Chapter 7. SQL Database Administration

What’s a chapter on database administration doing in a system administration book? There are three strong reasons for people with interests in Perl and system administration to become database-savvy:

  1. A not-so-subtle thread running through several chapters of this book is the increasing importance of databases to modern-day system administration. We’ve used (albeit simple) databases to keep track of user and machine information; that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mailing lists, password files, and even the Windows NT/2000 registry are all examples of databases you probably see every day. All large-scale system administration packages (e.g., offerings from CA, Tivoli, HP, and Microsoft) are dependent on database backends. If you are planning to do any serious system administration, you are bound to bump into a database eventually.

  2. Database administration is a play-within-a-play for system administrators. Database Administrators (DBAs) have to contend with, among other things:

    Logins/users
    Log files
    Storage management (disk space, etc.)
    Process management
    Connectivity issues
    Backup
    Security

    Sound familiar? We can and should learn from both knowledge domains.

  3. Perl is a glue language, arguably one of the best. Much work has gone into Perl/database integration, thanks mostly to the tremendous energy surrounding Web development. We can put this effort to work for us. Though Perl can integrate with several different database formats like Unix DBM, Berkeley ...

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