IT Managed Services Provider Resource Recommendation Update on January 19, 2022

Free Tool

Parallel-SSH is an asynchronous parallel SSH library designed to simplify large-scale automation. Uses the least resources and runs fastest among all Python SSH libraries. We likes it because “all you need is a file containing all your ssh hosts—which in hindsight is quite similar to ansible, in its simplest form.”

The Active Directory Replication Status Tool (ADREPLSTATUS) analyzes replication status for domain controllers in an AD domain or forest and displays the resulting data similar to REPADMIN /SHOWREPL * /CSV imported into Excel—only better. Data can also be exported for offline analysis.

PDFescape is a surprisingly capable online PDF editor that allows you to annotate & modify PDFs, create forms, and more… entirely for free. Works with any modern browser, with no downloads or account required and no watermarks.

Bulk Crap Uninstaller is an uninstaller for removing the vast majority of crap applications that weigh down Windows, with little user input or technical knowledge required. Can detect most applications and games (even portable or unregistered), clean up leftovers, force uninstall, automatically uninstall according to premade lists, and more.

PSAppDeployToolkit facilitates the performance of common application deployment tasks, including interacting with users. It offers functions that simplify the scripting needed for deploying applications in the enterprise and that help create a consistent, more-successful deployment experience. Can be used to replace your WiseScript, VBScript and Batch wrapper scripts with a single versatile, reusable, extensible tool.

Tutorial

What is Reverse Telnet and how do I configure it? is a helpful post that explans how to telnet to a device and then console to another device from there so you can remotely recover a device that loses network access because of a boot failure or config error—without an expensive console server at each remote site. Shares, “I do this all the time… Ensure you set an ACL on your AUX line too, as it would be reachable once enabled.”

Automate creating new users with Azure Automation Runbooks, Microsoft Forms & LogicApps is a blog post explaining an automated approach to onboarding new users. Author RiosEngineer adds, “[For] those who have cloud-only clients, this can be done without the runbooks/workers, as there’s a neat AAD new user creation connector available for us. You can add steps in the Logic App to wait for approval before proceeding to the runbook job creation step. That way it only creates after necessary approval by the relevant persons.”

This nice summary on flow control: “Ethernet Flow Control is traffic/protocol agnostic. It doesn’t care what kinds of packets are flowing through an interface, it only knows that the interface is about to run out of packet buffer resources; and when that happens, it fires a pause frame, requesting the device on the other end to shut up for a moment and stop sending traffic.

Flow-Control doesn’t care about QoS markings [and] will queue up VoIP packets and not think twice about it. Now, 802.1Qbb Priority Flow-Control on the other hand, can be applied to a specific traffic queue on the interface so that only some kinds of traffic (storage traffic) is paused, while other traffic keeps flowing.

As a general concept, we disable flow-control everywhere other than SAN/NAS devices where the storage vendor specifically requests [it] be enabled.… We find it’s better to get Flow-Control the hell out of the equation, and just let TCP or our QoS policies handle things.”

Free eBook

A SysAdmin Guide to Azure IaaS – 2nd Edition is a free 100+ page guide from Altaro that teaches how to set up and maintain a high-performing Azure IaaS environment. Covers the whys and hows of VM sizing and deployment, migration, storage & networking, security & identity, infrastructure as code, backup & replication, Azure Active Directory, Azure Arc, Automanage and more.

Script

[PowerShell] Advanced HTML reporting explains how you can use some simple scripting to create feature-rich reports you can share. Author MadBoyEvo clarifies, “While it says in the title Advanced HTML reporting, it’s actually advanced in terms of what you can achieve, but not complicated to use.”

Training Resource

A Practical Guide to (Correctly) Troubleshooting with Traceroute is Richard Steenbergen’s guide on the proper use of this tool. Covers how traceroute works; how to interpret DNS in traceroute and network latency; ICMP prioritization and rate ICMP prioritization and rate-limiting; asymmetric forwarding paths; load balancing across multiple paths; traceroute and MPLS. Our thanks for directing us to this resource go to spacebootsohno.

Tip

We offers a clever metaphor to explain the impact of latency to a non-technical individual: “A man got a job painting the white lines down the middle of a highway. On his first day he painted 10 miles; the next day six miles; the next day less than a mile. When the boss asked the man why he kept painting less each day, he replied: ‘I keep getting farther away from the paint can.'”

We offers this advice to reduce security risks associated with network print servers: “[T]his is not for print servers only, but really look into Micro Segmentation of your network – there is no reason why printers need to be exposed to the clients directly for example, or why the print server should see your HPC cluster.

It is vastly more effort to manage if you divide your network in many small subnets that are segregated via firewall, but the gain in security is about the biggest you can imagine (if the firewall rules are implemented strictly as needed and not what is convenient).”

Some sage career advice for the junior sysadmin: “Never EVER be afraid to ask! That’s how you learn! Maybe they are doing [whatever you are wondering about] purely out of habit and shouldn’t. Maybe they have found that after following all instruction from the maker of the software… for now, this is the “easiest way” to get things done. Be curious. Ask away. This is what gets a junior up to a senior level, gaining knowledge.”

Another reverse telnet option: “A slight step up from the reverse telnet configuration mentioned [last week] is to re-task an old router (I use a previously retired 2851) and add an Async HWIC card. I added a HWIC-16A and bought 2x CAB-HD8-ASYNC. The router has connectivity on our management network, and once SSH-ing into that router, I can now console directly into any of 16 devices that are connected. Here’s a good article on how to setup a menu system.”