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IRIX Advanced Site and Server Administration Guide


This guide explains how to use the system-level IRIX® utilities available with IRIS® workstations and servers. It provides descriptions of a broad range of tasks, from turning on a system, to adding users, to connecting systems in a network.

The standard network communications software that runs on Silicon Graphics® workstations is derived from the networking software in the 4.3BSD UNIX® releases from the University of California at Berkeley and the Sun® Microsystems RPC® (remote procedure call) system. The IRIX operating system implements the Internet Protocol suite and UNIX domain sockets using the 4.3BSD UNIX socket mechanism. The system also supports access to the underlying network media by means of raw sockets.

If you have a graphics workstation, you may find it convenient to use the System Manager, which is described in the Personal System Administration Guide. That guide should be your first resource for administering graphics workstations. Regardless of whether you use the System Manager or the IRIX command-line interface, the results are the same. The System Manager does not create any new files on your system, unlike applications such as WorkSpace.

If you have a server, this book (the IRIX Advanced Site and Server Administration Guide) is your primary guide to system administration, since without graphics, you cannot use the System Manager. This guide does not describe the System Manager in great detail. Instead, it covers the traditional shell command approach to administering an IRIX operating system.

If you are running the Trusted IRIX/B (TM) operating system, you should also read the Trusted IRIX/B Security Administration Guide for additional instructions and procedures necessary to maintain system security.

Overview of This Guide


The IRIX Advanced Site and Server Administration Guide is written for administrators who are responsible for performing tasks beyond the reasonable scope of ``end users.'' Frequently, people who would consider themselves end users find themselves performing advanced administrative tasks. This book has been prepared to help both the new and experienced administrator successfully perform all operations necessary to maintain a single system or network of systems. It is hoped that people who considered themselves end users in the past will, by using this book, gain experience and confidence in successfully performing advanced system administration tasks.

The title of the book indicates that the material covered is advanced, beyond the scope of the Personal System Administration Guide, and that the topics covered are not only those needed to administer a single system, but also those needed to maintain an entire network (a site) of systems and servers. This guide contains chapters that address the advanced issues a graphics workstation administrator encounters and all the issues that a site and server administrator encounters.


This guide contains:

Chapter 1

"System Administration Basics" provides an overview of the tasks expected of a system administrator. It describes the various tools available to the administrator and the various pieces of the administration documentation.

Chapter 2

"Operating the System" addresses the standard operations of your workstation or server. It also describes a site administrator's responsibilities and how to keep the system running smoothly.

Chapter 3

"User Services" deals with login administration, the user environment, communication services, and resolving user problems.

Chapter 4

"The Command (PROM) Monitor" tells you how to use boot-level utilities to configure and test your system. It describes the boot environment of the workstation and each of the Command Monitor commands.

Chapter 5

"Tuning System Performance" describes how to analyze system performance and adjust system parameters.

Chapter 6

"Backing Up and Restoring Files" tells you how and when to back up the data on your system.

Chapter 7

"Disks and Tape Drives" lists the steps to add and maintain hard disks and how to use tape drives.

Chapter 8

"File System Administration" discusses how file systems are organized, how they work, and how to maintain them.

Chapter 9

"Administering Printers" provides instruction on the installation and maintenance of local and networked printers.

Chapter 10

"Terminals and Modems" describes how to set up and maintain serial terminals, modems, and other serial devices.

Chapter 11

"Administering the CADMIN Object System" describes the maintenance of the daemons that support the System Manager.

Chapter 12

"System Security" describes how you can keep your system as secure as possible using the standard IRIX system. The optional Trusted IRIX/B secure operating system is covered in separate documentation, not in this chapter.

Chapter 13

"Administering the System Audit Trail" describes the System Audit Trail and demonstrates how to use this subsystem to produce an exact record of all system activity.

Chapter 14

"System Accounting" describes the accounting subsystem and demonstrates how to use it to account for CPU time and disk space on a per-user basis.

Chapter 15

"Understanding Silicon Graphics' Networking Products" discusses Silicon Graphics standard hardware and software networking products and describes the standard software configuration (files, daemon, processes).

Chapter 16

"Planning a Network" provides insight into planning a network. It includes internet addressing, the hosts database file, when to use certain applications, how to subnet a network, security issues, and heterogeneous network considerations.

Chapter 17

"Setting Up a Network" describes, through example, the process of configuring a network (homogeneous and heterogeneous), how to set up a router, and basic troubleshooting advice.

Chapter 18

"Managing a Network" describes the various tools available for managing a network, including backup strategies, performance issues, and fault isolation.

Chapter 19

"The BIND Name Server" provides an overview of the Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) server, also known as named. It also provides an example setup procedure and general information on managing and troubleshooting BIND.

Chapter 20

"IRIX sendmail" provides an overview of the mail system, the sendmail program, and the alias database. It contains a planning checklist and a setup example for various sendmail configurations.

Chapter 21

"UUCP" compares TCP/IP and UUCP and describes the features and functions of the UUCP networking utilities.
It also provides a setup example and information about common UUCP error messages.

Chapter 22

"SLIP and PPP" describes the features and functions of SLIP and details how to connect two stations using SLIP.

Appendix A

"IRIX Kernel Tunable Parameters" describes the kernel parameters you can change to influence system performance.

Appendix B

"IRIX Device Files" lists the device files and directories on IRIS workstations and servers.

Appendix C

"IRIX Kernel Error Messages" lists kernel error messages, their meanings, and what you should do about them.

Appendix D

"IRIX sendmail Reference" provides a concise reference to sendmail as it is implemented under IRIX.

Appendix E

"BIND Standard Resource Record Format" provides detailed information about all standard resource record formats used in BIND configuration files.

System Administration Resources

For easy reference, here is a list of the guides and resources provided with your system and the specific focus and scope of each:

Personal System Administration Guide

Covers all activities that can be performed by the end user, including those administrative activities performed using the System Manager. For example, adding a printer using the System Manager is covered, as well as how to back up specific files and directories. This guide is available through the InSight online viewing system.

IRIX Advanced Site and Server Administration Guide

Covers all activities that may be necessary to administer a system or group of systems at one site. (A site is any place where all the systems are connected or are all used by the same organization.) This guide is available through the InSight online viewing system.

Trusted IRIX/B Security Administration Guide

Covers the specific administration of the Trusted IRIX/B operating system security features. No other guide mentions the special features of this operating system. Standard IRIX systems do not support these features and this guide is not shipped with standard IRIX systems.

Other Administration Guides

You may have other administration guides for optional products that are not covered in the standard documentation set. Each of these guides is product specific.

Software Installation Administrator's Guide

The Software Installation Administrator's Guide explains how to use Inst, the command line interface to inst(1M), the Silicon Graphics installation utility. This guide explains Silicon Graphics software release conventions and software product structure and provides clear instructions for planning, installing, and maintaining a software installation. Installation procedures cover miniroot and live installations on all models of personal workstations and servers.

Reference Pages

Provide concise reference information on the use of commands. Generally, each reference page covers one command, although some reference pages cover several closely related commands. Reference pages are available online through the man command.

Release Notes

Provide specific information about the current release. Exceptions to the administration guides are found in this document. Release Notes are available online through the relnotes command.

When you have an administration question or problem, first consider the nature of your problem and compare it with the books on this list. As you learn more about your IRIS workstation or server, you'll be able to select the correct documentation automatically.

Note to Readers

This guide contains material from five guides that are no longer being published:


This guide is intended for administrators who manage one or more servers or a group of workstations. Most simple system administration on an individual graphics workstation can be performed by the user with System Manager. This tool is documented thoroughly in the Personal System Administration Guide. The IRIX Advanced Site and Server Administration Guide is written for the administrator who:

This guide is not written for users who simply want to attach their workstation to the network. If this is your goal, see the Personal System Administration Guide for easy-to-follow directions.

Style Conventions

This guide follows these conventions:

This guide uses the standard UNIX convention for referring to entries in IRIX documentation. The entry name is followed by a section number in parentheses. For example, rcp(1C) refers to the rcp online reference page.

Product Support

Silicon Graphics, Inc. provides a comprehensive product support and maintenance program for hardware and software products. For further information, contact your service organization.

Bibliography and Suggested Reading

Internet Request For Comment documents are available from the Internet Network Information Center (INTERNIC) at the following address:

Network Solutions
Attn: InterNIC Registration Services
505 Huntmar Park Drive
Herndon, VA 22070
Phone: 1-800-444-4345 or 1-703-742-4777

Bach, M., The Design of the UNIX Operating System (Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice Hall, 1986).

Braden, R. "Requirements for Internet Hosts." Internet Request For Comment 1112 (1989).

Costales, B., sendmail. (Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1993).

Deering, S. "Host Extensions for IP Multicasting." Internet Request For Comment 1112 (1989).

Everhart, C., Mamakos, L., Ullmann, R., Mockapetris, P. "New DNS RR Definitions." Internet Request For Comment 1183 (1990)

Fiedler, D., Hunter, B., UNIX System V Release 4 Administration (Carmel, IN: Hayden Books, 1991).

Frisch, A., Essential System Administration. (Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1991).

Gilly, D., UNIX in a Nutshell. (Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1992).

Hunt, C., TCP/IP Network Administration. (Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1992).

Leffler, S., The Design and Implementation of the 4.3 BSD UNIX Operating System. (Menlo Park, CA: Addison Wesley, 1989).

Lottor, M. "Domain Administrator's Guide." Internet Request For Comment 1033 (1987).

Lottor, M. "TCP Port Service Multiplexer (TCPMUX)." Internet Request For Comment 1078 (1988).

Mockapetris, P. "DNS Encoding of Network Names and Other Types." Internet Request For Comment 1101 (1989).

Mockapetris, P. "Domain Names ­ Concept and Facilities." Internet Request For Comment 1034 (1987).

Mockapetris, P. "Domain Names ­ Implementation and Specification." Internet Request For Comment 1035 (1987).

Mogul, J., Postel, J. "Internet Standard Subnetting Procedure." Internet Request for Comment 950 (1985).

Nemeth, E., Snyder, G., Sebass, S., UNIX System Administration Handbook (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989).

Partridge, C. "Mail Routing and The Domain System." Internet Request For Comment 974 (1986).

Stahl, M. "Domain Administrator's Guide." Internet Request For Comment 1032 (1987).

Thomas, R., UNIX System Administration Guide for System V. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989).

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