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Linux

Sawing Linux Logs with Simple Tools

Post date: April 14, 2005, 12:04 Category: Security Views: 3499 Comments
Tutorial quote: So there you are with all of your Linux servers humming along happily. You have tested, tweaked, and configured until they are performing at their peak of perfection. Users are hardly whining at all. Life is good. You may relax and indulge in some nice, relaxing rounds of TuxKart. After all, you earned it.

Except for one little remaining chore: monitoring your log files. [insert horrible alarming music of your choice here.] You're conscientious, so you know you can't just ignore the logs until there's a problem, especially for public services like Web and mail. Somewhere up in the pointy-haired suites, they may even be plotting to require you to track and analyze all sorts of server statistics.

Not to worry, for there are many ways to implement data reduction, which is what log parsing is all about. You want to slice and dice your logs to present only the data you're interested in viewing. Unless you wish to devote your entire life to manually analyzing log files. Even if you only pay attention to logfiles when you're debugging a problem, having some tools to weed out the noise is helpful.
Linux

Today's Linux screen capture technology

Post date: April 12, 2005, 18:04 Category: Miscellaneous Views: 3253 Comments
Tutorial quote: "I'd like you to help me find out about video screen captures," said one of my editors a while back. "Sure, let me see what's available," I replied. He pointed me to a couple of Web sites to get me started, and here I am a few weeks later ready to share my findings. I'll discuss ways that you can make video clips in Linux, talk about their applications and shortcomings. I'll also cover suitable ways to view your masterpieces once they're recorded.

Video screen captures are useful for jobs like application training, computer instruction, or product demos. An example would be the little one-minute video I set up for my wife. She kept forgetting how to start up Mozilla Mail on her Windows 98 machine. I captured the mouse clicks and screen changes (in real time) as I ran through the process, saving it to a Macromedia Flash file. I then created a little Web page on one of my Apache servers, that described how to start Mozilla Mail and included a link to the Flash file. Instead of asking me how to do it, she can now just click on the video tutorial.
Ubuntu

Setting up an Ubuntu media server

Post date: April 23, 2008, 12:04 Category: Installing Views: 15454 Comments
Tutorial quote: In today's tip I'm going to run through how to setup an Ubuntu media server. First of all, what is Ubuntu. Wikipedia says:

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution for desktops, laptops, and servers. It has consistently been rated among the most popular of the many GNU/Linux distributions. Ubuntu's goals include providing an up-to-date yet stable operating system for the average user and having a strong focus on usability and ease of installation.

It is very much like apache, which I showed you how to setup in my article on how to make your computer into a local server, in that it is commonly used as a server software. Now then, what is a media server?

To refer to Wikipedia again, a media server is

A media server is a computer appliance, ranging from an enterprise class machine providing video on demand, to, more commonly, a small home computer storing various digital media.

Basically, it's just like a local server which stores and shares solely media instead of other types of files. I'll leave the uses of one to your imagination. Let's on with setting it up.
RedHat

My First Linux Server, Part 1

Post date: April 14, 2005, 22:04 Category: Miscellaneous Views: 5332 Comments
Tutorial quote: Many small businesses are turning to Linux as way to swim against the tide of rising software costs. Are you thinking about diving into Linux for your small business? From the outside, Linux can appear to be a deep ocean of strange jargon in unchartered waters. Who has the time to wade through all that to save a few clams? With Linux, it's not a sink or swim proposition.

Linux is now a lot simpler than you may think. We can provide you with the easiest, simplest, no-problem process for installing Linux on a PC. After going through this simple installation process, you will have a basic machine that you can configure into any kind of server, workstation, or office desktop. Future articles in this My First Linux Server series will help you build productive, Linux-based servers and small office workstations.

The best choices for your first Linux machine are probably the popular Red Hat Linux or SUSE Linux, primarily because both are easy to install and configure. Additionally, these companies are sound choices for the home office or small business. Both vendors have specialized in Linux for many years and offer full corporate product lines supporting your expansion.
Unix+clones

Easy Automated Snapshot-Style Backups with Linux and Rsync

Post date: February 1, 2006, 00:02 Category: Software Views: 4037 Comments
Tutorial quote: This document describes a method for generating automatic rotating "snapshot"-style backups on a Unix-based system, with specific examples drawn from the author's GNU/Linux experience. Snapshot backups are a feature of some high-end industrial file servers; they create the illusion of multiple, full backups per day without the space or processing overhead. All of the snapshots are read-only, and are accessible directly by users as special system directories. It is often possible to store several hours, days, and even weeks' worth of snapshots with slightly more than 2x storage. This method, while not as space-efficient as some of the proprietary technologies (which, using special copy-on-write filesystems, can operate on slightly more than 1x storage), makes use of only standard file utilities and the common rsync program, which is installed by default on most Linux distributions. Properly configured, the method can also protect against hard disk failure, root compromises, or even back up a network of heterogeneous desktops automatically.
Linux

The Serial Console

Post date: April 14, 2005, 13:04 Category: Hardware Views: 4019 Comments
Tutorial quote: In these modern times, a hardworking admin might be tempted to turn her back on the Old Ways, and indulge in increasingly exotic methods of interfacing with servers: SSH over ethernet, USB, Firewire, wireless, infrared, KVM switches, VNC, VPN... next stop: direct neural implants.

There's one old timer that still has useful place in the admin's tool kit: the serial console. Sure, it's slow and funky. But there are times it can be a real lifesaver. When nothing else works, it's a direct pipeline into your system. It's simple and cheap. You don't need to install drivers or expansion cards, it's just there.

Administration via serial console is common in data centers. Just imagine the nightmare of trying to connect all those rack units to keyboards and displays. The cabling can be extended to a nice comfortable ops center (well, an ops center, anyway). (This Lantronix Console Manager is an example of the type of device used to administer these.)

There are a number of ways to make the physical connection. You can connect an external modem--the kind us old timers fondly refer to as "real" modems--and do remote administration via dialup. It couldn't be any simpler, just dial direct. Or grab a null modem cable, connect to a laptop or a nearby workstation, and you have an instant terminal.
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