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Partner TechTip: Secure Your AIX Inittab!

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Want to ensure that your system starts cleanly each and every time?


Each time the system is started, the init program gets invoked. The inittab file describes which processes are started at system startup and during normal operation. It distinguishes between multiple run levels, each of which can have its own set of processes that are started. A simple change to the file can render the system unusable. What would happen if someone deliberately or inadvertently changed your inittab file, you didn't receive automatic alerts to unauthorized changes, and therefore and you didn't know it?


It is important to track changes to critical files, such as inittab. And it's fundamental that the inittab file is secure and is manipulated only by qualified personnel.


The inittab file is located in /etc and can be viewed easily without the risk of changing it by using this command:


lsitab -a |more




Figure 1: Run the lsitab -a |more command to view the inittab file.


Using Halcyon's AIX Server Manager's user-friendly GUI, you can create simple rules so that you're notified immediately if somebody adds, changes, or even removes any inittab records.




Figure 2: Create monitoring rules with the user-friendly GUI.


The notifications can be in the form of a visible alert, an email, or a Short Message Service (SMS)--or even an escalating combination of the three.


The Enterprise Console provides a centralized view of critical alerts--regardless of platform--with color-coded options to help identify different servers and types of alerts.




Figure 3: Enterprise Console provides visible alerts.


You can set your system to alert the appropriate personnel by email.




Figure 4: You can get notifications by email.


You can use Halcyon's AIX Server Manager to proactively monitor, manage, and control system availability and automatically respond to operational situations specific to a company's call-out rotation and escalation policies.


There's no need for an AIX expert to manage the platform as Halcyon's AIX Server Manager comes with pre-populated and pre-defined monitoring and alerting templates covering the most common monitoring requirements. These templates precisely emulate the actions of a very experienced IT administrator and make software monitoring and management simple.


And Halcyon's AIX Server Manager allows you to apply any rules as templates, which means they can be rolled out to your whole AIX environment with minimal keystrokes.

What Can Halcyon's AIX Server Manager Monitor?

  • Logical groups or drives reaching customizable thresholds
  • Critical processes active or inoperative at certain times
  • Critical subsystems active or inoperative at certain times
  • Critical errors from your "errpt"
  • System health, including load averages
  • Disk space
  • CPU/processor usage
  • Active critical services (e.g., email)
  • Completed backups
  • Errors in event logs
  • Files increasing in size too quickly
  • Applications available
  • SLA/performance reporting
  • The status of subsystems and subsystem groups
  • Changes to critical files, such as inittab, ensuring no unauthorized changes


Don't take the chance of something really bad happening. Get your system secured with the automatic alerts available with Halcyon's AIX Server Manager.


Ashley Giddings

With more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry and coming from an operational background, Ash Giddings is a technically astute Product Manager. He has worked for some of the largest data centers in Europe and in the U.S. has advised large companies on major projects to save costs and improve efficiencies. He began his career on IBM Mainframe before moving onto midrange systems such as IBM i and AIX and then Windows and Linux. His technical background has enabled him to find solutions for challenging IT problems.


Ash is a regular speaker at international conferences and industry events.




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