Monitor Unix and Linux with Microsoft

Sean Michael Kerner is at Interop in Las Vegas where Microsoft has announced that their new Microsoft System Center Operations Manager allows you to monitor Unix and Linux systems.

Shilmover showed a live demo of Microsoft’s tool actually managing a Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and a MySQL database server. To be honest I’ve never seen anything like it before –  Microsoft demonstrating how it can manage Linux and Open Source technologies.

Microsoft is finally acknowledging that the open source and Linux/Unix world is slowly becoming the norm.  Instead of sitting back, they are coming up with new business models to adapt.  I suppose this is a good thing, but who really wants to use Windows to manager their Linux and Unix servers?

Read Sean Kerners article here.

2006 Sysadmin Of The Year Award

Congratulations to Michael Beck from Emerging Technologies Group for winning the Sysadmin Of The Year award.

Here’s an excerpt from the website:

He has been responsible for the complete build out of 2 of our office spaces that exceeded 100+ workstations, all related network infrastructure, security features, and general business furniture and office equipment required to establish the “walk in and go to work” office spaces required.

Mr. Beck won a Flight to Washington D.C. (ARV: approximately $500), LISA Conference pass (ARV: $1800) and 1 year 2GB per day Splunk software license (ARV: $2500).

Congrats to the all of the contestants and good luck next year!

So, your network is behind a firewall, and your system is hardened? Have you took a moment to think about the actual physical security of your network and machines? Though an unlikely risk in a home based environment, it is important to consider physical attacks as a factor to prevent. In this article, I will go over two easy to do tasks that will move your system(s) another step closer to physical security. Read the rest of this entry

Setting up a Syslog Server

One very important aspect of computer security and hack prevention is the collection and assessment of system log files. In the mind of a hacker, when gaining unlawful entry to a system their first instinct is to cover all traceable tracks. This means deleting log files and possibly even setting up backdoors to enter again at will sometime later in the future. It is important, as a system administrator, to ensure that even if your system has been broken into or tampered with, that you have traceable evidence to figure out exactly what went wrong, and where it went wrong. Hackers tend to tamper with system logs making this sometimes impossible to figure out. Setting up a remote syslog server for all of your servers to send their logs to is how we can ensure that your logs will be completely accurate and un tampered with.

The syslog server configured in this example is an old 486 with an 8GB hard drive, running Slackware Linux 10.2. However, the configuration and commands will work for just about any Linux distribution.

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SSH + Screen = Easy Administration

I have access to a numerous amount of Linux machines for work and personal matters. Instead of having a ton of different SSH or PuTTY windows open, each connected to a server that I administrate, I decided to use screen to connect to all of them, and manage each one in a different screen window.

Before getting into my screen configuration, its also important to note that on top of my screen setup, I have also configured SSH to authenticate via SSH keys, so I wouldn’t have to always type the password when admining from my “playbox”.

Here is how I set up SSH keys.

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