Linux is a proven and reliable operating system that is available in a multitude of Linux distributions. It is one of the most popular operating systems available today and is widely used within the cloud computing industry and often on business-critical core infrastructure servers.
Linux has emerged as a robust and reliable platform that is trusted globally. One of the many reasons Linux is so stable is the countless free Linux server management tools available, empowering system administrators to perform a wide range of tasks while ensuring optimal memory utilization and CPU load.
This article goes beneath the surface of Linux server management, highlighting the key aspects that set Linux apart from the competition, and we will learn some of the everyday Linux server management tools available to make your day-to-day operations a breeze.
What Are Linux Servers?
A Linux server is a specialized operating system built on the Linux kernel, an open-source software project initiated by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Over the years, Linux server has gained immense popularity for their durability and high level of safeguard capabilities, and because most Linux-based operating systems are free to use, they are licensed as open-source and typically free to use.
Unlike proprietary systems like Windows Server, Linux server administration offers a more flexible and customizable user environment, making it a preferred choice for system administrators and enterprise-level organizations.
There is a slight payoff that the user must know how to use Linux; however, there are countless quality sources of information to help you.
Stability and Reliability
Linux is a very stable operating system, and some Linux systems are known for their ability to run for years without requiring a reboot, which is particularly advantageous for businesses that require high uptime SLAs.
The platform can even be updated with critical patches on the fly, meaning that most updates do not require a reboot.
Linux safety features are built directly into the operating system. As a result, every process is signed by the operating system, which means it’s almost impossible to run unauthorized code. Additional controls include mandatory access controls for servers, files, and folders.
An effective user privilege management system and a strong firewall are also built-in. You can run various file systems on a Linux system, and block-level encryption is simple to enable.
The open-source nature of Linux also means that a large community of developers is continually scrutinizing the code for vulnerabilities, thereby ensuring rapid platform updates.
The open-source nature of Linux also allows for extensive customization. System administrators can modify the source code to suit their needs, whether for network configurations, user permissions, or software installations.
Configuring the local environment creates a level of customization that is nearly impossible to achieve with closed-source operating systems.
Linux servers are available in diverse versions, commonly called “distributions,” each tailored to meet specific needs and use cases. These distributions offer a variety of features, performance optimizations, and server management tools, making them suitable for different types of server deployments.
According to Distrowatch, as of September 2023, over 600 active Linux distributions are available to download and install. This number constantly changes as new distributions are created and old ones are discontinued.
Below are just five of the most popular distributions used in server environments.
This OS is renowned for its user-friendly interface and ease of use. Developed by Canonical Ltd., it comes with extensive documentation and community support, making it an ideal choice for those new to server management.
Its package management program, APT (Advanced Package Tool), allows for easy software installation and management, further simplifying the server setup process.
Debian is a stalwart in the Linux community and is highly regarded for its robustness and stability. It serves as the foundation for many other distributions, including Ubuntu. Debian offers high performance and reliability, making it a frequent choice for enterprise-level applications and data centers.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
RHEL is a paid-for distribution that focuses on providing a resilient, secure, and highly scalable environment. They offer extensive professional support and training services. This makes RHEL a popular choice for large corporations that require a stable and supported platform for mission-critical applications.
Rocky Linux server is a free and open-source distribution that aims to be a downstream, functionally compatible alternative to RHEL. Created in response to the shift in CentOS’s development strategy, A Rocky Linux server offers a stable and secure platform often used for web hosting and enterprise-level database applications.
While it lacks the official support of RHEL, it benefits from a strong community of users and developers.
Fedora Server is another distribution sponsored by RHEL, but it serves as a testing ground for new technologies that may eventually make their way into RHEL. It offers cutting-edge features and is often updated more frequently than other server distributions.
This makes it suitable for environments where the latest advancements are desired, but it may not be as stable as additional long-term support (LTS) distributions.
Arch Linux is known for its simplicity and customization, unlike other distributions with lots of pre-installed software. An Arch Linux server starts with a minimal base image, allowing users to build up their server environment precisely, dramatically lowering the digital footprint of the server.
This makes it popular among those who wish to learn the ins and outs of Linux. However, its rolling-release update model and lack of official support can make it less suitable for mission-critical enterprise applications.
How does Linux server management work?
Every Linux Distribution can perform Linux server management involving tasks executed through the Linux command line. Administrators can monitor memory usage, manage background processes, and ensure OS updates.
SSH is often used for remote server access, allowing commands to be executed on a remote machine. Network services can also be managed effectively, ensuring that only the necessary open ports are active.
For those with previous experience in Windows, transitioning to Linux server administration may seem daunting, but its flexibility and control are unparalleled. Whether managing a dedicated server or virtual machines, the command line is your go-to tool for executing commands efficiently.
SSH (Secure Shell) is used for remote access, allowing administrators to connect to and run commands to manage servers from any location. This is particularly useful in large organizations where servers may belong to different groups or departments.
Network services are, of course, another crucial aspect of server management. Administrators can use various tools to ensure that only required ports are open, minimizing potential security risks. For instance, RHEL and Fedora offer reliable support for managing network connectivity, making it easier for users to control access to resources on the server.
File management is another essential task. Administrators can create new files, grant or revoke user permissions, create them, and even allocate disk resources to different users. Logs are also crucial for monitoring server health, as they provide data on everything from memory load to user activity.
Linux server management is a multifaceted discipline involving various tasks via command alone, from monitoring memory and managing background processes to ensuring secure remote access via SSH. Whether you’re new to Linux or an experienced user, the command line offers powerful tools for managing your servers effectively.
Linux Server Management Software
Linux server management software is a pivotal tool for administrators and IT professionals, streamlining the managing and administering of Linux servers. These solutions offer users various functionalities, from system administration and monitoring to automation and information assurance.
Whether overseeing a single dedicated server or a fleet of virtual servers, the right management software can significantly enhance your operational efficiency.
System administration features encompass tasks such as managing users and groups, configuring services, and installing and updating packages. These tasks form the backbone of Linux server administration, allowing for a well-organized and isolated server environment.
Here are just some of the tasks you can achieve with the Linux system itself:
- User Management: Create, delete, and assign users to groups; set permissions.
- Service Configuration: Start, stop, and adjust settings for system services.
- Package Management: Install new packages, update existing ones, and remove outdated applications.
- Performance Monitoring: Track CPU, memory, disk, and network usage.
- Resource Monitoring: Monitor individual components like CPU cores and disk drives.security
- Access Monitoring: Watch for failed logins and unauthorized file access.
- Task Automation: Automate backups, updates, and system checks.
- Cyber Resilience: Manage firewalls, intrusion detection, and access controls.
Monitoring capabilities enable administrators to closely monitor logs of server performance, resource usage, and security events of the Linux server. This real-time data is invaluable for proactive server management, helping to identify and resolve issues before they escalate.
Administrators utilize various monitoring and data collection methods to ensure optimal system performance, memory utilization, and data safeguarding.
Alerting mechanisms and practical monitoring applications enable timely responses to performance issues, resource limitations, and security threats.
Automation features facilitate routine tasks like backups, system updates, and monitoring of files on the Linux server. Administrators can focus on more complex tasks by automating these processes, thereby optimizing their workflow.
- Automated Backups: Automate server backups to safeguard data against failures or disasters.
- Software Updates: Automate the installation of patches and security updates for enhanced security and performance.
- Monitoring: Monitor server health to identify and resolve issues, minimizing downtime preemptively.
- Provisioning: Quickly and efficiently provision new servers to scale your infrastructure.
- Configuration Management: Ensure consistent and hardened server configurations across your network.
Security functionalities include managing features like firewalls, intrusion detection, and access control lists of the Linux server. These are crucial tools for safeguarding your servers against unauthorized access and potential cyber threats.
Specific examples include:
- Firewalls: Control incoming and outgoing traffic to block unauthorized server access.
- Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Monitor for malicious activities like denial-of-service attacks.
- Web Application Firewalls (WAFs): Protect web applications from attacks like SQL injection.
- Vulnerability Scanners: Scan servers for known security vulnerabilities.
Why Choose Atlantic.Net Managed Server Services?
Atlantic.Net’s managed services cover a broad spectrum of needs, from basic server deployment to advanced features like vulnerability scans and load balancing.
Atlantic.Net supports various OSes, including Windows and Linux server platforms like Rocky Linux, Arch, and Oracle Linux, and offers specialized one-click apps like cPanel/WHM, LAMP, and WordPress.
One of Atlantic.Net’s standout features is our focus on security. Atlantic.Net offers general security measures like firewalls, intrusion detection, and access control lists by default, ensuring your servers are safeguarded against unauthorized access, any unauthorized background process, and cyber threats.
Additionally, we provide specialized security features such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) and vulnerability scanners, adding an extra layer of protection to your server infrastructure.
Monitoring is another critical aspect addressed by Atlantic.Net. Our OnWatch Platinum Monitoring Platform service allows real-time server performance tracking, ensuring issues are identified and addressed before they can cause significant downtime.
Atlantic.Net excels in customer support, offering dedicated account representatives to troubleshoot server network connectivity, host load, and server OS issues.
We offer a holistic approach to server management, combining flexibility, security, and robust customer support.
Contact Atlantic.Net Today
Whether you’re a small business looking for essential Linux server administration and management or a large enterprise needing specialized security features, Atlantic.Net has a solution tailored to your needs.