First week at the new job

I started my new job last Wednesday, so I’ve been here one week now, and I like it a lot so far. The people I work with are friendly, and it’s really nice not having to drive every day.

On my first day here, I was tasked with setting up the hardware for a new firewall for the office, and was told the other system administrator would be configuring the firewall itself. On my second day, the other SA told me to go ahead and do it myself. So I gave myself a crash course in iptables, the Linux packet filter, which I had previously only used for host-based firewalling, and am now testing the final result, a firewall with network interfaces on the public internet, a DMZ for servers, and the internal office network.

My next project, beginning yesterday, is to try to get our web server configuration in some sort of reasonable order. In Apache terminology, multiple domains hosted on a single server are called VirtualHosts. The configuration for each VirtualHost on this server is roughly 8 to 20 lines long. We currently have 180+ VirtualHosts in a single 2,800+ line configuration file and, needless to say, it’s a mess. So I’ve taken it upon myself to clean it up, and I’ve now gone through the entire thing and moved every VirtualHost to it’s own file in a subdirectory of the main Apache configuration directory. It’s much more organized, but my copy and paste fingers are cramping up. Another benefit to this is that we can now easily automate removal of hosted domains if the accounts are cancelled, which is now being done manually. I just finished my part and am waiting for the other SA to show up on-line so I can get his approval before I make the change to the production web server.

The other SA, by the way, lives in France. It’s a little strange that a tiny local ISP here ended up with a sysadmin who lives on the other side of the world. At least he speaks English, so the only communication problem is deciphering his heavy French accent. Instant messaging and e-mail help (or should I say courrier electronique?).