Feeds

You don't have to be crazy to work here

Webmin saves sysadmins from the loony bin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Sysadmin blog Webmin’s (see my last post if you don’t know what I’m talking about) strength flows from a plethora of modules which allow you to configure and control most elements of the underlying operating system. Common applications - for example, Apache - also have officially-supported modules that ship with the main Webmin installer.

In addition, there is an active community of developers who create Webmin modules for almost any server application you can imagine. Think of it as the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), except that it supports Linux and Solaris as well as Windows. Unlike the Microsoft MMC, Webmin does not require a Windows computer: all you need is a browser.

The range of system control modules is impressive. There is an excellent set of network configuration tools that I find easier to use than the native interfaces on many operating systems. User administration, scheduled task management and resource management deserve accolades too.

Log file management is a snap; there’s a module for that too. I use the log file viewer and its search utility daily, because I don’t enjoy hunting through /var/log/maillog to identify a single email amidst millions using a text editor.

File and disk management is nearly complete. There is an excellent Norton Commander-alike Java-based file manager for those who eschew SSH for basic file tasks. Volume and file system management is done well, as are the modules for mounting or sharing file systems. The frustrating exception to Webmin’s file and disk management completeness is the lack of a DRBD module.

Webmin has modules allowing you to configure and manage clustering. Clustering systems has traditionally been a special magic power reserved for those who type arcane things into a command line and mutter to themselves a lot. With Webmin, I can configure and manage most elements of a cluster with ease, but the lack of a DRBD module does throw a few roadblocks up when trying to create a “perfect” Linux cluster.

To Apache: while I consider the ability to edit httpd.conf by hand a critical skill of any webserver admin, Apache is far more than just httpd.conf. In most operating systems, elements of the configuration have spun off into ssl.conf, php.conf and many others. Webmin brings administration of those files into one place, and gives you an easy-to-use push-button interface as a bonus.

I rely on Linux-based spam servers to sanitise e-mail before it hits my Exchange servers. Webmin ships with mail management modules. Sendmail’s configuration files were designed to be modified by people who think in regular expressions, and so I find the Sendmail module to be a salvation. Without Webmin and its Sendmail module, creating and administering my spam servers would be arduous and maybe impossible.

If you area a systems administrator looking to deploy, or charged with maintaining, a Linux or Solaris system, see if a Webmin module exists for the services you use; it may be critical for your sanity. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.