Top Tools Every System Administrator Must Have
The life of a systems administrator isn’t as easy as many think. It’s not just about sitting in the office waiting for requests. It’s about keeping the whole system in top shape, keeping everything backed up and secure and doing these things at top speed because system downtimes can be costly, especially for large companies. For that, systems administrators require tools. Here are the top tools every system administrator must have to make life easier.
Wireshark – System administrators often get asked why the network or internet speed is bogging down. They can dismiss it as a problem with the target website or the network is busy with email and file transfers. But those excuses don’t always fly. It’s better to actually know what’s going on and Wireshark is one of the top tools every system administrator must have. Wireshark lets administrators analyze what’s happening in the network at a detailed level, whether someone is downloading massive amounts of data or if a suspicious program shouldn’t be present in some node. Wireshark is basically a household name in most network environments.
Clonezilla – is basically a hard disk cloning tool. It’s a fast, open source cloning tool that can help get multiple same-configuration systems up and running, as well as a good backup and data recovery tool. Clonezilla can easily copy a disk with just a few key presses and can even clone or backup PCs over the network.
Anydesk – remote desktop applications are great tools for system administrators as well as support desks, and one of the easiest to use is Anydesk. However, this software should be installed and used with caution as it allows full administrative access by default. AnyDesk uses TLS-1.2 with authenticated encryption. Every connection between AnyDesk-Clients is secured with AES-256. When a direct network connection can be established, the session is endpoint encrypted and its data is not routed through AnyDesk servers. If you have to solve a server problem in another building or another country, you can easily check or solve the problem, provided the unit is online.
Notepad++ – many systems administrators do not need massive word processors for text editing. Just a good notepad application. Notepad++ has plenty of features not present in ordinary notepad apps. It’s great for working with code for various programming languages as well as for creating and managing batch scripts for administrative tasks.
Putty – is a popular terminal emulator. It’s very lightweight, supports multiple operating systems and supports both SSH and SCP login protocols. Putty is considered the best tool for configuring servers, routers and switches remotely.
Netwrix Account Lockout Examiner – there’s always that troublesome user who gets locked out every other Tuesday and it’s difficult to know why, if the reason isn’t password forgetfulness. Such a situation is usually present in many networks where users are locked out for unknown reasons. With Netwrix Account Lockout Examiner, it becomes easier to narrow things down by translating cryptic event logs into a much more understandable form.
7-Zip – file archivers have become ubiquitous in many computing environments in order to compress large files or to bring related files together and compressing them at the same time. 7-zip has become popular because its lightweight, fast and has a high data compression rate. It supports plenty of common data compression formats (zip, rar, gzip, tar) as well as its own 7z.
Microsoft SysInternals Process Explorer – is a good alternative to the Windows Task Manager as it provides a more detailed view of Windows processes including CPU consumption, memory utilization, the files involved that are running or being used and whether these processes are communicating to external hosts. When used with VirusTotal, administrators can use it to see if a process is infected with malware. Other good tools within the suite include System Monitor, AccessChk, Autoruns and Process Monitor.
Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 – allows IT Administrators to manage Windows servers remotely from their Windows 10 workstations. With RSAT, there’s no need to use the remote desktop protocol which is more secure. RSAT allows administrators to manage the network’s Active Directory, work on Hyper-V machines, execute Power Shell and command-line commands.
Treesize – what makes workstation backups long and difficult are large files, especially unnecessary large files. Treesize makes it fast and easy for administrators to see a computer’s directory structure as it works from the computer’s MFT (master file table) and doesn’t have to worry about access rights to folders on multi-user computers. Treesize makes it easier to find certain files as well as eliminate those pesky illicit downloaded media files.