Sys admin

Research shows that if your web pages take longer than 5 seconds to load, you lose 50% of your viewers and sales. As a UNIX admin often end users and web developers complain about website loading speed and timings. Usually, there is nothing wrong with my servers or server farm. Fancy java script and images / flash makes site pretty slow. These tools are useful to debug performance problems for sys admins, developers and end users. Here are six tools that can analyzes web pages and tells you why they are slow. Use the following tools to:

  • Make your site faster.
  • Debug site problem, especially client side and server side stuff.
  • Better user experience.
  • Improve the web.

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Need to monitor Linux server performance? Try these built-in commands and a few add-on tools. Most Linux distributions are equipped with tons of monitoring. These tools provide metrics which can be used to get information about system activities. You can use these tools to find the possible causes of a performance problem. The commands discussed below are some of the most basic commands when it comes to system analysis and debugging server issues such as:

  1. Finding out bottlenecks.
  2. Disk (storage) bottlenecks.
  3. CPU and memory bottlenecks.
  4. Network bottlenecks.

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Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. — Albert Einstein.

Here are a few mistakes that I made while working at UNIX prompt. Some mistakes caused me a good amount of downtime. Most of these mistakes are from my early days as a UNIX admin.

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I’ve Windows Vista installed as a guest under Ubuntu Linux using VMWARE Workstation 6.0. This is done for testing purpose and browsing a few site that only works with Internet Explorer. Since I only use it for testing I made 16GB for Vista and 5GB for CentOS and 5GB in size for FreeBSD guest operating systems. However, after some time I realized I’m running out of disk space under both CentOS and Vista. Adding a second hard drive under CentOS solved my problem as LVM was already in use. Unfortunately, I needed to double 32GB space without creating a new D: drive under Windows Vista. Here is a simple procedure to increase your Virtual machine’s disk capacity by resizing vmware vmdk file.

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From my mailbag:

How do I find out if a given PCI hardware is supported of by the current CentOS / Debian / RHEL / Fedora Linux kernel?

You can easily find out find out if a given piece of PCI hardware such as RAID, network, sound, graphics card is supported or not by the current Linux kernel using the following utilities under any Linux distributions.

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The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) is used for the error screen displayed by Microsoft Windows, after encountering a critical system. Linux / UNIX like operating system may get a kernel panic. It is just like BSoD. The BSoD and a kernel panic generated using a Machine Check Exception (MCE). MCE is nothing but feature of AMD / Intel 64 bit systems which is used to detect an unrecoverable hardware problem.

Program such mcelog decodes machine check events (hardware errors) on x86-64 machines running a 64-bit Linux kernel. It should be run regularly as a cron job on any x86-64 Linux system. This is useful for predicting server hardware failure before actual server crash.

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The ss command is used to show socket statistics. It can display stats for PACKET sockets, TCP sockets, UDP sockets, DCCP sockets, RAW sockets, Unix domain sockets, and more. It allows showing information similar to netstat command. It can display more TCP and state information than other tools. It is a new, incredibly useful and faster (as compare to netstat) tool for tracking TCP connections and sockets. SS can provide information about:

  • All TCP sockets.
  • All UDP sockets.
  • All established ssh / ftp / http / https connections.
  • All local processes connected to X server.
  • Filtering by state (such as connected, synchronized, SYN-RECV, SYN-SENT,TIME-WAIT), addresses and ports.
  • All the tcp sockets in state FIN-WAIT-1 and much more.

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