System Administration is a branch of Information Technology that deals with reliable operation of multi-user computer systems and servers. A person who is responsible for reliable operation of multiuser computer system and server is called System Administrator.
A System Administrator whose area of expertise is Linux is called Linux System Administrator. A typical Linux System Administrator role may vary over a large aspect of things which may include but not restricted to – Hardware Maintenance, System Maintenance, User Administration, Network Administration, System Performance, Resource utilization Monitoring, Backup, Ensure Security, Update System, Implement Policies, Documentation, Application Installation and blah, blah, blah…
There is a Quote in Information Technology Field – “A Programmer is known when he/she do something good while an Administrator is known if he/she does something bad.” It is always good to be an unknown administrator than a known administrator. Why? because if you are known, it means your setup don’t work as it should and you are called often for assistance and fixing.
There are three rules that every System Administrator must follow and should never break.
- Rule 1 : Backup Everything
- Rule 2 : Master Command Line
- Rule 3 : Automate task probably using any Scripting Language or Shell Script
Analyze # Rule 1
Why Backup Everything? Well you never know when the server or a file system may start acting strange or the storage unit just collapse. You must have backup of everything so that if something goes wrong you don’t have to break a sweat, just restore.
Analyze # Rule 2
If you are a true Linux Administrator and Understand Linux System you know that you get immense power while using Command Line. While using command Line you have direct access to system calls. Most of the admin work on a headless server (no-GUI) and then Linux Command Line is your only friend and mind it it is more powerful than you believe.
Analyze # Rule 3
Automate task, but why? well an administrator at the first point is lazy and he want to perform various attended task like backup automatically. An Intelligent Administrator would like to automate all his work using some kind of script so that he don’t need to intervene every time. He would schedule backup, log and every other thing possible. As you move up in the levels of System Administration you need scripting not only for automating task but also for looking inside the configuration files and other. Shell Scripting is a Computer Program which can run on UNIX/Linux Shell.
The Shell Scripting (bash scripting) Language is easy and fun. If you know any other Programming Language you would probably understand most of the Shell Scripts and may start writing your’s own very soon. Even if you don’t have knowledge of any programming Language, learning Scripting won’t be any difficult.
There are other Scripting Language like Python, Perl, Ruby etc which provides you with more function and helps you achieve the result easily. But if you are novice and want to start from shell scripting.
Where to Learn Shell Scripting Language?
We have already posted a series of easy to understand articles on shell scripting which you may find in the link below.
We will be extending this series very soon, before that we’ve compiled a list of 4 books on Shell Scripting. These books are free to download and will help you mentoring your shell scripting skills. No matter you are experienced or newbie you must have these handy documents with you if you are in the field of Linux.
1. Bash Guide for Beginners
This book contains a total of 12 chapters spread over 165 pages. This book is written by Machtelt Garrels. This book is must for anyone working on UNIX and like environment. If you are a System Administrator and want to make your life easier this resource is for you. If you are experienced Linux User, this book aims at giving you an insight of the System. The documents are very encouraging and it will help you writing your own scripts. Detailed and wide list of topics covered in easy to understand language is another plus point of this guide.
2. Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
This book contains 38 chapters and spread over 901 pages. Having detailed description of everything you may need to learn yet in language that is easy to understand. This book is written by Mendel Cooper and it contains plenty of practical examples. The tutorial in the book assumes that you don’t have any previous knowledge of scripting and Programming but progress rapidly to intermediate and advanced level of Instruction. The detailed description in the book makes it a self study guide.
3. Shell Scripting: Expert Recipes for Linux
This book is written by Steve Parker. Though you can not download this book completely for free, the first 40 pages are free. It is sufficient to know what the book contains. Personally I am an admirer of Steve for this wonderful piece of guide. His skills and writing style is awesome. Plenty of practical examples, easy to understand theory and his style of presenting adds to the list. The original book is voluminous. You may download the 40 page guide to learn and see if you are going to get around scripting.
4. Linux Shell Scripting Cookbook, Second Edition
This book contains a total of 9 chapters spread over 40 pages. This book is written by Shantanu Tushar who is a GNU/Linux user since his early days. This guide contains a balanced combination of theory and practical. I don’t want you to loose your interest for this 40 page guide which may be life Saviour for you. Download and see how this is useful for you.
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It has lots of books on different domains and by registering once you are entitled to download the whole library and be choosy what you want to have in your library. The above shell scripting books will bring a huge change in your skill and will take you to the next level. So what are you waiting for? Want a career in Linux, want to revamp your skill sets, learn something new and interesting, Download the books, have fun!
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