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Defining the System Administrator's Job

The system administrator's job is to keep the software (and perhaps hardware) functioning for a stand-alone system or for a set of systems on a network so that others can use the systems.

Typical duties of system administrators vary, depending on the number of systems supported and how the duties are divided up. It is not uncommon for system administrators to be experts in administering one or more areas and be inexperienced in others. Some administrators specialize in network administration, others in user accounts, and still others in areas such as printing.

The following list of typical system administration duties are described in part or in full in this book.

  • graphics/new.gif Installing systems.

    • Understanding Flash Install.

    • Understanding Live Upgrade.

  • Understanding shells.

    • Using generic shell commands.

    • Using Bourne shell commands.

    • Using C shell commands.

    • Using Korn shell commands.

  • Administering user and group accounts.

    • Adding user accounts.

    • Removing user accounts.

    • Changing user account information.

    • Creating new group accounts.

    • Using Solaris User Registration.

  • Administering roles.

    • Granting users superuser permissions for specific tasks.

    • Creating, modifying, and deleting roles.

  • Administering file systems.

    • Understanding the types of file systems.

    • Mounting and unmounting file systems.

    • Checking file system consistency.

    • Backing up and restoring files and file systems.

    • Creating cache file systems.

  • Administering devices.

    • Understanding device autoconfiguration.

    • graphics/new.gif Allocating devices.

    • graphics/new.gif Understanding SCSI and PCI hot-plugging.

    • Using DVD-ROM devices.

    • Using tape cartridges.

    • graphics/new.gif Using Jaz or Zip drives.

    • graphics/new.gif Writing CD discs.

    • Understanding Volume Management.

    • Formatting diskettes.

    • Monitoring disk use.

    • Administering disks.

    • Understanding the Service Access Facility.

    • Setting up and using a bidirectional modem.

  • Administering systems.

    • Finding system information.

    • Creating local mail aliases.

    • Configuring additional swap space.

    • Administering the system date and time.

  • Administering network services.

    • graphics/new.gif Configuring systems for a network.

    • Finding network information.

    • Transferring files between systems.

    • Administering NIS+ databases.

    • Displaying network statistics.

    • Displaying network configuration information.

    • Understanding the IPv6 Internet protocol.

    • graphics/new.gif Displaying packet contents.

    • graphics/new.gif Using the Secure Shell.

  • Administering printing.

    • Setting up a print client and print server.

    • Using printing commands.

  • Recognizing file access problems.

    • Identifying problems with search paths.

    • Solving problems with permission and ownership.

    • Locating problems with network access.

The organization of this book matches the tasks listed above. To accomplish these tasks, you need to know when and how to perform the following tasks.

  • Gain full access to all file systems and resources.

  • Communicate with users.

  • Shut down and start up systems.

  • Monitor processes.

However, information about the following system administration tasks is beyond the scope of this book.

  • Installing system software.

  • Installing third-party software.

  • Setting up and administering network services.

  • Setting up and administering mail services.

  • Adding and removing hardware.

  • Administering security and accounting.

  • Monitoring system and network performance.

The rest of the sections in this chapter, which describe how to accomplish the system administrator's tasks, introduce some basic commands and administrative tools.

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