Linux command to gather hardware and software snapshot for troubleshooting

When you work in tech support department and deal with inexperienced clients debugging problems turns into a nightmare. As a sysadmin, you won’t become too paranoid if less experienced people have root-access. As a consultant, you won’t feel isolated if you don’t have remote access to your systems. As a support engineer, you won’t become frustrated if a customer has fiddled around with some important config file and you have to find which. As a performance tuner, you can capture the state of the system configuration in between performance tests/benchmarks.

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Luckily, some nifty tools can create a system’s hardware and software configuration snapshot. This kind of information is valuable asset while troubleshooting problems.

dconf (System config collector) is one of such tool. It allows to take your system configuration with you on the road, compare identical systems (like nodes in a cluster) to troubleshoot HW or SW problems, indeed a lifesaver.

Dconf is also useful in projects where you have to manage changes as a team. Dconf can run periodically and send out system changes to a list of email addresses so that they can be revised and discussed in group.

You can customize your dconf configuration for specific needs, like making a profile of your web server’s hardware or copy specific software configuration files to send out or compare with other systems.

As a sysadmin, you will not become too paranoid if less experienced people have root-access. As a consultant, you will not feel isolated if you do not have remote access to your systems. As a support engineer, you will not become frustrated if a customer has fiddled around with some important config file and you have to find which. As a performance tuner, you can capture the state of the system configuration in between performance tests/benchmarks.

Install dconf

If you are using Debian / Ubuntu Linux then type the command:
# apt-get install dconf
You can download Dconf for RedHat or Suse Linux here

Create a system’s hardware and software configuration snapshot

Once installed you can simply create a snapshot using dconf command:
# dconf
It will write snapshot in /var/log/dconf/ directory. To view current snapshot info, enter:
# zcat /var/log/dconf/dconf-$HOSTNAME-latest.log.gz
To check the latest changes against the previous snapshot:
# zdiff -u /var/log/dconf/dconf-$HOSTNAME-previous.log.gz /var/log/dconf/dconf-$HOSTNAME-latest.log.gz

See also:

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3 comments… add one
  • Mehdi Jul 28, 2009 @ 14:25

    Thanks for the info.

    I got it to work.

    Is dconf the program that can be shown on port 3000 using web browser?
    like http://localhost:3000
    or was it another program?
    I lost my mark…now I cannot find or think of the command!

  • Mahendra Oct 31, 2010 @ 4:47

    its helpful..!

  • Mehdi Nov 7, 2010 @ 18:43

    I was talking about ntop, (to view network traffic on a web page:

    you do sudo apt-get install ntop
    Then after it starts (by /etc/init.d/ntop start )
    then you run this:
    netstat -tulpn | grep :3000
    Then open a web page on the local computer and http://localhost:3000
    or use another machine and type the IP for the host machine :3000

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