ESDS Knowledge Base


Top 10 tools for Linux System Admins

Linux_Admin Introduction:

Today, we are going to see top 10 Linux system admin tools that we think are essential and that any system administrator working under Linux environment should at least find them useful. As we all know Linux is a distribution where we find sequential orders for absolutely everything. Here, we will see controls that allow us to debug, configure and monitor the system and serve us at the usual necessary interferences.


So let’s begin with our Linux Tools: Here is our short list of essential tools!


1) Top:

Quick control and easy direct monitoring present by default on Unix/Linux systems. This command quickly displays the main ongoing processes in condensed form, the state of consumption of the SWAP, RAM, CPU and average load of the load of the machine during 5, 10 and 15 minutes. This is very useful command when trying to quickly establish the charge of a machine, all dynamically.

2) PS:

This is a handy command that allows viewing of the current process. PS captures at Time T when to launch the command. This means that it doesn’t display information dynamically. This tool is to use and can still take many parameters which can refine the research and the information displayed. For example:

To see the current process:

ps –ef

* “E” displays the list of all processes
* “F” allows us to have all the necessary information when viewing

To search for a process and the process through their PID / PPID:

ps -f --ppid [PID_NUM]

To search all processes launched by a specific user:

ps -f -u user_name

3) Monit:

Supervision is essential for the proper functioning of an entire system. When it’s necessary to supervise a host only, it’s the tool “Monit” that allow to perform verification tasks and fairly precise alerts. It’s a monitoring tool service on premises but it remains in a local context and fails to perform operation on remote hosts.

4) Uptime:

Does the server/s have survived the last night? A question that sometimes is legitimate to ask and can be answered very easily via the command “uptime” that return time from which the server is started. The command also displays the average server load of 1, 5 and 15 minutes.

5) Tcpdump:

Along with WireShark this is a network sniffer that allows inspecting in detail to analyze what goes in and what goes out of the network cards or form server. It’s often extremely useful during maintenance and troubleshooting of what passes from the server, because it often helps to better understand the causes of a malfunction. This tool is not available by default and can be installed using the following command.

For CentOS

 yum install tcpdump

For Debian

 apt-get install tcpdump

6) Cron:

Cron whose name is derived from the god of time “Chronos”, is a tool that gives the ability to run scripts automatically, commands or software at a data and time specified in advance, or on a cycle defined in advance. These schedules can be point (a specific day) or regular (for example, every Monday at 7.30 am). This is a very useful tool because it helps regular maintenance procedures that are often tedious or they used to do the work for you when you cannot stand before the machine at a specific date.

7) vmstat:

This command returns information about processes, memory, input output (I/O) and activity of the CPU in clear and simple form. It’s also very useful when trying to quickly see the state of our machine and its overall load.

8) Man:

This is one of the most used command in Linux, it make it possible to see the manual for each tool on the present system and thus helps to know how to use them. We often find the answers to the features in question which are explained very well in the Man tool. In this tool, we find the explanation of each option and each use of the command. For example, to find installed features on the FTP, type the following command:

 man -k ftp

9) Auditd:

Auditd is a tool that allows implementing some security on the system. It also allows file monitoring establishment to issue an alert if a file is consulted and so find the facts on the different access or monitored files. It’s a pretty interesting tool and rather easy to use for the help it can provide.

10) Lsof:

Lsof or “list open files” is a command that allow us, as does “Top” with the process to list all open files at the moment of launching the command. This is great help when trying to find the actions of a program. For example, by whom a file is busy when it cannot be accessed.

Earlier, we have seen 7 Best Tools for Network Administration and now we covered top 10 tools for Linux System Admins. If you are using some other tools regularly or frequently along with these tools, then let us know so we can discuss about them here or in the next article.

Leave a Reply