Monday, August 2, 2010

System admin favorite tools

Hi there, I stopped for a moment thinking to all the tools that I use for my everyday sysadmin work. There are many. So many that sometimes I wonder how much time it took me to get to know them, to try and see if they did what I expected and, finally, to learn every single option and switch by heart in order to work faster.
Here's are (IMHO) the best, the ones I suggest to every sysadmin to learn and never forget:
  • process explorer => for Windows, graphical +++
  • process monitor => for Windows, very useful for deep debugging, but causes heavy CPU utilisation...
  • putty => this free and open source terminaal emulator should be preinstalled everywhere
  • psexec => nothing better to run command line command on remote servers, but output very difficult to manage, so learn 2>&1. to redirect standard error to standard output
  • netstat => learn to use te -o and -b switches to get information on owning processes, which is very useful to correlate cpu activity to network activity
  • tcpdump => on unix, keep an eye on network interfaces and never miss the packets you are looking for
  • runas => mainly used in Windows to rise your user level to local administrator
  • compmgmt => much faster then going through the windows start menu and finding the computer management icon !
  • dsquery => talk to active directory like a pro
  • dsmod => same as above...
  • powershell => of course!!!
  • IOmeter => useful to test IO performance on your harddrives
  • ping => icmp, the pillar of network connectivity troubleshooting, everything starts here
  • multiping => application to recursively ping many hosts at the time, can be useful when mass deploying
  • robocopy=> nothing better to be sure your files get copied
  • systeminfo => quick info on your windows systems, locally and remotely
  • uptime => server ruinning time
  • filezilla => go, download those huge files!
  • nmap => does almost everything, very complex, I often use -sS, -A, -O, -R switches
  • dameware => get in touch with remote windows systems when rdp is not there (like in Windows 2000)
  • windbg => welcome to the jungle ! This is the best tool for real windows debugging, for real windows sysadmins! !Poolused, !vm, !poolfind, !pool, .formats, !process, !thread are my best friends in thought times, when paged or non paged pools are short of resources and my servers start doing fancy things as BSOD and everything...
  • vncviewer => same as dameware, somewhat
  • psloglist => show local and remote windows event logs without moving your mouse
  • net sessions => show sessions
  • net files => show network open files
  • net use => map networkd drives
  • vi => unix snadard for text editing, not very much user friendly at the beginning
  • chmod => go modify access rights
  • chown => go take ownership
  • pslist => show running processes ...
  • pskill => ... and kill them
  • netsh => windows beautiful tool especially for resetting winsock
They allow me to do almost anything and make my everyday life much easier administering my mixed environment servers.

Please comment and tell me what you use. I'll be glad to learn or share!

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