Ops School Curriculum

Welcome to the Ops School curriculum documentation site.

Ops School is a comprehensive program that will help you learn to be an operations engineer. Operations engineers are highly skilled people who manage the computer systems of businesses big and small. In addition to corporate systems, operations engineers also maintain the systems that allow websites, networks, payments systems and other Internet services to function. The field of operations engineering covers a wide variety of topics, from systems administration, to security, networking and beyond. Ops School will guide you through all of these skill sets from beginner to expert.

Since the early 90’s, operations engineers have been in high demand. As a result, these positions often offer high salaries and long term job security. The SAGE/LISA Salary Survey has charted the average salaries for systems administrators and operations engineers since 1999 and has consistently shown the field to be prosperous for those people who enjoy diving into the inner workings of computer systems.

If you already know about the profession and want to know how to start, read How to become an operations engineer.

If you are reading about this career for the first time and want to know if it is for you, check out the Careers in Operations chapter.

Table of Contents

TODO List

Todo

restoring? what not to backup, regulations on same, how to store them (PCI)

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/backups.rst, line 74.)

Todo

The idea of such a risk may not be immediately clear to a beginning ops person.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/backups.rst, line 81.)

Todo

How does FOIA affect what information an organization needs to have available? Assume the reader is a civilian and doesn’t know how FOIA affects an organization.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/backups.rst, line 98.)

Todo

media – should someone address the state of backup media? Some places are still doing tape. What about orgs who rely on standalone consumer-grade disks for client backups (e.g. Time Machine)? Risks, cost to maintain.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/backups.rst, line 131.)

Todo

Using backups to restore to a known “good” state after an incident just serves to put the machine in a known vulnerable state (security hole that was exploited is now back in operation)

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/backups.rst, line 159.)

Todo

can be used to restore system state that can be useful in a post mortem after an incident (say the attacker covered their tracks but backups were able to capture a rootkit before it was removed or before logs were tampered with)

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/backups.rst, line 161.)

Todo

a specific example of convergent over time might help

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/config_management.rst, line 31.)

Todo

Mainly for @apeiron: Simplify the topography description, possibly with use of a table to describe IP assingments

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/meta/conventions.rst, line 60.)

Todo

Discuss how authention works. Touch on /etc/(passwd|group|shadow), hashing. What are groups? Lead in to the users/groups permissions model and how permissions are based on the user/group/other bits.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/security_101.rst, line 7.)

Todo

What is PKI? What uses it? Why is it important?

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/security_201.rst, line 106.)

Todo

Mention that the philosophy here is to have many tools which perform a few discrete tasks, and run them together to get what you want.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/shell_tools_101.rst, line 6.)

Todo

stat command

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/shell_tools_101.rst, line 242.)

Todo

vmstat command

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/shell_tools_101.rst, line 247.)

Todo

strace command

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/shell_tools_101.rst, line 252.)

Todo

ulimit command

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/shell_tools_101.rst, line 257.)

Todo

Only talk about replacing text for now? It’s the most common / needed piece of sed at this level.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/shell_tools_101.rst, line 614.)

Todo

It might be interesting to put together an exercise where the student interacts with a fictional customer in some different scenarios. Depending on what the student does, the customer is happy or complains to the operations person or escalates the complaint up the management chain. How does the student respond? Could have multiple scenarios with different customers (a customer who causes his own problem then gets in the way, a customer who cannot wait, a customer who tries to fix the problem and makes it worse, a customer who uses the opportunity to speak to an operations person to dump 10 other requests on that person. This idea came to me from a series of books my kid has where you make a decision on page 10 that leads to to either page 26 or page 40. Your decision could end the story or take you in a new direction. The books are full of these decision points so the story is rarely the same twice, kinda like customer support!

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/soft_skills_101.rst, line 355.)

Todo

does this section need a real writeup or are references to Tom’s work enough?

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/soft_skills_101.rst, line 375.)

Todo

Might give an example here. Need to write more explaining how to assemble the pieces.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/soft_skills_201.rst, line 433.)

Todo

write this section.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/soft_skills_201.rst, line 487.)

Todo

“What is Development” Section needs more developer perspective.

(The original entry is located in /var/build/user_builds/ops-school/checkouts/latest/sysadmin_101.rst, line 190.)

Indices and tables