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Managing Linux servers with Windows management tools

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  • Managing Linux servers with Windows management tools

    Hopefully this is the right forum...

    In a predominately Windows shop being infiltrated by Linux, what tools are available, and useful, for managing Linux servers via Windows.

    Our skills are mainly Windows and we're trying to keep costs down and not hire Linux admins. Yes, we can retrain but ideally we'd like to use the Windows management tools to work with Linux servers the same way we work with Windows servers. If we could just discover the Linux servers and not have to go into Linux-think mode to manage them, that would be great.

    What WMI-based plugins have you found? Are they any good?

  • #2
    WMI ?
    Man... you'll need to change your attitude
    PuTTy (Windows SSH client) is your best friend here.

    You can try configuring SNMP and WMI agents on Linux, but you will quickly figure out that it's not the way to manage Linux clients (though you can use Computer Mangement snap-in to manage Samba shares).

    Can you be a bit more specific about what you are trying to achieve here ?
    Linux administration is really different in the ways you do thiings in Windows.
    Guy Teverovsky
    "Smith & Wesson - the original point and click interface"


    • #3
      Managing Linux servers with Windows management tools

      I know about PuTTy but we're trying to use Windows-based tools, and ways of thinking, and avoid having ot fall into Linux-think. The idea is to leverage Windows tools and mindsets as much as possible so we don't have to retool for Linux.

      WMI seems to be the common denominator as we can then use most of the Windows management tools -- MOM, SMS, etc.

      We want to do all the things on Linux that we can do on Windows; such as users and groups, disk and resource management, services, updates and change management, etc. I know Linux and Windows aren't exactly the same but they are similar enough in concept (they're both OSes).


      • #4
        ok, I'll try to bit a bit more serious.

        If you are talking about monitoring, you might get away with MOM (thou as far as I know, MOM is at it's best at monitoring MS environment, but I do not have much experience with MOM to take my word for granted).

        SMS ? not sure you can do anything with it with Linux clients. Linux has it's own patching and software distribution tools which work in totally different ways. If you are working with RedHat based distros you might want to evaluate Red Carpet from Ximian (Novell these days). Personally I like the idea of APT repository and scheduled updates on the clients, but with Red Carpet you can actually push the updates/packages instead of counting on the clients to pull them.

        I have done some testing with HP's Insight Manager and found it to be rather cumbersome. It can monitor both MS and Linux/Unix machines, but is pretty hardware dependent (it is designed for HP/Compaq hardware), but it is free and might give you some basic functionality for discovering Linux servers (never tried on non HP/Compaq hardware).

        But if I switch myself for a second into Linux thinking mode, if I wanted to detect Linux machines, I would just fire up nmap ( with OS fingerprinting switches and get a list of Linux machines.

        Anyway, there are things you can do to ease the Linux integration into MS environment:
        - SFU for authentication
        - Vintela ( has a product for simplifying the SSO, which solves most of the problems imposed by SFU (and there are a LOT)
        - you can use Computer Managemt snap-ins to manage Samba servers.

        As for WMI - it's not native to Linux. You might be able to find vendor specific agents, but from my experience those are usually outdated and closed source, meaning that either you compromise and force the use of outdated distros on end-users (and I'm talking about 1-2 years old - it's a LOT of time in Linux word) or you have no other choice but to start looking for alternatives.

        For monitoring I would be focusing on SNMP based solutions. You might also want to take a look at some open source applications (BigBrother, MRTG, BigSister, ntop and the list goes on depending on your needs).
        An example of configuring MRTG can be found here:

        There are some tools you would probably want to avoid. A good example is GFI - they say they can monitor Linux clients, bit the ability is achieved by enabling RSH (remote shell) on the client - a HUGE security hole, if you ask me.

        Bottom line: if you could be a bit more specific about the tasks you want to perform, I might have a better chance in trying to point you to the right direction.
        Guy Teverovsky
        "Smith & Wesson - the original point and click interface"