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Server: SysAdmins, So-called 'Ops', Infrastructure-as-Code (More Buzzwords) and Kubernetes Hype

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  • 5 ops hacks for sysadmins

    As a sysadmin, every day I am faced with problems I need to solve quickly because there are users and managers who expect things to run smoothly. In a large environment like the one I manage, it's nearly impossible to know all of the systems and products from end to end, so I have to use creative techniques to find the source of the problems and (hopefully) come up with solutions.

    This has been my daily experience for well over 20 years, and I love it! Coming to work each day, I never quite know what will happen. So, I have a few quick and dirty tricks that I default to when a problem lands on my lap, but I don't know where to start.

  • Are you being the right person for DevOps?

    What does it mean to be the "right" person in a DevOps environment? That's the question that Josh Atwell, senior tech advocate at Splunk, tried to answer in his Lightning Talk at All Things Open 2019.

    "Being the right person for DevOps is being more than just your ops/dev role," says Josh. "In order to be the right person for DevOps, you have to be improving yourself, and you have to be working to improve for others."

    Watch Josh's Lightning Talk, "Are you being the right person for DevOps?" to learn why you should add communication, selflessness, self-care, and celebration to your list of core DevOps traits.

  • Infrastructure-as-Code mistakes and how to avoid them

    Two industry trends point to a gap in DevOps tooling chosen by many. Operations teams need more than an Infrastructure-as-Code approach, but a complete model-driven operations mentality. Learn how Canonical has addressed these concerns by developing Juju, an open source DevOps tool, to allow it create multiple world-leading products.


    Juju is simple, secure devops tooling built to manage today’s complex applications wherever you run your software. Compute, storage, networking, service discovery and health monitoring come for free and work with Kubernetes, the cloud and the laptop.

    Juju allows your software infrastructure to maintain always-optimal configuration. As your deployment changes, every applications’ configuration operations are dynamically adjusted by charms. Charms are software packages that are run alongside your applications. They encode business rules for adapting to environmental changes.

    Using a model-driven mentality means raising the level of abstraction. Users of Juju quickly get used to a flexible, declarative syntax that is substrate-agnostic. Juju interacts with the infrastructure provider, but operations code remains the same across. Focusing on creating a software model of your product’s infrastructure increases productivity and reduces complexity.

    Automating infrastructure at a low level of abstraction, DevOps has bought the industry from breathing space. But that breathing space is running out.

  • 5 Kubernetes trends to watch in 2020

    “As more and more organizations continue to expand on their usage of containerized software, Kubernetes will increasingly become the de facto deployment and orchestration target moving forward,” says Josh Komoroske, senior DevOps engineer at StackRox.

    Indeed, some of the same or similar catalysts of Kubernetes interest to this point – containerization among them – are poised to continue in 2020. The shift to microservices architecture for certain applications is another example.

Announcing Oracle Linux 7 Update 8 Beta Release

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Red Hat

We are pleased to announce the availability of the Oracle Linux 7 Update 8 Beta release for the 64-bit Intel and AMD (x86_64) and 64-bit Arm (aarch64) platforms. Oracle Linux 7 Update 8 Beta is an updated release that include bug fixes, security fixes and enhancements.

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UEK Release 6 Developer Preview available for Oracle Linux 7 and Oracle Linux 8

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The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK), included as part of Oracle Linux, provides the latest open source innovations, optimizations and security for enterprise cloud workloads. The UEK Release 5, based on the upstream kernel 4.14, is the current UEK release that powers the production workloads on Oracle Linux 7 in the cloud or on-premises.

Linux 5.4 is the Latest Stable Kernel release, and it is the mainline kernel that the UEK Release 6 tracks. You can experiment the UEK Release 6 preview today with Oracle Linux 7 and Oracle Linux 8 on both x86_64 and aarch64 platforms.

The example below is using an Oracle Linux 8 x86_64 instance on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The kernel was upgraded to the UEK Release 6 preview within a few minutes. The same upgrade procedures apply to an Oracle Linux 7 or Oracle Linux 8 instance running on-premises.

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Also: Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 6 Is Tracking Linux 5.4

Red Hat and Servers Leftovers

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Red Hat
  • Satellite Host Configuration with RHEL System Roles Powered by Ansible

    Most of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) system administrators I talk to are looking for ways to further automate tasks in order to save time and make their systems more consistent?this can lead to better reliability and improve security in the environment.

    RHEL System Roles Powered by Ansible is a feature introduced in RHEL 7.4 as a technology preview, and became a supported feature in RHEL 7.6. These system roles allow you to configure several aspects of RHEL: SELinux, kdump, network configuration, and time synchronization. As of RHEL 7.7, a Postfix system role is also available as a technology preview.

    Using RHEL System Roles Powered by Ansible allows you to automate these configurations across your environment. In addition, system roles provide a consistent configuration interface across major RHEL versions. You can use the same system roles to automate the configuration on RHEL 6.10 or later, RHEL 7 and RHEL 8 systems, even when the underlying technologies change between versions.

    For example, for time synchronization, rather than having to learn how to configure ntp on RHEL 6 and how to configure chrony on RHEL 7 and RHEL 8, you just need to know how to use the time synchronization system role. The system role will automatically translate that configuration to ntp on RHEL 6 and chrony on RHEL 7 and 8. This makes management easier and saves time, especially in environments with a mixture of RHEL 6, RHEL 7, and RHEL 8.

  • 6 requirements of cloud-native software

    For many years, monolithic applications were the standard enterprise architecture for achieving business requirements. But that changed significantly once cloud infrastructure began treating business acceleration at scale and speed. Application architectures have also transformed to fit into the cloud-native applications and the microservices, serverless, and event-driven services that are running on immutable infrastructures across hybrid and multi-cloud platforms.

  • Cumulus's Linux to Run Networks for Large HPE Storage Clusters
  • Software Development, Microservices & Container Management – Part IV – About making Choices – CaaSP 4 as SUSE’s empowering of Kubernetes

    Together with my colleague Bettina Bassermann and SUSE partners, we will be running a series of blogs and webinars from SUSE (Software Development, Microservices & Container Management, a SUSE webinar series on modern Application Development), and try to address the former questions and doubts about K8s and Cloud Native development and how it is not compromising quality and control.

  • Peter Czanik: Keeping syslog-ng portable

    I define syslog-ng, as an “Enhanced logging daemon with a focus on portability and high-performance central log collection”. One of the original goals of syslog-ng was portability: running the same application on a wide variety of architectures and operating systems. After one of my talks mentioning syslog-ng, I was asked how we ensure that syslog-ng stays portable when all the CI infrastructure focus on 64bit x86 architecture and Linux.


    Not this often, but I also test syslog-ng git snapshots on FreeBSD. Mostly on AMD64, but sometimes also on Aarch64. Just to make sure that one more operating system outside of Linux and OS X is regularly tested. Why FreeBSD? First of all, I keep using FreeBSD almost from the day it was born, even a few months earlier before I started to use Linux. And it is also the largest platform outside Linux where syslog-ng is used, including some appliances built around FreeBSD.

    Travis announced support for ARM just recently: It needed some extra work on the syslog-ng side, but now each pull request is also tested on ARM before merging. This is not just a simple compile test – as I do most of the time – but it includes unit tests as well.

    Does this approach work? Yes, it seems to work. For example, syslog-ng compiles on all architectures supported by Debian. That also includes MIPS that I only tested with syslog-ng once. And I learned about a new architecture just by checking on which CPU architecture the BMW i3 is using to run syslog-ng Smile It is the SuperH.

Server Monitoring Tools For Linux In 2020

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Welcome to the brand new year of the decade and of course, we are here with the list of server monitoring tools that might be helpful for you in 2020. In fact, this list can be of help for many years to come.

This post is for you if you are looking for a list of server monitoring tools.

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My 5 favorite Linux sysadmin tools

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Every system administrator has a secret and sacred toolbox to help them manage Linux systems. Favorite applications, favorite command-line scripts, and favorite tools are all part of the sysadmin's life script. We carry our tools from job to job. We promote our tools to other sysadmins. We love to collect tools, but we're also practical in that we want tools that work and do their jobs without being too fiddly, or too high maintenance. None of us have the luxury of time to learn a hundred different options and tweaks to get what we want. We need efficient tools that are unencumbered by complexity and high cost.

These five meet all of the requirements for essential system administration tools. They are my favorites. Most of them have helped me for more than 15 years. I'm loyal to them and they to me. You should get acquainted with them and add them to your toolbox. Here is your opportunity to do just that. These are in no particular order.

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Also: 7 questions sysadmins should ask a potential employer before taking a job

Servers: Container Runtimes, Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack and LF's Confidential (Surveillance) Computing Consortium

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  • Why Container Runtimes Deserve More Attention

    Now that the battle for container orchestration has waned, what will be the next big front in the container ecosystem? My bet is on container runtimes, which are arguably the one part of containerized application stacks where no de facto frontrunner has emerged.


    There remains a long list of widely used container runtimes, including containerd, CRIO-O, rkt and Kata, to name just the most popular ones. I don’t think you could argue that any of these solutions has emerged as the clear leader at this point.

    At first glance, the competition within the space surrounding container runtimes may not actually matter. For the most part, container runtimes are interchangeable. They all do the same basic thing. Kubernetes supports all the mainstream runtimes. Generally speaking, you don’t need to modify your container images or other configurations to switch from one runtime to another.

    But when you dive below the surface, container runtimes vary significantly. They are architecturally different—rkt has no central daemon, for example, which makes it very different from containerd. And Kata enforces hardware-level isolation, which is a huge feature that other runtimes lack.

    I’m surprised that more is not made of these differences. Perhaps that’s because containerd has done such a good job of pitching itself as the “industry standard” runtime that everyone believes it, even though there are so many competing runtimes out there that also adhere to industry standards.

  • OpenStack vs VMware: Bringing costs down

    Moving to OpenStack from VMware can significantly reduce the TCO associated with an initial roll-out and ongoing maintenance of your cloud infrastructure. OpenStack vs VMware economic analysis shows that under certain circumstances, it is possible to bring the costs down an entire order of magnitude. This requires choosing an OpenStack distribution which can be maintained economically. An example of such distribution is Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack.

    We have recently published a webinar and a whitepaper where we presented outcomes of our analysis around cost savings resulting from the migration from VMware to OpenStack. You can refer to those materials or, you can just read through this blog to capture the most important information. So let’s start with highlighting OpenStack vs VMware’s differences and elaborate more on how they influence the costs associated with both.

  • Protecting data on public clouds and edges with confidential computing [Ed: Linux Foundation continues its shameless openwashing of mass surveillance and 'surveillance capitalism']

    Achieving that balance is the aim of a new cross-industry effort, the Confidential Computing Consortium. Founded in 2019, the collaboration operates within The Linux Foundation. Its mission is defining and promoting adoption of confidential computing, which protects sensitive data within system memory, a new favored target for attackers. Backers include industry heavyweights Alibaba, ARM, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, and Tencent.

phpMyAdmin 5.0.0 is released

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Welcome to the release of phpMyAdmin version 5.0.0. This release is occurring simultaneously with version 4.9.3; except for users with old PHP installations, version 5.0.0 is the recommended version.

This release includes many new features and improvements from the 4.9 series. We expect to maintain version 4 in a security capacity to support users with older PHP installations. For full details about supported versions and end of life dates, see the "Supported versions" grid at

With this release, we are removing support of old PHP versions (5.5, 5.6, 7.0, and HHVM). These versions are outdated and are no longer supported by the PHP team.

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Also: phpMyAdmin 5.0 Released To Drop Old PHP/HHVM Support, Modernized UI

Servers and IBM/Red Hat

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Red Hat
  • ETSI Open Source MANO release brings cloud-native applications to NFV

    ETSI's Open Source MANO group, which focuses on the management and orchestration of virtualised networks, has delivered its latest release, bringing cloud-native applications to network function virtualisation (NFV) deployments.

  • Kubernetes Opportunities, Challenges Escalated in 2019 News

    If 2018 was the year that Kubernetes broke into the mainstream, then 2019 was the year that reality set in. And that reality is that while Kubernetes is awesome, it’s also hard.

    The Kubernetes ecosystem did its usual part in feeding the market by staying on track in rolling out quarterly updates to the platform. And that feeding has helped Kubernetes continue to steamroll the cloud market. However, ongoing security and commercialization challenges showed that growth is not coming without challenges.

  • Open Mainframe Project Continues Rapid Growth as Three New Academic Members Commit to Modernizing the Mainframe through Open Source for Enterprise Applications

    The Open Mainframe Project (OMP), an open source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources, continues to see rapid growth with a new project Polycephaly, based on IBM DBB using Groovy script to build z/OS applications with Jenkins and Git, and three academic institutions from China: Beijing Institute of Technology, South China University of Technology, and Xidian University. The new project and members solidify Open Mainframe Project's mission to educate and train the next generation of developers and engineers.

    "As lifelong mainframers begin to retire, it is our job to make sure that we equip students, developers and engineers with the training and resources they need to continue innovating mainframes and enterprise applications," said John Mertic, Director of Program Management for the Linux Foundation and Open Mainframe Project. "We are particularly ecstatic to collaborate with these universities from China as our geographical footprint expands."

  • Red Hat: Open-Source Software Poised To Play A Bigger Payments Role

    One can almost feel it in the bones: the excitement to come in the world of payments in 2020, as innovation sparks new business models and disruption.

    Part of that future seems likely to involve open-source software, and that’s why PYMNTS recently caught up with Arvind Swami, director of FSI for Asia-Pacific at Red Hat. The company made news over summer when IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of the open-source software firm. IBM had agreed to purchase the software company in October, marking the largest acquisition in the company’s history of more than 100 years, Reuters reported.

    Red Hat, which launched in 1993, specializes in Linux operating systems — an alternative to Microsoft’s proprietary software.

    As Swami told PYMNTS, open source could spark more payments innovation in the coming decade, as more players involved in payments look to affordable, interoperable and collaborative solutions that are relatively easy to scale — in this case, helped along by cloud computing technology and the work of developers to improve payments technology.

    “Most of the people who contribute to [open-source software] are users, and that’s the key for open source,” he said. “It’s easy to consume, and highly usable.”

  • combines cutting edge open-source technologies for enhancing user experience

    Reli is part of the Multichain Ventures family of companies and grew out of their own DevOps needs. Their expert team of developers spent hundreds of hours refining their own DevOps tools to establish best practices for modern software engineering. Reli was born out of the realization that MultiChain Ventures’ developer’s work on their DevOps tools could be extended to help other teams who have similar needs.

7 questions to ask an employer before taking a sysadmin job

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Where you work and what you do is one of the most significant decisions that you will make in your lifetime. This decision will impact almost every facet of your daily life. It directly correlates to the resources you have, how you spend your time, and your general disposition. These decisions cannot be taken lightly and must be weighed out carefully. Much like a game of chess, you want to have good strategies to make the right move in order to succeed. During my transition from the military, I had a very eye-opening experience, and it is one that I want to be able to share with other young professionals; however, these experiences can benefit everyone if applied. Here are some of the most important things to learn about a position when exploring new career options.


This question is near and dear to me. Let me explain why. My first position post-military was a fantastic one. I had good pay, flexible hours, and an excellent supporting team. So imagine my confusion when, by the end of my first year, half of the original group was gone. Only one had been fired, and for good reason, but everyone else was leaving voluntarily. I was a senior tech in 18 months. This was partly because I have an affinity for learning new technology, but it was also partially because those other techs were leaving for greener pastures.

The more time I spent there, the more I saw the issues they were facing. The local team was great, and to this day was one of the best groups of people that I have worked with. However, the upper management for that particular product was very disconnected from the daily work going on, and the expectations grew while the resources we had at our disposal continued to dwindle. This situation was a major red flag and was eventually a part of my decision to leave. My point here is this: If the team you are joining has no one with more than three years of experience, you should most likely avoid that position.

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Here’s the MATE Desktop Running on the PinePhone – Video

Yes, you’re reading that right, it is apparently possible to put the MATE desktop environment on the PinePhone, and surprise, surprise, it runs very well, that if you can get used to the desktop experience on a small screen, of course. Disappointed by other distributions available for the PinePhone, a YouTube user apparently managed to put the MATE desktop on the mobile device the pmbootstrap installer from postmarketOS, a GNU/Linux distribution designed for phones. In the video below, you can see the MATE desktop in action on the PinePhone, running the Mozilla Firefox web browser and the Onboard on-screen keyboard. Read more

Meet CSI Linux: A Linux Distribution For Cyber Investigation And OSINT

With the steady rise of cybercrimes, companies and government agencies are involving themselves more in setting up cyber investigation labs to tackle the crime happening over the Internet. Software tools are like arms that play a significant role in the investigation process. Hence, Computer Forensics, Incident Response, and Competitive Intelligence professionals have developed a Cyber forensics focussed operating system called CSI Linux. Read more

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