Lead Image © Roywylam and Hans Slegers, 123RF.com

Lead Image © Roywylam and Hans Slegers, 123RF.com

My Five Favorite Sys Admin Tools

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Article from ADMIN 44/2018
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I've written hundreds of articles over the past two decades, and I always seem to come back to a single theme: sys admin tools. I have five favorite tools that have not only stood the test of time but have also served me well in every job I've held, including when I ran my own computer consulting company.

I've written hundreds of articles over the past two decades, and I always seem to come back to a single theme: sys admin tools. I have five favorite tools that have not only stood the test of time but have also served me well in every job I've held, including when I ran my own computer consulting company. Some IT folks want to keep their tools secret, but I feel like keeping those kinds of secrets hurts everyone, especially the secret keeper. It doesn't elevate you as a technical person to pretend that you have a corner on a covert tool that you just can't tell anyone about lest you reveal your true identity. Sys admins aren't superheroes. We serve at the pleasure of our employers, and we are overhead – meaning that our salaries and benefits subtract directly from the corporate bottom line. It's time to be transparent about these things and share our knowledge with each other. To that end, here are my favorite sys admin tools and why I continue to love and support them.

PowerShell: If you administer Windows systems, you must learn PowerShell. There's just no other tool as powerful and as comprehensive for administering Windows systems through interactive sessions or through scripts. PowerShell modules are available for Active Directory, Exchange, Hyper-V, VMware, and an array of other technologies.

Pulseway: Pulseway is a sys admin's best friend. You can fully monitor and manage Windows, Mac, and Linux systems from a web browser or from a smartphone. Pulseway requires a highly configurable agent on each managed system, but the level of detail and the capability to use command-line executables and scripts and PowerShell is invaluable. Additionally, you can apply patches, chat with logged on users, view graphical screens, take snapshot views of webcams, work with printers, apply advanced notifications, and work with a host's virtual machines. Pulseway is an extremely inexpensive but powerful tool that I'll never work without.

Wireshark: If you

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