Linux admin course needed
April 14, 2008 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I need to get up to speed on running Linux MySQL database servers so I can do a credible job of managing them. What are some resources I can access to do this?

I've applied for a job which would utilize my Mac consulting background. It would be a terrific position except there are some servers to oversee that are Linux boxes running MySQL. From an administrative standpoint, I don't know diddly squat about Linux aside from the usual installing and mucking about. I've got a smattering of command line chops, know TCP/IP and get the general overview.

What resources could I use to get some administrator chops going with Linux and MySQL? I know that real administrative expertise is not something you just do an overnighter and set up shop but there are probably training tools I can use that will help me be effective within a few days or weeks of study.

Any tips appreciated.
posted by diode to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As far as training tools goes, I don't have much to offer -- but I will say that you should be comfortable with GRANT syntax, with the my.cnf file, and with mysqldump and mysql command-line commands. Just download a copy of MAMP and drop it on your OSX Mac, and go to town building stuff.

MySQL's pretty easy in that it mostly runs itself, there's just a lot you can change if you run into performance bottlenecks. That stuff's hard to teach or learn without having run into performance problems before because you need to know how to recognize the problems.
posted by SpecialK at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2008

Which distro of Linux? There are various admin guides available for the popular distros, e.g. RedHat, Ubuntu, SuSe. Just make sure the book is geared to Linux Server; there are tons of books now for various Linux desktop flavors, which in their zeal to be 'user-friendly' often go out of their way to avoid mentioning the command line. Useless.

Once you know what distro the're using, install it (using BootCamp, Parallels, VMWare, or a VPS host like and just muck around as much as possible. Give yourself specific tasks like configuring the firewall to reject all traffic except http and ssh, updating mysql to the latest release, setting up working web and IMAP servers, configuring SpamAssassin to whitelist all of the company's internal mail and from their known clients, etc. Getting these things done will require other requisite skills like compiling from source or installing packages, so you'll find out quickly where you need to study more closely.

If you want a good all-around challenge, make yourself go from clean OS install to working deployment of a simple Rails app that makes at least one functioning MySQL query. There's a lot of admin skills implicated in getting that running.

The thing is, while you can cram to learn enough basics to get by, that risks having a dangerously shallow understanding of security. If you're going to be responsible for administrating someone's server, please be clear with them about what your capabilities are. Every server is a rathole of opportunities to accidentally create vulnerabilities.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:22 AM on April 14, 2008

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