Systems Administration Software
My approach to Systems Administration is
- Develop a policy describing the services provided
- Develop procedures to implement those policies
- Write programs to automate those procedures
Automation increases customer satisfaction by allowing them to
get things done themselves rather than having to ask someone to
do it for them. It also frees the support staff for things
that can't be automated, like answering questions and providing
- prod (PROcess Daemon) continuously monitors the running
processes and implements policies by renicing or killing
processes and sending messages to users. Now I don't need to
watch "top" 24 hours a day. I hear that Sun has come up with a
product that does this sort of thing, but prod has been working
for me for almost a decade, so I'm not in a hurry to switch.
- Why call or send mail to
with a question when you get the answer in just seconds
yourself, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
- This program goes through a home directory and suggests what
files might be removed or compressed. When someone asks, "Why
am I over quota?", clean-acct will patiently spend
as much time as the person wants.
- It's 3:00 AM. It looks like you'll be able to make that 9:00
deadline. But you just hit your disk quota. Give up? Wake up
a SysAdmin at home? No, just run raisequota.
- If mail is delivered directly into a person's home directory,
then it will get lost if the person is over quota. If mail is
delivered into a separate spool directory, it will get through
even when the recipient is over their quota. But, if the spool
fills up then no one can receive mail.
mailcop reminds people to delete their old mail or
save it into their home directory. If necessary,
mailcop will move a person's oldest messages for
them. This is better than quotas, because incoming mail is