Speaker:Raphael Finkel
University of Kentucky
Topic:System Administration Tools
Date:Tuesday, July 28, 1998
Time:11:00 am
Place:Gould-Simpson, 701

Refreshments will be served in the 7th-floor lobby of Gould-Simpson at 10:45 am


This talk discusses two tools developed in the CS department at the University of Kentucky for system administration.

The first tool is SAT, which is a distributed configuration database. SAT automatically rebuilds configuration files on each host when the data changes; the data are platform-independent, but the files generated are specific to the particular host, its architecture, and its operating system. For instance, when we add a new host, the Hosts database is updated, causing such wide-reaching changes as mods to /etc/lp/Systems on our Solaris boxes (for printer access) and DNS tables.

The second tool is Pulsar, which we use to keep track of the health of all our machines based on scheduled tests on each machine. The package is composed of a presenter, which provides a graphical user interface to the administrator, a set of individual pulse monitors, which examine aspects of the status on a host and communicate their results to the presenter, and a scheduler, which executes pulse monitors according to the frequency specified by its configuration files. The set of pulse monitors is easily extended by the administrator to provide warnings about any situation that can be algorithmically detected.