux and UNIX. Chapter 2, "Infrastructure and Data Security," will walk you through an initial security policy development specific to Linux and UNIX systems. Implementation will include system installation procedures, server hardening, system updates (patches), system backup and disaster recovery, and user and administrator monitoring.

The single most important function of system administration is the care and feeding of backups. In Chapter 3, "Backup and Restoration," you'll learn how to best tackle this critical function. Chapter 4, "Change Management," will address how to implement change management, maintenance windows, change reporting, and other important elements in change management.

You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. In Chapter 5, " Performance Management," you'll learn how to measure performance baselines, document performance requirements, monitor performance (system-level performance numbers as well as end-to-end response times), and report on the gathered information. This chapter will use an example J2EE server deployment as a case study.

In Chapter 6, "User Management," you'll learn how to maximize staff and users. Maximizing staff and users is key to getting the most from your IT organization because it lets you distribute administrative and reporting responsibilities, which reduces your cost and empowers staff and users.

To keep an eye on the potential for system or application failure, system managers need to approach the task of fault detection and response as a holistic process across the entire Linux and UNIX network infrastructure. In Chapter 7, "Fault Management," I'll discuss how to best define, monitor, and then respond to failure conditions.

The UNIX world is famous for automating tasks. Chapter 8, "Task Automation," will focus on how automating tasks, small and large, can allow staff to focus on bigger picture issues. This chapter also will address how automation can decrease response times to critical events such as failures.

-- Dustin Puryear