Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Webmin: a powerful system administration tool (Setup)

During several years as System Administrator, I have found people that do not like GUI interfaces for system administration work. I completely disagree this approach because GUI interfaces facilitate and standardize your work.

One of the big problems in a Network Infrastructure is the lack of documentation. Top management do not see advantage in having accurate documentation because they can not attached that to direct revenues. Accurate documentation is a utopia for real environment so System administrator must figure out how the environment was built to perform a good job. However, sysadmins tend to built and process changes in many different way that makes tracking changes very difficult.

I suggest WEBMIN as an alternative to standardize and make changes on uneven environments. Why?

  • Webmin is OpenSource (Free)
  • Webmin was created 10 years ago and It also part of Solaris Install Packages.
  • Webmin is perl based, so it is portable to many OSes. 
  • It has modules to manage many servers. (Apache, Mysql, postfix, sendmail, so on)
  • It has Cluster administration capabilities. 
  • It is very easy to install and does not load the server at all.
Do not be lazy and try it ...

Redhat or Centos installation

# wget
#rpm -Ivh webmin*

Basic installation of Centos contains all dependencies.

then you can access webmin with root password on http://serverip:10000

Ubuntu and Debian

#dpkg -i webmin*

Probably there were dependencies missing so then you should try

#apt-get install -f

After the installation, Webmin will identify all the server installed in your server, however to use the modules you have to make sure that module config for that specific module has been configured right.
Some people tend to discourage of using Webmin because they do not configure it right.

My experience Webmin has shown that new OS installations can have 95% of the Webmin Modules well configured and Current Server installations can have 60% of the Webmin Modules well configured.

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