Linux System Administration - LFCS Preparation
Laura McWilliams
11 h 14 m
Lecture Overview
This course covers the fundamentals of using and administering Linux systems. The focus is on distro-independent fundamentals, including: installing and managing Linux software, using essential Linux commands, understanding and modifying the boot process, device and kernel management, basic scripting, configuring services, user and group management, system monitoring, networking and storage management, virtualization. This course will prepare students to pass the Linux Foundation Certified Linux System Administrator exam. 

Related Learning Path(s):
Linux System Administration - Exam prep
  • The course will educate you on installing, using and administering Linux systems.
  • This course will also help you prepare to pass the Linux Foundation Certified Linux System Administrator exam.
  • • None; students should be familiar with a computer.
Lecture Modules

We give a brief overview of the major components of Linux and its historical background. Students learn how to log into and interact with the system, as well as how to get help. This unit will consist of a brief lecture, followed by two short lab activities.

  • Origins of Linux
  • Kernel, Shell and File Systems- the major components of *nix
  • Logging in
  • CLI and GUI
  • Accessing documentation

We look at how to install the operating system. After a brief lecture discussing the different methods of installation, an installation onto a stand-alone system is demonstrated. I would like for the students to do an installation onto a VM, but it sounds like this may not be possible in your lab environment (???)

·        Installing from media

·        Installing from network

·        Customizing the installation

Students get comfortable with the command line, practicing using some *nix power-tool commands, and learn more about the file system hierarchy. Fundamental commands are demonstrated, along with examples of some common mistakes. Two lab activities allow students to practice.

  • Search for files
  • Evaluate and compare the basic file system features and options
  • Compare text files
  • Compare binary files
  • Identify different types of files
  • Create and edit text files
  • Use input-output redirection (e.g. >, >>, |, 2>)
  • Short demo of the above topics
  • Analyze text using basic regular expressions
  • Access remote systems securely using CLI
  • Archive, compress, unpack, and uncompress files
  • Create, delete, copy, and move files and directories
  • Create hard and soft links
  • Transfer files securely via the network
  • Short demo of the above topics

Students learn about the startup and shutdown processes and how to make changes to the system configuration. A short lecture is followed by two demonstrations on Linux on a stand-alone system and a lab activity.

  • Boot, reboot, and shut down a system safely
  • Boot systems into different runlevels manually
  • Install, configure and troubleshoot the bootloader
  • Manipulate Linux system during the boot process
  • Manipulate Linux system during the recovery process
  • Change kernel runtime parameters, persistent and non-persistent
  • Use scripting to automate system maintenance tasks
  • Manage the startup process and services
  • Demo: Working with the Linux bootloader on Raspberry Pi / dual-boot Dell Laptop
  • Demo: Booting in maintenance mode on Raspberry Pi

This module discusses managing hardware and software. The lecture about physical hardware is largely theoretical, but topics are demonstrated on a Linux VM. Then students perform a software update, install a compiler and then build and install a new component from source.

  • Identify the component of the Linux distribution that a file belongs to
  • Manage shared libraries
  • Update hardware to provide required functionality and security
  • Update operating systems to provide required functionality and security
  • Update software to provide required functionality and security
  • Update the kernel and ensure the system is bootable
  • Demonstrate identifying package a software component belongs to and update it
  • Verify the integrity and availability of hardware
  • Verify the integrity and availability of resources
  • Verify the integrity and availability of key processes
  • Demonstrate above topics
  • Install software from source

This module discusses how to perform many necessary day-to-day tasks of a system administrator on Linux. Topics are demonstrated throughout the lecture, then students perform lab activities to schedule tasks and write a shell script. An optional activity gives them more practice with scripting.

  • Manage access to the root account
  • Perform disk image management
  • Use version control tools
  • Run commands on many systems simultaneously
  • Schedule tasks to run at a set date and time
  • Verify completion of scheduled jobs
  • Demonstrate accessing root account, scheduling tasks, running tasks on multiple machines simultaneously
  • Use scripting to automate system maintenance tasks
  • Demonstrate using a simple script at the command line
  • List and identify SELinux/AppArmor file and process contexts
  • Configure and modify SELinux/AppArmor policies
  • Demonstrate SELinux/AppArmor in effect
  • Script automation tools to make work faster and more accurate
  • Develop and test disaster recovery plans
  • Maintain systems via configuration management tools
  • Train team members on new technology or changes to existing systems
  • Develop system disaster recovery tests

We discuss local authentication policies and file permissions, as well as environment settings and how to customize the user environment. Students will learn how to configure the system as a LDAP or Kerberos client.

  • Create, delete, and modify local user accounts
  • Create, delete, and modify local groups and group memberships
  • Demonstrate creating a new local user and group.
  • Manage system-wide environment profiles
  • Configure a client to use LDAP for user and group information
  • Configure a system to authenticate using Kerberos
  • Configure set-GID directories for collaboration
  • Manage template user environment
  • Configure user resource limits
  • Demonstrate the impact of editing system-wide and user-specific environment files on the new user created earlier
  • Manage user processes
  • Configure PAM
  • List, set, and change standard file permissions
  • Demonstrate the impact of file permissions

Discuss basic Linux networking and routing. Networking concepts are demonstrated on a stand-alone Linux system.

  • Configure networking and hostname resolution statically or dynamically
  • Configure network services to start automatically at boot
  • Implement packet filtering
  • Configure firewall settings
  • Configure a system to perform Network Address Translation
  • Start, stop, and check the status of network services
  • Monitor network performance
  • Statically route IP traffic
  • Dynamically route IP traffic
  • Synchronize time using other network peers
  • Configure network traffic tunneling
  • Demo: Basic Networking- Show how to set up networking on a stand-alone Linux system

There are a wide variety of services or daemons to be configured and managed by system administrators. We take a look at a number of the most commonly used ones. Items are demonstrated throughout the lecture, and students set up one of their VMs to be a server providing a number of maintenance-related services to another VM, which they set up as a client. They set up another VM as a web server with a database, and test accessing the web application.

  • Configure a basic DNS server
  • Maintain a DNS zone
  • Configure a caching-only name server
  • Configure a caching-only name server to forward DNS queries
  • Demonstrate setting up a DNS server
  • Configure an FTP server
  • Configure anonymous-only download on FTP servers
  • Provide/configure network shares via NFS
  • Demonstrate setting up NFS shares
  • Provide/configure network shares via CIFS
  • Configure an smtp service
  • Restrict access to an smtp server
  • Demonstrate setting up and restricting access to smtp
  • Configure a mail transfer agent (MTA) to accept inbound email from other systems
  • Configure an MTA to forward (relay) email through a smart host
  • Configure email aliases
  • Configure SSH servers and clients
  • Configure SSH-based remote access using public/private key pairs
  • Demonstrate setting up SSH access between two systems
  • Configure a DHCP server
  • Configure the HTTP proxy server
  • Restrict access to the HTTP proxy server
  • Configure an HTTP client to automatically use a proxy server
  • Configure an IMAP and IMAPS service
  • Configure host-based and user-based security for a service
  • Query and modify the behavior of system services at various run levels
  • Configure direct-attach and network printers
  • Configure an HTTP server
  • Configure HTTP server log files
  • Configure SSL with HTTP server
  • Set up name-based virtual web hosts
  • Deploy a basic web application
  • Demonstrate setting up a basic web application
  • Restrict access to a web page
  • Configure time synchronization server
  • Synchronize time using other time synchronization peers
  • Configure a system to log to a remote system
  • Configure a PXE Boot server
  • Demonstrate setting up a PXE Boot server
  • Configure an LDAP server and schema
  • Configure a system to accept logging from a remote system
  • Diagnose routine SELinux/AppArmor policy violations
  • Configure SELinux/AppArmor to support a service
  • Configure database server
  • Configure SELinux/AppArmor to confine a service

Monitoring system performance and activity is an important aspect of system administration. Students will learn where to find various log files and how to use basic performance monitoring commands. The impact of altering process priorities is demonstrated as well as how to view performance metrics. Demonstrate generating reports and using configuration management tools. Students perform a lab activity where they observe how to control processes and use the performance monitoring techniques discussed.

  • Change the priority of a process
  • Identify resource utilization by process
  • Demonstrate working with process priorities and the impact on processor utilization
  • Locate and analyze system log files
  • Support incident management for outages/trouble
  • Identify and resolve system performance bottlenecks and platform instability
  • Produce and deliver reports on system use (processor, memory, disk, and network), outages, and user requests
  • Demonstrate the above topics
  • Monitor security and conduct audits
  • Maintain systems via configuration management tools
  • Demonstrate a configuration management tool

Although it’s part of managing the system, it gets its own module. There will be some amount of theoretical discussion in this module, because students will not have access to systems with direct physical-attached hardware or clusters of systems. However, a variety of topics having to do with managing partitions, logical volumes and file systems is demonstrated and practiced in the lab activity.

  • List, create, delete, and modify storage partitions
  • Create, migrate, and remove Physical Volumes
  • Assign Physical Volumes to Volume Groups
  • Create, modify and delete Logical Volumes
  • Extend existing Logical Volumes and filesystems
  • Create and configure encrypted partitions
  • Demonstrate working with physical and logical volumes and creating an encrypted file system
  • Configure systems to mount file systems at or during boot
  • Configure and manage swap space
  • Add new partitions, and logical volumes
  • Create, mount, and unmount standard Linux file systems
  • Demonstrate above topics
  • Assemble partitions as RAID devices
  • Identify storage devices using block device attributes
  • Configure systems to mount standard, encrypted, and network file systems on demand
  • Create and manage filesystem Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • Demonstrate the use of ACLs
  • Diagnose and correct file permission problems
  • Setup user and group disk quotas for filesystems
  • Demonstrate setting up user and group file system quotas
  • Restore default SELinux file contexts
  • Manage Linux file system features and flags
  • Configure remote block storage devices
  • Design and test backup/recovery strategies
  • Deploy, configure, and maintain high availability/clustering/replication
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