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Old 07-08-2015, 07:42 PM   #1
dprotaganist
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Linux Admin vs. User - Where is the line?


What is it that separates the user from the administrator? What is it that is expected from an administrator? Those of you that have been RHELAs, would you be able to share what you do in a typical day?
 
Old 07-08-2015, 07:56 PM   #2
unSpawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dprotaganist View Post
What is it that separates the user from the administrator?
Responsibility, scope, privileges, knowledge. Some users may have the required knowledge and may even act responsibly but most of the time they have limited access to systems or services and are focused solely on causing harm completing their tasks whatever that may be.


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Originally Posted by dprotaganist View Post
What is it that is expected from an administrator?
To keep the whole infrastructure functioning continuously, securely, resiliently and with the best performance, all in the face of current and future threats upstream, supplier, vendor, fellow admin and user SNAFUs.


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Originally Posted by dprotaganist View Post
Those of you that have been RHELAs, would you be able to share what you do in a typical day?
What in deities name is a RHELA?
 
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:03 PM   #3
dprotaganist
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Originally Posted by unSpawn View Post
What in deities name is a RHELA?
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Administrator
 
Old 07-08-2015, 08:21 PM   #4
Fred Caro
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Why single out Red Hat?
 
Old 07-08-2015, 08:36 PM   #5
dprotaganist
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Originally Posted by Fred Caro View Post
Why single out Red Hat?
My understanding is that's what is typically used on a professional level. You can swap "Red Hat" for "Linux" if you want.
 
Old 07-08-2015, 09:01 PM   #6
suicidaleggroll
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The administrator is the one who has administrative privileges. If you don't have administrative privileges, then you're a regular user, plain and simple.

Can users be more technically qualified than administrators? Absolutely. I've been granted user access on Linux systems that are administered by people who know significantly less than I do about Linux administration, but I'm still a user and they're the administrator. I've even had to walk administrators through the process of whitelisting my IP because they didn't set the password on my account properly and I was automatically blacklisted by their denyhosts script, which they didn't even know was installed, how it worked, or how to bypass it once an IP was flagged.

What is expected from an administrator? The administrator is responsible for the system as a whole, including its security, stability, and reliability. The administrator needs to know all of the system's potential vulnerabilities and the measures that are in place to mitigate those vulnerabilities - IE: what ports are open to the LAN, who has access to the LAN and can it be trusted, what ports are open to the public, what services are listening on those ports, are those services up-to-date, what firewall rules are in place to limit access to those ports, what users have access, through what channels do they have access, what permissions do they have once they're in, can secure files be accessed by unauthorized users, what are the repercussions of an authorized user's remote system getting hacked/stolen, how could those vulnerabilities be mitigated, etc. And ultimately, how can the system be configured such that all of the above is reasonably secure while still allowing the users to do their jobs and reducing the administrator's labor requirements to a reasonable level.

Note that there is a fine line between allowing users the freedom to do their jobs and restricting the network adequately to protect it from users being idiots. It's up to the administrator (in cooperation with the CEO/CTO/C?O/Board/Management) to decide where this line needs to be drawn. Startups and small companies often err on the side of trust and freedom, allowing their users the ability to do whatever needs doing to get the job done, within reason. Large companies often err on the side of caution, assuming their users are idiots and clamping down wherever possible to limit the fallout when somebody does something stupid and compromises the network. Neither approach is better than the other, is all about mitigating risk at the expense of users' freedom/havoc-wreaking-ability.

I have no idea what an RHELA is, but I am the administrator for my company's network (it's a small company). My daily tasks rarely have anything at all to do with IT or Linux administration, they're typically focused on what I was actually hired for - data analysis and embedded systems development (hardware and software). When I do need to put on my administrator hat, It's typically to add a user to the system, update a user's permissions, add a new shared directory for a project that's accessible by all authorized users, install a new library or program that's required by one or more of the users for a project, or simple routine updates.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 07-08-2015 at 09:11 PM.
 
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:12 PM   #7
frankbell
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suicidaleggroll's description is excellent.

The brief version is this.

The administrator (root in Linux) has power to do everything and anything in the system. This includes power to break the system.

Users (members of the "user" group in Linux) are allowed to run programs and manage data files in their home directories, but they cannot install, remove, modify, or access system files, programs, or processes. Users may have additional privileges granted to them if root makes them members of various groups which have additional privileges, such as the "wheel" group (I learned this week that the term, "wheel," is derived from the expression "big wheel," and has nothing to do with mouse wheels).
 
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:17 AM   #8
Vernicronz
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HI dprotaganist,

being a sysadmin/RHELA or whatever you call it (linux admin/engineer/technician) - the work revolves around the operating systems of Linux/Unix systems - from overall systems administrations , troubleshooting, providing after hour support , storage allocation , security on files/folders , provisioning of quota , commissioning and decommissioning of servers , storage , sometimes network switch, ddos firewalls, iptables firewall and some capacity planning , DR ..... hope this helps
 
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:47 PM   #9
dprotaganist
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What kind of servers in Linux used for? Email? Gaming? Storage? Is it a universal tool?
 
Old 07-09-2015, 04:17 PM   #10
rokytnji
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dprotaganist View Post
What kind of servers in Linux used for? Email? Gaming? Storage? Is it a universal tool?
Ewwww. 20 questions. Yes.
 
Old 07-09-2015, 07:08 PM   #11
RockDoctor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dprotaganist View Post
What kind of servers in Linux used for? Email? Gaming? Storage? Is it a universal tool?
All kinds. Yes. Yes. Yes. No (some people use Windows)
 
Old 07-09-2015, 10:31 PM   #12
Vernicronz
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hello dprotaganist,

many kind of servers are there - depending on business needs.
I am bit familiar only with HP servers - and i can name a few types.

low/medium class servers
================
#HP Proliant ( rack mounting and tower types )

#HP Blades & RX Series ( RX series maybe stopped from production now)

High End class
=========
#HP Integrity Superdomes (extremely powerful machines!)

Storage types
=========
#HP DAS (direct attached storage)
#HP 3PAR
#EMC / Hitachi (Non-HP)

But there are other brands too - like DELL , IBM , Sunmicrosystems (now ORACLE) ,

Network Switch
==========
#HP
#Cisco
 
Old 07-09-2015, 10:36 PM   #13
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vernicronz View Post
hello dprotaganist,

many kind of servers are there - depending on business needs.
I am bit familiar only with HP servers - and i can name a few types.
The term "server" refers to what the machine does, not who makes it or what model it is. A raspberry pi can be a perfectly adequate server for many different services if it's set up as such.

When a company markets a machine as a "server", they're basically saying that it's good at high bandwidth I/O and number crunching, crappy at video, and is loud and obnoxious. There's no reason any other system can't be used as a server as well, it's just that "servers", as marketed by the groups you mentioned, can really only do that, they're ill-equipped for much else. In other words, a "workstation" would be perfectly suited for server duty, but you'll never find a "server" pulling workstation duty...it would be horrible for everyone involved.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 07-09-2015 at 10:41 PM.
 
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