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The Enterprise Linux Resource (ELResource) is an on-line resource for professionals administering, developing and/or integrating Linux in enterprise computing and networking environments.

Presentation

There is countless Linux documentation -- articles, books, HOWTOs and other resources. With the exception of most books, the majority of articles, HOWTOs and other resources give little technical foundation or flexibility outside of a specific implementation or solution. Linux, like most UNIX-like systems, are very flexible -- with a countless number of subset and superset solutions to accomplish a capability. In fact, there are far too many HOWTOs and articles on how to accomplish something that may be very inappropriate for many organizations, or already assume an organization is tied to a specific implementation.

To eliminate this common issue, the ELResource takes a 3-step, complementary approach to Enterprise Linux information:

  • Concept
  • Practice
  • Task

Concept

It is very difficult to find any Internet resources on Linux that cover general concepts and practices to implementing Linux and Open Source -- especially for enterprise environments. Most HOWTOs assume you already want to implement a specific solution -- assuming the IT professional knows of it in the first place. And most HOWTOs are limited in what exposure they can give to compatibility, alternatives, etc...

The Concept in the ELResource is to present and discuss foundations of technology as a solution, not a specific piece (or pieces) of software or product. It is designed to present the underlying technology behind an Enterprise solution. Because open standards result in so many interconnected options into a combinational solution, it's important to recognize the commonality between different pieces and options. As such, the Concept is key to understanding the world of Linux and other UNIX-like systems that implement Open Standards (aka Open Systems) such as with Open Source software.

For those coming from a vendor-centric computing and network world, especially those knowing only one major vendor product line, it will "de-program" you from products into their underlying technologies. This will not only improve your abilities as a Linux administrator and integrator, but as an administrator and integrator of vendor solutions as well.

Practice

The Internet is dominated with far too much documentation on only one or two Linux practices. Much of this documentation not only provides solutions that are not feasible for many enterprises, but their common use leads to many Linux and Open Source project failures. Because open standards result in so many interconnection options into a solution, some better than others for specific environments. But in general, there are a handful of common solutions that address most needs of Enterprise systems and networks.

The Practice in the ELResource is to document the Best Common Practices (BCPs), common alternatives and common options when crafting solutions using a combination of Linux and open source software. Many different Linux and open source software components make up solutions, some even of the same type of software, but serve different purposes. Organizing these components into several, common practices is what enterprise Linux and UNIX-like administrators and integrators do daily.

Again, for those coming from a vendor-centric computing and network world, especially those knowing only one major vendor product line, you'll quickly like the flexibility and security of the piecemeal, open standard approach known to UNIX-like system administrators. Only what you need for exactly what you need and the flexibility to integrate and augment as necessary without having to redesign the entire network or replace the existing server infrastructure.

Task

A major problem with Internet Resources such as FAQs and HOWTOs are their distractions to general concepts and practices, which are heavily incomplete. On the contrary, the ELResource separates out commands and setup tasks from general concepts, practices and options by providing specific and broader sections for each. So for each technology Concept that crosses one or more common Practices using Enterprise Linux and Open Source solutions, there are several, if not many, pieces of software to be integrated and implemented.

The Task is a page that covers the specific details of setting up Enterprise Linux and other Open Source software. They do not try to cover the greater aspects of enterprise design or network-wide integration on their own. But in combination with the Concept and Practice pages that refer to them, they give you the detailed instructions to accomplishing setup and configuration of specific components of a larger part of a combinational Enterprise Linux and Open Source/Standard solution.

For those coming from a vendor-centric computing and network world, the piecemeal, open standard approach of Linux and UNIX-like systems may seem like it requires a lot of learning. But in reality, it drastically reduces the administrator workload -- especially for maintenance -- because once a service for an open standard interface is configured, it continues to work as configured, regardless of the failures around it. For those that have installed patches for vendor integrated solutions and found they unintentionally break things unrelated to your configuration, you will find the tasks and updates for specific UNIX-like systems an absolute dream in administration and configuration management.

Domains

Most Enterprise Linux Concepts, Practices and Tasks fall into specific sets of Enterprise system domains. There are currently eight (8) categories:

* ELDomAva - Availability and Redunancy
* ELDomECM - Configuration and Project Management
* ELDomCol - Collaboration and Mail Services
* ELDomDBA - Database Administration
* ELDomDir - Directory, Authentication and Name Services
* ELDomNFS - Network File Services
* ELDomInt - Internet and Web Services
* ELDomSec - Systems and Network Security

Plus one (1) catch-all for new content not yet organized:

* ELDomUnk - Enterprise Linux (Unknown Domain)

Availability and Redundancy

ELDomAva - Enterprise Linux Availability and Redundancy covers a broad set of separate and some complementary pieces to guaranteeing availability, failover, redundancy, storage and other service aspects.

Configuration and Project Management

ELDomECM - Enterprise Linux Configuration and Project Management covers a broad set of guiding principles in integration and regression testing, distributing and rolling out new systems, as well as updating and maintaining distinct configuration and baselines of existing systems in production.

NOTE: These concepts are in addition to any package and/or distribution integration and/or regression testing done by a project or distribution -- which are based on this section, then expanded upon in the separate (non-domain) section ELDisXXX Distribution and Lifecycle of the ELResource.

Collaboration and Mail Services

ELDomCol - Enterprise Linux Collaboration and Mail Servces cover those technologies and solutions specific to intranet and Internet collaboration open and proprietary standards, protocols and services.

NOTE: Most "Exchange Replacements" have very, very proprietary back-ends that connect via a proprietary Mail API (MAPI) Service Provider. Such vendor-centric, proprietary standard collaboration solutions should be avoided and will not be included in this domain.

Database Administration

ELDomDBA - Enterprise Linux Database Administration covers the various open and proprietary database protocols, standards and solutions for data storage and retrieval in an enterprise environment.

Directory, Authentication and Name Services

ELDomDir - Enterprise Linux Authentication, Directory and Name Services covers a broad plethora of network authentication, authorization, object and other directory store and naming services.

Professional Note: This is single-handedly the most requested set of concepts, practices and tasks I have received requests for consulting and training on. It's also where I've seen 99% of Linux integration projects go terribly wrong, especially since most integrators were not familiar with options such as Fedora Directory Server (formerly known as iPlanet/Netscape Directory Server, also sold as Red Hat Directory Server), Sun One (based on iPlanet/Netscape) or even the features, options, limitations and issues -- let alone underlying design, foundations and/or capabilities -- of ActiveDirectory Services (ADS) and eDirectory (formerly known as NetWare/Novell Directory Server).

Network File Services

ELDomNFS - Enterprise Linux Network File Services covers common LAN/WAN file, print and other services that allow network clients to have network resources appear as local files or devices -- including remote procedure call (RPC) fundamentals. It will also include extensive and details security analysis of the protocols and standards used, which are commonly misunderstood and proliferated far differently than actual.

Internet and Web Services

ELDomInt - Enterprise Linux Internet and Web Services covers a broad set of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) open standards and protocols used for both intranet and Internet services. In a nutshell, if it uses Internet protocols and doesn't fit under ELDomCol, ELDomDir or ELDomNFS, it goes here.

Systems and Network Security

ELDomSec - Enterprise Linux Systems and Network Security covers concepts, practices and tasks to securing enterprise Linux systems and networks. All ELResource practices and tasks map well into the practical seven (7) domains of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP).

NOTE: The seven (7) domains of the SSCP map into the superset ten (10) domains of the (ISC)² Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Unknown

ELDomUnk - Enterprise Linux (Unknown Domain)

Contributors: if you don't know which domain a concept, practice or task solely belongs, please add it to the following domain.

External Distribution and Lifecycle

All general Enterprise Linux Distribution and Lifecycle concepts, practices and tasks are covered under the ELResource domain ELDomECM - Enterprise Linux Configuration and Project Management. But nearly all Enterprise Linux deployments will be made with some existing, Enterprise Linux software distributed from external parties to your enterprise. This section focuses on the distribution and lifecycle done by these external parties, and complement the aforementioned ECM domain.

* ELDisDeb - Debian and Progency Enterprise Linux Distribution and Lifecycle
* ELDisFed - Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Distribution and Lifecycle
* ELDisSus - SuSE Linux and Novell Enterprise Linux Distribution and Lifecycle
* ELDisSrc - Gentoo and Source Code Enterprise Distribution and Lifecycle

Debian-Progency

ELDisDeb - Debian and Progeny Enterprise Linux Distribution and Lifecycle covers Debian GNU/Linux releases and the services provided by Debian founder Ian Murdock's Progeny. Although Debian Linux is a packages-based Linux distribution, the Progeny enterprise Linux approach does not follow a fixed "enterprise" product release. Progeny provides product and services build around your company's Enterprise Configuration Management (ECM).

Fedora-Red Hat

ELDisFed - Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Distribution and Lifecycle covers Fedora(TM) Core (FC, formerly known as Red Hat(R) Linux) release, the greater Fedora Project including Fedora Extras, Fedora Legacy and Fedora Third Party, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscriptions and available service level agreements (SLA) from Red Hat. It also covers rebuilds of RHEL, such as CentOS, which would also address projects that use either FC and CentOS as their base.

SuSE-Novell

ELDisSus - SuSE Linux and Novell Enterprise Linux Distribution and Lifecycle covers SuSE(R) Linux (SL), SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED, formerly known as Novell Linux Desktop, NLD) and Novell Open Enterprise Server which are available in a variety of retail product and periodic subscription with optional service level agreements (SLA). It also covers OpenSuSE, which is becoming the basis for all new SuSE-Novell Linux developments, much like Fedora Core is to RHEL.

Gentoo-Source

ELDisSrc - Gentoo and Source Code Enterprise Distribution and Lifecycle covers source code-based built, testing and release, primary focusing on the Gentoo Foundation's Gentoo Linux and Portage system and corresponding repository. Unlike Debian-Progeny, Fedora-Red Hat or SuSE-Novell -- all package-based distribution -- Gentoo relies on source code-based build and distribution using an innovative fetch-build framework that greatly improves over traditional UNIX distribution (such as Berkeley Software Distribution, BSD, versions of UNIX). The Gentoo portage source code fetch-build-distribute approach can be used inside of enterprises as well, even for other distros -- and there will be some concept, practice and task overlap with the ELResouce domain ELDomECM - Enterprise Linux Configuration and Project Management.

Enterprise Linux Business

There are many business concepts involved with enterprise Linux and open source, including microeconomics, licensing and other legal and/or even ethical concerns.

Risk Analysis

ELBusERA - Enterprise Risk Analysis

In most cases, risk is always the underlying value to long-term business welfare. Despite common media perception, there are many factors in adoption of open source, open standard, proprietary and/or non-standard software interfaces, standards and intellectual property (or lackthereof).

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