Enterprise Linux Log

Oct 24 2008   7:19PM GMT

Whirlwind Tech Tour explores remote administration tools

Suzanne Wheeler Suzanne Wheeler Profile: Suzanne Wheeler

This week, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com launched its Whirlwind Tech Tour, a new site feature in which we ask Linux professionals a weekly question and post their answers side by side. This week we asked about remote server administration. Done correctly, remote server administration enables companies to distribute resources and prepare for disaster recovery. It also requires a strong toolset to perform these roles well.  

Which tool is best for remote server administration in a Linux environment, and why?

 Jay Lyman, an open source analyst at Boulder, Colo.-based 451 Group, recommends the General Public License-licensed Virtual Network Computing (VNC) system for its user-friendly general user interface. This tool works with Open Secure Shell (OpenSSH) to perform tunneling, a method to establish secure connections between local and remote networks.  OpenSSH itself received several mentions in our IT pros’ responses .

As Kristian Erik Hermansen noted, the tool does more than tunnel. Hermansen’s description of OpenSSH’s capabilities: It can “forward graphical applications to remote machines, create a series of tunnels, redirect traffic over a SOCKS proxy, and perform way too many other features to mention.”  

Serge Wroclawski expected SSH to be at the top of respondents’ lists but suggested they trade it in for more automated remote administration tools. He advises managing remote server configuration with tools such as bcfg2 and Puppet. 

“Remote server management is a multidimensional problem, and managing the Linux OS is only a part of it,” said Ideas International Inc.

CEO Tony Iams Iams outlined several considerations in approaching this problem, but concluded that  “perhaps the most important factor in choosing a remote Linux management tool…is to make sure it integrates smoothly into the dominant management tools and procedures that are already in place.” 

Do you have a question you’d like to see asked and answered? Email it to editor@searchenterpriselinux.com . To see the complete responses from our IT pros, go to the feature main page.

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