Posts Tagged ‘sbin’

How to disable appArmor automatically installed and loaded after Linux Debian 10 to 11 Upgrade. Disable Apparmour on Deb based Linux

Friday, January 28th, 2022


I've upgraded recently all my machines from Debian Buster Linux 10 to Debian 11 Bullseye (if you wonder what Bullseye is) this is one of the heroes of Disneys Toy Stories which are used for a naming of General Debian Distributions.
After the upgrade most of the things worked expected, expect from some stuff like MariaDB (MySQL) and other weirdly behaving services. After some time of investigation being unable to find out what was causing the random issues observed on the machines. I finally got the strange daemon improper functioning and crashing was caused by AppArmor.

AppArmor ("Application Armor") is a Linux kernel security module that allows the system administrator to restrict programs' capabilities with per-program profiles. Profiles can allow capabilities like network access, raw socket access, and the permission to read, write, or execute files on matching paths. AppArmor supplements the traditional Unix discretionary access control (DAC) model by providing mandatory access control (MAC). It has been partially included in the mainline Linux kernel since version 2.6.36 and its development has been supported by Canonical since 2009.

The general idea of apparmor is wonderful as it could really strengthen system security, however it should be setup on install time and not setup on update time. For one more time I got convinced myself that upgrading from version to version to keep up to date with security is a hard task and often the results are too much unexpected and a better way to upgrade from General version to version any modern Linux / Unix distribution (and their forked mobile equivalents Android etc.) is to just make a copy of the most important configuration, setup the services on a freshly new installed machine be it virtual or a physical Server and rebuild the whole system from scratch, test and then run the system in production, substituting the old server general version with the new machine. 

The rest is leading to so much odd issues like this time with AppArmors causing distractions on the servers hosted applications.

But enough rent if you're unlucky and unwise enough to try to Upgrade Debian / Ubuntu 20, 21 / Mint 18, 19 etc. or whatever Deb distro from older general release to a newer One. Perhaps the best first thing to do onwards is stop and remove AppArmor (those who are hardcore enthusiasts could try to enable the failing services due to apparmor), by disabling the respective apparmor hardening profile but i did not have time to waste on stupid stuff and experiment so I preferred to completely stop it. 

To identify the upgrade oddities has to deal with apparmors service enabled security protections you should be able to find respective records inside /var/log/messages as well as in /var/log/audit/audit.log


# dmesg

[   64.210463] audit: type=1400 audit(1548120161.662:21): apparmor="DENIED" operation="sendmsg" info="Failed name lookup – disconnected path" error=-13 profile="/usr/sbin/mysqld" name="run/systemd/notify" pid=2527 comm="mysqld" requested_mask="w" denied_mask="w" fsuid=113 ouid=0
[  144.364055] audit: type=1400 audit(1548120241.595:22): apparmor="DENIED" operation="sendmsg" info="Failed name lookup – disconnected path" error=-13 profile="/usr/sbin/mysqld" name="run/systemd/notify" pid=2527 comm="mysqld" requested_mask="w" denied_mask="w" fsuid=113 ouid=0
[  144.465883] audit: type=1400 audit(1548120241.699:23): apparmor="DENIED" operation="sendmsg" info="Failed name lookup – disconnected path" error=-13 profile="/usr/sbin/mysqld" name="run/systemd/notify" pid=2527 comm="mysqld" requested_mask="w" denied_mask="w" fsuid=113 ouid=0
[  144.566363] audit: type=1400 audit(1548120241.799:24): apparmor="DENIED" operation="sendmsg" info="Failed name lookup – disconnected path" error=-13 profile="/usr/sbin/mysqld" name="run/systemd/notify" pid=2527 comm="mysqld" requested_mask="w" denied_mask="w" fsuid=113 ouid=0
[  144.666722] audit: type=1400 audit(1548120241.899:25): apparmor="DENIED" operation="sendmsg" info="Failed name lookup – disconnected path" error=-13 profile="/usr/sbin/mysqld" name="run/systemd/notify" pid=2527 comm="mysqld" requested_mask="w" denied_mask="w" fsuid=113 ouid=0
[  144.767069] audit: type=1400 audit(1548120241.999:26): apparmor="DENIED" operation="sendmsg" info="Failed name lookup – disconnected path" error=-13 profile="/usr/sbin/mysqld" name="run/systemd/notify" pid=2527 comm="mysqld" requested_mask="w" denied_mask="w" fsuid=113 ouid=0
[  144.867432] audit: type=1400 audit(1548120242.099:27): apparmor="DENIED" operation="sendmsg" info="Failed name lookup – disconnected path" error=-13 profile="/usr/sbin/mysqld" name="run/systemd/notify" pid=2527 comm="mysqld" requested_mask="w" denied_mask="w" fsuid=113 ouid=0

1. How to check if AppArmor is running on the system

If you have a system with enabled apparmor you should get some output like:

root@haproxy2:~# apparmor_status 
apparmor module is loaded.
5 profiles are loaded.
5 profiles are in enforce mode.
0 profiles are in complain mode.
1 processes have profiles defined.
1 processes are in enforce mode.
   /usr/sbin/ntpd (387) 
0 processes are in complain mode.
0 processes are unconfined but have a profile defined.

Also if you check the service you will find out that Debian's Major Release upgrade from 10 Buster to 11 BullsEye with.

apt update -y && apt upgrade -y && apt dist-update -y

automatically installed apparmor and started the service, e.g.:

# systemctl status apparmor
● apparmor.service – Load AppArmor profiles
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/apparmor.service; enabled; vendor pres>
     Active: active (exited) since Sat 2022-01-22 23:04:58 EET; 5 days ago
       Docs: man:apparmor(7)
    Process: 205 ExecStart=/lib/apparmor/apparmor.systemd reload (code=exited, >
   Main PID: 205 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
        CPU: 43ms

яну 22 23:04:58 haproxy2 apparmor.systemd[205]: Restarting AppArmor
яну 22 23:04:58 haproxy2 apparmor.systemd[205]: Reloading AppArmor profiles
яну 22 23:04:58 haproxy2 systemd[1]: Starting Load AppArmor profiles…
яну 22 23:04:58 haproxy2 systemd[1]: Finished Load AppArmor profiles.


# dpkg -l |grep -i apparmor
ii  apparmor                          2.13.6-10                      amd64        user-space parser utility for AppArmor
ii  libapparmor1:amd64                2.13.6-10                      amd64        changehat AppArmor library
ii  libapparmor-perl:amd64               2.13.6-10

In case AppArmor is disabled, you will get something like:

root@pcfrxenweb:~# aa-status 
apparmor module is loaded.
0 profiles are loaded.
0 profiles are in enforce mode.
0 profiles are in complain mode.
0 processes have profiles defined.
0 processes are in enforce mode.
0 processes are in complain mode.
0 processes are unconfined but have a profile defined.

2. How to disable AppArmor for particular running services processes

In my case after the upgrade of a system running a MySQL Server suddenly out of nothing after reboot the Database couldn't load up properly and if I try to restart it with the usual

root@pcfrxen: /# systemctl restart mariadb

I started getting errors like:

DBI connect failed : Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock' (2)

To get an idea of what kind of profile definitions, could be enabled disabled on apparmor enabled system do:

root@pcfrxen:/var/log# ls -1 /etc/apparmor.d/

Lets say you want to disable any protection AppArmor profile for MySQL you can do it with:

root@pcfrxen:/ #  ln -s /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.mysqld /etc/apparmor.d/disable/
root@pcfrxen:/ # apparmor_parser -R /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.mysqld 

To make the system know you have disabled a profile you should restart apparmor service:

root@pcfrxen:/ # systemctl restart apparmor.service

3. Disable completely AppArmor to save your time weird system behavior and hang bangs

In my opinion the best thing to do anyways, especially if you don't run Containerized applications, that runs only one single application / service at at time is to completely disable apparmor, otherwise you would have to manually check each of the running applications before the upgrade and make sure that apparmor did not bring havoc to some of it.
Hence my way was to simple get rid of apparmor by disable and remove the related package completely out of the system to do so:

root@pcfrxen:/ # systemctl stop apparmor
root@pcfrxen:/ # systemctl disable apparmor
root@pcfrxen:/ # apt-get remove -y apparmor

Once  disabled to make the system completely load out anything loaded related to apparmor loaded into system memory, you should do machine reboot.

root@pcfrxen:/ # shutdown -r now

Hopefully if you run into same issue after removal of apparmor most of the things should be working fine after the upgrade. Anyways I had to go through each and every app everywhere and make sure it is working as expected. The major release upgrade has also automatically enabled me some of the already disable services, thus if you have upgraded like me I would advice you do a close check on every enabled / running service everywhere:

root@pcfrxen:/# systemctl list-unit-files|grep -i enabled

Beware of AppArmor  !!! 🙂

Linux: How to set KVM Virtual Machine to autostart on system boot

Thursday, July 15th, 2021


Recently I've written a short article on how to make auto boot OpenVZ container Virtual Machine if system gets rebooted as I had the task to do so in daily job as sysadmin.
Few days ago after some power outage in one of Frankfurt based Data Centers, some Rack tech equipment has been temporary powered of and once the electricity was up again, some Linux servers  running Kernel Based Virtualization ( KVM ) some of the virtual machines did not managed to automatically start up and we had to manually start them one by one.
To manually start each of the machines that did not start up had to do the trivial:

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh list
 Id    Name                           State
 3     VM500                   running

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh dominfo VM500
Id:             3
Name:           VM500
UUID:           82075903-a4ce-5ec0-a3d8-9ee83d85fc75
OS Type:        hvm
State:          running
CPU(s):         2
CPU time:       247407.9s
Max memory:     2097152 KiB
Used memory:    2097152 KiB
Persistent:     yes
Autostart:      disable
Managed save:   no
Security model: selinux
Security DOI:   0
Security label: system_u:system_r:svirt_t:s0:c447,c723 (permissive)

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh start VM_domain_Name

Of course logcally to prevent future issues in case if Linux server gets suddenly rebooted due to whatever reason, we had to configure the machines in questions to automatically boot on OS system boot.

In some rare cases if above start command does not help you might want to check what is the status of libvirtd and investigate the logs in /var/log/libvirt/ i.e. /var/log/libvirt/libvirt.log

An alternative but more complicated way to set virtual machine to automatically start on boot is by using default location for automatic VM start just like OpenXEn has its /etc/xen/auto/ dirtory from where each soft symlinked VM configuration from /etc/xen/VM_name.cfg is started in KVM Hypervisor hosts to auto boot a certain vm you have to link /etc/libvirt/qemu/VM-to-autoboot-name.xml to /etc/libvirt/qemu/autostart/VM-to-autoboot-name.xml

[root@hypervisor ~]# systemctl status libvirtd
● libvirtd.service – Virtualization daemon
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/libvirtd.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Tue 2021-06-29 10:21:30 CEST; 2 weeks 2 days ago
     Docs: man:libvirtd(8)
 Main PID: 1809 (libvirtd)
    Tasks: 22 (limit: 32768)
   CGroup: /system.slice/libvirtd.service
           ├─1809 /usr/sbin/libvirtd
           ├─2335 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/default.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/us…
           ├─2336 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/default.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/us…
           ├─2386 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/Host-Only.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/…
           └─2387 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/Host-Only.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/…

If for some reason libvirtd is not running or disabled state you will have to enable it with:

[root@hypervisor ~]# systemctl enable libvirtd

If the virtualization is running on some RPM based distribtuion OpenSuse whatever and libvirtd is controlled via chkconfig (redhat runlevel alternative system), you will have to :

[root@hypervisor ~]# chkconfig libvirtd on

Disabling KVM Virtual Machine from auto start on server boot

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh autostart Debian10 –disable
Domain Debian10 unmarked as autostarted

Fix Zabbix selinux caused permission issues on CentOS 7 Linux / cannot set resource limit: [13] Permission denied error solution

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021


If you have to install Zabbix client that has to communicate towards Zabbix server via a Zabbix Proxy you might be unpleasently surprised that it cannot cannot be start if the selinux mode is set to Enforcing.
Error message like on below screenshot will be displayed when starting proxy client with systemctl.


In the zabbix logs you will see error  messages such as:

"cannot set resource limit: [13] Permission denied, CentOS 7"


29085:20160730:062959.263 Starting Zabbix Agent [Test host]. Zabbix 3.0.4 (revision 61185).
29085:20160730:062959.263 **** Enabled features ****
29085:20160730:062959.263 IPv6 support: YES
29085:20160730:062959.263 TLS support: YES
29085:20160730:062959.263 **************************
29085:20160730:062959.263 using configuration file: /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.conf
29085:20160730:062959.263 cannot set resource limit: [13] Permission denied
29085:20160730:062959.263 cannot disable core dump, exiting…


Next step to do is to check whether zabbix is listed in selinux's enabled modules to do so run:

[root@centos ~ ]# semodules -l

vhostmd    1.1.0
virt    1.5.0
vlock    1.2.0
vmtools    1.0.0
vmware    2.7.0
vnstatd    1.1.0
vpn    1.16.0
w3c    1.1.0
watchdog    1.8.0
wdmd    1.1.0
webadm    1.2.0
webalizer    1.13.0
wine    1.11.0
wireshark    2.4.0
xen    1.13.0
xguest    1.2.0
xserver    3.9.4
zabbix    1.6.0
zarafa    1.2.0
zebra    1.13.0
zoneminder    1.0.0
zosremote    1.2.0


[root@centos ~ ]# sestatus
# sestatusSELinux status:                 enabled
SELinuxfs mount:                /sys/fs/selinux
SELinux root directory:         /etc/selinux
Loaded policy name:             targeted
Current mode:                   enforcing
Mode from config file:          enforcing
Policy MLS status:              enabled
Policy deny_unknown status:     allowed
Max kernel policy version:      28

To get exact zabbix IDs that needs to be added as permissive for Selinux you can use ps -eZ like so:

[root@centos ~ ]# ps -eZ |grep -i zabbix
system_u:system_r:zabbix_agent_t:s0 1149 ?     00:00:00 zabbix_agentd
system_u:system_r:zabbix_agent_t:s0 1150 ?     00:04:28 zabbix_agentd
system_u:system_r:zabbix_agent_t:s0 1151 ?     00:00:00 zabbix_agentd
system_u:system_r:zabbix_agent_t:s0 1152 ?     00:00:00 zabbix_agentd
system_u:system_r:zabbix_agent_t:s0 1153 ?     00:00:00 zabbix_agentd
system_u:system_r:zabbix_agent_t:s0 1154 ?     02:21:46 zabbix_agentd

As you can see zabbix is enabled and hence selinux enforcing mode is preventing zabbix client / server to operate and communicate normally, hence to make it work we need to change zabbix agent and zabbix proxy to permissive mode.

Setting selinux for zabbix agent and zabbix proxy to permissive mode

If you don't have them installed you might neet the setroubleshoot setools, setools-console and policycoreutils-python rpms packs (if you have them installed skip this step).

[root@centos ~ ]# yum install setroubleshoot.x86_64 setools.x86_64 setools-console.x86_64 policycoreutils-python.x86_64

Then to add zabbix service to become permissive either run

[root@centos ~ ]# semanage permissive –add zabbix_t

[root@centos ~ ]# semanage permissive -a zabbix_agent_t

In some cases you might also need in case if just adding the permissive for zabbix_agent_t try also :

setsebool -P zabbix_can_network=1

Next try to start zabbox-proxy and zabbix-agent systemd services 

[root@centos ~ ]# systemctl start zabbix-proxy.service

[root@centos ~ ]# systemctl start zabbix-agent.service

Hopefully all should report fine with the service checking the status should show you something like:

[root@centos ~ ]# systemctl status zabbix-agent
● zabbix-agent.service – Zabbix Agent
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/zabbix-agent.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Thu 2021-06-24 07:47:42 CEST; 1 weeks 5 days ago
 Main PID: 1149 (zabbix_agentd)
   CGroup: /system.slice/zabbix-agent.service
           ├─1149 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd -c /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.conf
           ├─1150 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: collector [idle 1 sec]
           ├─1151 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: listener #1 [waiting for connection]
           ├─1152 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: listener #2 [waiting for connection]
           ├─1153 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: listener #3 [waiting for connection]
           └─1154 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: active checks #1 [idle 1 sec]

Check the Logs finally to make sure all is fine with zabbix being allowed by selinux.

[root@centos ~ ]# grep zabbix_proxy /var/log/audit/audit.log

[root@centos ~ ]# tail -n 100 /var/log/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.log

If no errors are in and you receive and you can visualize the usual zabbix collected CPU / Memory / Disk etc. values you're good, Enjoy ! 🙂

How to automate open xen Hypervisor Virtual Machines backups shell script

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

openxen-backup-logo As a sysadmin that have my own Open Xen Debian Hypervisor running on a Lenovo ThinkServer few months ago due to a human error I managed to mess up one of my virtual machines and rebuild the Operating System from scratch and restore files service and MySQl data from backup that really pissed me of and this brought the need for having a decent Virtual Machine OpenXen backup solution I can implement on the Debian ( Buster) 10.10 running the free community Open Xen version 4.11.4+107-gef32c7afa2-1. The Hypervisor is a relative small one holding just 7 VM s:

HypervisorHost:~#  xl list
Name                                        ID   Mem VCPUs      State   Time(s)
Domain-0                                     0 11102    24     r—–  214176.4
pcfrxenweb                                  11 12288     4     -b—-  247425.5
pcfrxen                                     12 16384    10     -b—-  1371621.4
windows7                                    20  4096     2     -b—-   97887.2
haproxy2                                    21  4096     2     -b—-   11806.9
jitsi-meet                                  22  2048     2     -b—-   12843.9
zabbix                                      23  2048     2     -b—-   20275.1
centos7                                     24  2040     2     -b—-   10898.2

HypervisorHost:~# xl list|grep -v 'Name ' |grep  -v 'Domain-0'  |wc -l

The backup strategy of the script is very simple to shutdown the running VM machine, make a copy with rsync to a backup location the image of each of the Virtual Machines in a bash shell loop for each virtual machine shown in output of xl command and backup to a preset local directory in my case this is /backups/ the backup of each virtual machine is produced within a separate backup directory with a respective timestamp. Backup VM .img files are produced in my case to mounted 2x external attached hard drives each of which is a 4 Terabyte Seagate Plus Backup (Storage). The original version of the script was made to be a slightly different by Zhiqiang Ma whose script I used for a template to come up with my xen VM backup solution. To prevent the Hypervisor's load the script is made to do it with a nice of (nice -n 10) this might be not required or you might want to modify it to better suit your needs. Below is the script itself you can fetch a copy of it /usr/sbin/ :


# Author: Zhiqiang Ma (
# Modified to work with xl and OpenXen by Georgi Georgiev –
# Original creation dateDec. 27, 2010
# Script takes all defined vms under xen_name_list and prepares backup of each
# after shutting down the machine prepares archive and copies archive in externally attached mounted /backup/disk1 HDD
# Latest update: 08.06.2021 G. Georgiev –

log_file=/var/log/xen/backups/bak-$(date +%Y_%m_%d).log
err_log_file=/var/log/xen/backups/bak_err-$(date +%H_%M_%Y_%m_%d).log
bak_dir=/backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images/$(date +%Y_%m_%d)/xen/domains
#xen_name_list="haproxy2 pcfrxenweb jitsi-meet zabbix windows7 centos7 pcfrxenweb pcfrxen"
xen_name_list="windows7 haproxy2 jitsi-meet zabbix centos7"

if [ ! -d /var/log/xen/backups ]; then
echo mkdir -p /var/log/xen/backups
 mkdir -p /var/log/xen/backups

if [ ! -d $bak_dir ]; then
echo mkdir -p $bak_dir
 mkdir -p $bak_dir


# check whether bak runned last week
if [ -e $mark_file ] ; then
        echo  rm -f $mark_file
 rm -f $mark_file
        echo  touch $mark_file
 touch $mark_file
  # exit 0

# set std and stderr to log file
        echo mv $log_file $log_file.old
       mv $log_file $log_file.old
        echo mv $err_log_file $err_log_file.old
       mv $err_log_file $err_log_file.old
        echo "exec 2> $err_log_file"
       exec 2> $err_log_file
        echo "exec > $log_file"
       exec > $log_file

# check whether the VM is running
# We only backup running VMs

echo "*** Check alive VMs"


for i in $xen_name_list
        echo "/usr/sbin/xl list > /tmp/tmp-xen-list"
        /usr/sbin/xl list > /tmp/tmp-xen-list
  grepinlist=`grep $i" " /tmp/tmp-xen-list`;
  if [[ “$grepinlist” == “” ]]
    echo $i is not alive.
    echo $i is alive.
    xen_name_list_tmp=$xen_name_list_tmp" "$i


echo "Alive VM list:"

for i in $xen_name_list
   echo $i

echo "End alive VM list."

echo "*** Backup starts"

echo "*** Copy VMs to local disk"

for i in $xen_name_list
  echo "Shutdown $i"
        echo  /usr/sbin/xl shutdown $i
        /usr/sbin/xl shutdown $i
        if [ $? != ‘0’ ]; then
                echo 'Not Xen Disk image destroying …';
                /usr/sbin/xl destroy $i
  sleep 30

  echo "Copy $i"
  echo "Copy to local_bak_dir: $local_bak_dir"
      echo /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_dir/$i/{disk.img,swap.img} $local_bak_dir/$i/
     time /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_dir/$i/{disk.img,swap.img} $local_bak_dir/$i/
      echo /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
     time /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
  echo "Create $i"
  # with vmmem=1024"
  # /usr/sbin/xm create $xen_dir/ vmid=$i vmmem=1024
          echo /usr/sbin/xl create $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg
          /usr/sbin/xl create $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg
## Uncomment if you need to copy with scp somewhere
###       echo scp $log_file $bak_dir/xen-bak-111.log
###      echo  /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $log_file $local_bak_dir/xen-bak-111.log

echo "*** Compress local bak vmdisks"

for i in $xen_name_list
  echo "Compress $i"
      echo tar -z -cfv $bak_dir/$i-$(date +%Y_%m_%d).tar.gz $local_bak_dir/$i-$(date +%Y_%m_%d) $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
     time nice -n 10 tar -z -cvf $bak_dir/$i-$(date +%Y_%m_%d).tar.gz $local_bak_dir/$i/ $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
    echo rm -vf $local_bak_dir/$i/ $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
    rm -vrf $local_bak_dir/$i/{disk.img,swap.img}  $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg

echo "*** Copy local bak vmdisks to remote machines"

copy_remote () {
for i in $xen_name_list
  echo "Copy to remote: vm$i"
        echo  scp $local_bak_dir/vmdisk0-$i.tar.gz $bak_dir/vmdisk0-$i.tar.gz

echo "Backup finishes"
        echo scp $log_file $bak_dir/bak-111.log


echo "Backup finished"


Things to configure before start using using the script to prepare backups for you is the xen_name_list variable

#  directory skele where to store already prepared backups
bak_dir=/backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images/$(date +%Y_%m_%d)/xen/domains

# The configurations of the running Xen Virtual Machines
# a local directory that will be used for backup creation ( I prefer this directory to be on the backup storage location )
# the structure on the backup location where daily .img backups with be produced with rsync and tar archived with bzip2
bak_dir=/backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images/$(date +%Y_%m_%d)/xen/domains

# list here all the Virtual Machines you want the script to create backups of
xen_name_list="windows7 haproxy2 jitsi-meet zabbix centos7"

If you need the script to copy the backup of Virtual Machine images to external Backup server via Local Lan or to a remote Internet located encrypted connection with a passwordless ssh authentication (once you have prepared the Machines to automatically login without pass over ssh with specific user), you can uncomment the script commented section to adapt it to copy to remote host.

Once you have placed at place /usr/sbin/ use a cronjob to prepare backups on a regular basis, for example I use the following cron to produce a working copy of the Virtual Machine backups everyday.

# crontab -u root -l 

# create windows7 haproxy2 jitsi-meet centos7 zabbix VMs backup once a month
00 06 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 * * /usr/sbin/ 2>&1 >/dev/null

I do clean up virtual machines Images that are older than 95 days with another cron job

# crontab -u root -l

# Delete xen image files older than 95 days to clear up space from backup HDD
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images* -type f -mtime +95 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null

#### Delete xen config backups older than 1 year+3 days (368 days)
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_config* -type f -mtime +368 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null


# Delete xen image files older than 95 days to clear up space from backup HDD
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images* -type f -mtime +95 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null

#### Delete xen config backups older than 1 year+3 days (368 days)
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_config* -type f -mtime +368 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null

How to add local user to admin access via /etc/sudoers with sudo su – root / Create a sudo admin group to enable users belonging to group become superuser

Friday, January 15th, 2021


Did you had to have a local users on a server and you needed to be able to add Admins group for all system administrators, so any local user on the system that belongs to the group to be able to become root with command lets say sudo su – root / su -l root / su – root?
If so below is an example /etc/sudoers file that will allow your users belonging to a group local group sysadmins with some assigned group number

Here is how to create the sysadmins group as a starter

linux:~# groupadd -g 800 sysadmins

Lets create a new local user georgi and append the user to be a member of sysadmins group which will be our local system Administrator (superuser) access user group.

To create a user with a specific desired userid lets check in /etc/passwd and create it:

linux:~# grep :811: /etc/passwd || useradd -u 811 -g 800 -c 'Georgi hip0' -d /home/georgi -m georgi

Next lets create /etc/sudoers (if you need to copy paste content of file check here)and paste below configuration:

linux:~# mcedit /etc/sudoers

## Updating the locate database
# Cmnd_Alias LOCATE = /usr/bin/updatedb


## Storage
# Cmnd_Alias STORAGE = /sbin/fdisk, /sbin/sfdisk, /sbin/parted, /sbin/partprobe, /bin/mount, /bin/umount

## Delegating permissions
# Cmnd_Alias DELEGATING = /usr/sbin/visudo, /bin/chown, /bin/chmod, /bin/chgrp

## Processes
# Cmnd_Alias PROCESSES = /bin/nice, /bin/kill, /usr/bin/kill, /usr/bin/killall

## Drivers
# Cmnd_Alias DRIVERS = /sbin/modprobe

Cmnd_Alias PASSWD = /usr/bin/passwd [a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_-]*, \\
!/usr/bin/passwd root

Cmnd_Alias SU_ROOT = /bin/su root, \\
                     /bin/su – root, \\
                     /bin/su -l root, \\
                     /bin/su -p root

# Defaults specification

# Refuse to run if unable to disable echo on the tty.
Defaults   !visiblepw

# Preserving HOME has security implications since many programs
# use it when searching for configuration files. Note that HOME
# is already set when the the env_reset option is enabled, so
# this option is only effective for configurations where either
# env_reset is disabled or HOME is present in the env_keep list.
Defaults    always_set_home
Defaults    match_group_by_gid

Defaults    env_reset

# Adding HOME to env_keep may enable a user to run unrestricted
# commands via sudo.
# Defaults   env_keep += "HOME"
Defaults    secure_path = /sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin

## Next comes the main part: which users can run what software on
## which machines (the sudoers file can be shared between multiple
## systems).
## Syntax:
##      user    MACHINE=COMMANDS
## The COMMANDS section may have other options added to it.
## Allow root to run any commands anywhere
root    ALL=(ALL)       ALL

## Allows members of the 'sys' group to run networking, software,
## service management apps and more.

## Allows people in group wheel to run all commands
%wheel  ALL=(ALL)       ALL

## Same thing without a password
# %wheel        ALL=(ALL)       NOPASSWD: ALL

## Allows members of the users group to mount and unmount the
## cdrom as root
# %users  ALL=/sbin/mount /mnt/cdrom, /sbin/umount /mnt/cdrom
## Allows members of the users group to shutdown this system
# %users  localhost=/sbin/shutdown -h now

%sysadmins            ALL            = SU_ROOT, \\
                                   NOPASSWD: PASSWD

## Read drop-in files from /etc/sudoers.d (the # here does not mean a comment)
#includedir /etc/sudoers.d

zabbix  ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/grep

Save the config and give it a try now to become root with sudo su – root command

linux:~$ id
uid=811(georgi) gid=800(sysadmins) groups=800(sysadmins)
linux:~$ sudo su – root

w00t Voila your user is with super rights ! Enjoy 🙂


How to set up dsmc client Tivoli ( TSM ) release version and process check monitoring with Zabbix

Thursday, December 17th, 2020


As a part of Monitoring IBM Spectrum (the new name of IBM TSM) if you don't have the money to buy something like HP Open View monitoring or other kind of paid monitoring system but you use Zabbix open source solution to monitor your Linux server infrastructure and you use Zabbix as a main Services and Servers monitoring platform you will want to monitor at least whether the running Tivoli dsmc backup clients run fine on each of the server (e.g. the dsmc client) runs normally as a backup solution with its common /usr/bin/dsmc process service that connects towards remote IBM TSM server where the actual Data storage is kept.

It might be a kind of weird monitoring to setup to have the tsm version frequently reported to a Zabbix server on a first glimpse, but in reality this is quite useful especially if you want to have a better overview of your multiple servers environment IBM (Spectrum Protect) Storage manager backup solution actual release.
So the goal is to have reported dsmc interactive storage manager version as reported from

[root@server ~]# dsmc

IBM Spectrum Protect
Command Line Backup-Archive Client Interface
  Client Version 8, Release 1, Level 11.0
  Client date/time: 12/17/2020 15:59:32
(c) Copyright by IBM Corporation and other(s) 1990, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Node Name: Sub-Hostname.FQDN.COM
Session established with server TSM_SERVER: AIX
  Server Version 8, Release 1, Level 10.000
  Server date/time: 12/17/2020 15:59:34  Last access: 12/17/2020 13:28:01


into zabbix and set reports in case if your sysadmins have changed version of a IBM TSM to a newer version. Thus for non sysadmins and less technical persons as Service Delivery Managers (SDMs) it is much easier to track changes of multiple servers Tivoli version to a newer one.

Enough talk let me next show you how to setup the required with a small UserParameter one liner bash shell script.

1. Create TSM Userparameter script

With Userparameter key and content as below:

[root@server ~]# vim /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.d/userparameter_TSM.conf


UserParameter=dsmc.version,cat /var/tsm/sched.log | grep Clie | tail -n 1 | awk '{print $7 " " $8 " " $9 " " $10 " " $11 " " $12 " " $13}'

The script output of TivSM version will be reported as so:

[root@server ~]# cat /var/tsm/sched.log | grep Clie | tail -n 1 | awk '{print $7 " " $8 " " $9 " " $10 " " $11 " " $12 " " $13}'
Client Version 8, Release 1, Level 11.0


If you want to get only a major version report from dsmc:

UserParameter=dsmc.version,cat /var/tsm/sched.log | grep Clie | tail -n 1 | awk '{print $7 " " $8 " " $9}'

The output as a major version you will get is

[root@server ~]# cat /var/tsm/sched.log | grep Clie | tail -n 1 | awk '{print $7 " " $8 " " $9}'
Client Version 8,


2. Restart the zabbix agent to load userparam script

To load above configured Userparameter script we need to restart zabbix-agent client

[root@server ~]# systemctl restart zabbix-agent

[root@server ~]#  systemctl status zabbix-agent
● zabbix-agent.service – Zabbix Agent
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/zabbix-agent.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Wed 2020-07-22 16:17:17 CEST; 4 months 26 days ago
 Main PID: 7817 (zabbix_agentd)
   CGroup: /system.slice/zabbix-agent.service
           ├─7817 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd -c /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.conf
           ├─7818 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: collector [idle 1 sec]
           ├─7819 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: listener #1 [waiting for connection]
           ├─7820 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: listener #2 [waiting for connection]
           ├─7821 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: listener #3 [waiting for connection]
           └─7822 /usr/sbin/zabbix_agentd: active checks #1 [idle 1 sec]


3. Create template for TSM Service check and TSM Version

You will need to create 1 Trigger and 2 Items for the Service check and for TSM version reporting

As you see necessery names / keys to create are:

Name / Key: TSM – Service State proc.num{dsmcad}

Name / key: TSM version dmsc.version


3.1 Create the trigger

Now lets create the trigger that will report the Service State



Linux TSM:proc.num[dsmcad].last()}=0


3.2 Create the Items



Name: dsmcad
Key: proc.num{dsmcad}



Update interval: 1d
History Storage period: 90d
Applications: TSM

3.3 Create Zabbix Action

As usual if you want to receive some Email Alerting or lets say send SMS in case of Trigger is matched create the necessery Action with
instructions on how to solve the problem if there is a Standard Operation Procedure ( SOP ) as often called in the corporate world for that.

That's all folks ! 🙂


Add Zabbix time synchronization ntp userparameter check script to Monitor Linux servers

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020



How to add Zabbix time synchronization ntp userparameter check script to Monitor Linux servers?

We needed to set on some servers at my work an elementary check with Zabbix monitoring to check whether servers time is correctly synchronized with ntpd time service as well report if the ntp daemon is correctly running on the machine. For that a userparameter script was developed called userparameter_ntp.conf the script is simplistic and few a lines of bash shell scripting 
stuff is based on gresping information required from ntpq and ntpstat common ntp client commands to get information about the status of time synchronization on the servers.

[root@linuxserver ]# ntpstat
synchronised to NTP server ( at stratum 3
   time correct to within 47 ms
   polling server every 1024 s


[root@linuxserver ]# ntpq -c peers
     remote           refid      st t when poll reach   delay   offset  jitter
+timeserver1     2 u  319 1024  377   15.864    1.270   0.262
+timeserver2     2 u  591 1024  377   16.287   -0.334   1.748
*timeserver3     2 u   47 1024  377   15.613   -0.553   0.251
 timeserver4 .INIT.          16 u    – 1024    0    0.000    0.000   0.000

Below is Zabbix UserParameter script that does report us 3 important values we monitor to make sure time server synchronization works as expected the zabbix keys we set are ntp.offset, ntp.sync, ntp.exact in attempt to describe what we're fetching from ntp client:

[root@linuxserver ]# cat /etc/zabbix/zabbix-agent.d/userparameter_ntp.conf

UserParameter=ntp.offset,(/usr/sbin/ntpq -pn | /usr/bin/awk 'BEGIN { offset=1000 } $1 ~ /\*/ { offset=$9 } END { print offset }')
#UserParameter=ntp.offset,(/usr/sbin/ntpq -pn | /usr/bin/awk 'FNR==4{print $9}')
UserParameter=ntp.sync,(/usr/bin/ntpstat | cut -f 1 -d " " | tr -d ' \t\n\r\f')
UserParameter=ntp.exact,(/usr/bin/ntpstat | /usr/bin/awk 'FNR==2{print $5,$6}')

In Zabbix the monitored ntpd parameters set-upped looks like this:




!Note that in above userparameter example, the commented userparameter script is a just another way to do an ntpd offset returned value which was developed before the more sophisticated with more regular expression checks from the /usr/sbin/ntpd via ntpq, perhaps if you want to extend it you can also use another script to report more verbose information to Zabbix if that is required like ouput from ntpq -c peers command:

UserParameter=ntp.verbose,(/usr/sbin/ntpq -c peers)

Of course to make the Zabbix fetch necessery data from monitored hosts, we need to set-up further new Zabbix Template with the respective Trigger and Items.

Below are few screenshots including the triggers used.


  • ntpd.trigger


  • NTP Synchronization trigger




As you can see from history we have setup our items to Store history of reported data to Zabbix from parameter script for 90 days and update our monitor check, every 30 seconds from the monitored hosts to which Tempate is applied.

Well that's all folks, time synchronization issues we'll be promptly triggering a new Alarm in Zabbix !

Find largest files on AIX system root / show biggest files and directories in AIX folder howto

Friday, November 6th, 2020


On an AIX server if you get a root directory ( / ) to be completely full problem and the AIX running services are unable to write their pid files and logs for example in /tmp /admin /home /var/tmp /var/log/ and rest of directory structure or the system is almost full with mounted filesystems which shows it is 90% or 95%+ full on main partition,  the system is either already stuck or it is on the way to stop functiononing normally. Hence the only way to recover IBM AIX machine to a normal behavior is to clean up some files (if you can't extend the partition) or add more physical Hard drive, just as we usually do on Linux.

So How can we clean up largest files on AIX?

Lets say we want to find all files on AIX larger than 1 MB.

aix-system:/ $ find / -xdev -size 2048 -ls | sort -r +6
12579 1400 -rw-r—–  1 root      security   1433534 Jun 26  2019 /etc/security/tsd/tsd.dat
 9325 20361 -rw-r—–  1 root      system    20848752 Nov  6 16:02 /etc/security/failedlogin
21862 7105 -rwxr-xr-x  1 root      system     7274915 Aug 24  2017 /sbin/zabbix_agentd
   72 7005 -rw-rw—-  1 root      system     7172962 Nov  6 16:19 /audit/stream.out
24726 2810 -rw——-  1 root      system     2876944 Feb 29  2012 /etc/syslog-ng/core
29314 2391 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root      system     2447454 Jun 25  2019 /lpp/bos/bos.rte.filesystem/
21844 2391 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root      system     2447414 Jun 25  2019 /sbin/helpers/jfs2/logredo64
21843 2219 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root      system     2271971 Jun 25  2019 /sbin/helpers/jfs2/logredo
29313 2218 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root      system     2270835 Jun 25  2019 /lpp/bos/bos.rte.filesystem/
22279 1800 -rw-r–r–  1 root      system     1843200 Nov  4 08:03 /root/smit.log
12577 1399 -rw-r–r–  1 root      system     1431685 Jun 26  2019 /etc/security/tsd/.tsd.bk
21837 1325 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root      system     1356340 Jun 25  2019 /sbin/helpers/jfs2/fsck64
29307 1325 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root      system     1356196 Jun 25  2019 /lpp/bos/bos.rte.filesystem/
   12 1262 -rw——-  1 root      system     1291365 Aug  8  2011 /core


Above finds all files greater than 1 MB and sort them in reverse
order with the largest files first.

To search all files larger than 64 Megabytes under root ( / )

aix-system:/ $ find / -xdev -size +131072 -ls | sort -r +6
65139 97019 -rw-r–r–  1 root      system    99347181 Mar 31  2017 /admin/

Display 10 largest directories on system

aix-system:/ $ du -a /dir | sort -n -r | head -10

Show biggest files and directories in a directory


aix-system:/ $ du -sk * | sort -n
4       Mail
4       liste
4       my_user
4       syslog-ng.conf
140     smit.script
180     smit.transaction
1804    smit.log

Below du display the size of all files and directories in the current directory with the biggest being at the bottom.


List all largest files in dir decrasingly. If a directory is matches show all sub-dirs largest files.

aix-system:/ $ ls -A . | while read name; do du -sk $name; done | sort -nr

Below ls + while loop command sorts disk usage for all files in the current directory by size, in decreasing order. If the file we suspect happens to be a directory, we can then change into that directory, and re-run the preceding command to determine what is taking up space within that directory.

Continue these steps until you find the desired file or files, at which point you can take appropriate actions.

If the bottom-most item is a directory, then cd into that directory and run the du command again. Keep drilling down until you find the biggest files on your system and get rid of them to save some space.

Find when cron.daily cron.weekly and cron.monthly run on Redhat / CentOS / Debian Linux and systemd-timers

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020



The problem – Apache restart at random times

I've noticed today something that is occuring for quite some time but was out of my scope for quite long as I'm not directly involved in our Alert monitoring at my daily job as sys admin. Interestingly an Apache HTTPD webserver is triggering alarm twice a day for a short downtime that lasts for 9 seconds.

I've decided to investigate what is triggering WebServer restart in such random time and investigated on the system for any background running scripts as well as reviewed the system logs. As I couldn't find nothing there the only logical place to check was cron jobs.
The usual

crontab -u root -l

Had no configured cron jobbed scripts so I digged further to check whether there isn't cron jobs records for a script that is triggering the reload of Apache in /etc/crontab /var/spool/cron/root and /var/spool/cron/httpd.
Nothing was found there and hence as there was no anacron service running but /usr/sbin/crond the other expected place to look up for a trigger even was /etc/cron*


1. Configured default cron execution times, every day, every hour every month


# ls -ld /etc/cron.*
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 feb 27 10:54 /etc/cron.d/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec 27 10:55 /etc/cron.daily/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec  7 23:04 /etc/cron.hourly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec  7 23:04 /etc/cron.monthly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec  7 23:04 /etc/cron.weekly/


After a look up to each of above directories, finally I found the very expected logrorate shell script set to execute from /etc/cron.daily/logrotate and inside it I've found after the log files were set to be gzipped and moved to execute WebServer restart with:

systemctl reload httpd 


My first reaction was to ponder seriously why the script is invoking systemctl reload httpd instead of the good oldschool

apachectl -k graceful


But it seems on Redhat and CentOS since RHEL / CentOS version 6.X onwards systemctl reload httpd is supposed to be identical and a substitute for apachectl -k graceful.
Okay the craziness of innovation continued as obviously the reload was causing a Downtime to be visible in the Zabbix HTTPD port Monitoring graph …
Now as the problem was identified the other logical question poped up how to find out what is the exact timing scheduled to run the script in that unusual random times each time ??

2. Find out cron scripts timing Redhat / CentOS / Fedora / SLES


/etc/cron.{daily,monthly,weekly} placed scripts's execution method has changed over the years, causing a chaos just like many Linux standard things we know due to the inclusion of systemd and some other additional weird OS design changes. The result is the result explained above scripts are running at a strange unexpeted times … one thing that was intruduced was anacron – which is also executing commands periodically with a different preset frequency. However it is considered more thrustworhty by crond daemon, because anacron does not assume the machine is continuosly running and if the machine is down due to a shutdown or a failure (if it is a Virtual Machine) or simply a crond dies out, some cronjob necessery for overall set environment or application might not run, what anacron guarantees is even though that and even if crond is in unworking defunct state, the preset scheduled scripts will still be served.
anacron's default file location is in /etc/anacrontab.

A standard /etc/anacrontab looks like so:

[root@centos ~]:# cat /etc/anacrontab
# /etc/anacrontab: configuration file for anacron
# See anacron(8) and anacrontab(5) for details.
# the maximal random delay added to the base delay of the jobs
# the jobs will be started during the following hours only
#period in days   delay in minutes   job-identifier   command
1    5    cron.daily        nice run-parts /etc/cron.daily
7    25    cron.weekly        nice run-parts /etc/cron.weekly
@monthly 45    cron.monthly        nice run-parts /etc/cron.monthly


START_HOURS_RANGE : The START_HOURS_RANGE variable sets the time frame, when the job could started. 
The jobs will start during the 3-22 (3AM-10PM) hours only.

  • cron.daily will run at 3:05 (After Midnight) A.M. i.e. run once a day at 3:05AM.
  • cron.weekly will run at 3:25 AM i.e. run once a week at 3:25AM.
  • cron.monthly will run at 3:45 AM i.e. run once a month at 3:45AM.

If the RANDOM_DELAY env var. is set, a random value between 0 and RANDOM_DELAY minutes will be added to the start up delay of anacron served jobs. 
For instance RANDOM_DELAY equels 45 would therefore add, randomly, between 0 and 45 minutes to the user defined delay. 

Delay will be 5 minutes + RANDOM_DELAY for cron.daily for above cron.daily, cron.weekly, cron.monthly config records, i.e. 05:01 + 0-45 minutes

A full detailed explanation on automating system tasks on Redhat Enterprise Linux is worthy reading here.

!!! Note !!! that listed jobs will be running in queue. After one finish, then next will start.

3. SuSE Enterprise Linux cron jobs not running at desired times why?

in SuSE it is much more complicated to have a right timing for standard default cron jobs that comes preinstalled with a service 

In older SLES release /etc/crontab looked like so:



# run-parts
01 * * * * root run-parts /etc/cron.hourly
02 4 * * * root run-parts /etc/cron.daily
22 4 * * 0 root run-parts /etc/cron.weekly
42 4 1 * * root run-parts /etc/cron.monthly

As time of writting article it looks like:


# check scripts in cron.hourly, cron.daily, cron.weekly, and cron.monthly
-*/15 * * * *   root  test -x /usr/lib/cron/run-crons && /usr/lib/cron/run-crons >/dev/null 2>&1



This runs any scripts placed in /etc/cron.{hourly, daily, weekly, monthly} but it may not run them when you expect them to run. 
/usr/lib/cron/run-crons compares the current time to the /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.{time} file to determine if those jobs need to be run.

For hourly, it checks if the current time is greater than (or exactly) 60 minutes past the timestamp of the /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.hourly file.

For weekly, it checks if the current time is greater than (or exactly) 10080 minutes past the timestamp of the /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.weekly file.

Monthly uses a caclucation to check the time difference, but is the same type of check to see if it has been one month after the last run.

Daily has a couple variations available – By default it checks if it is more than or exactly 1440 minutes since lastrun.
If DAILY_TIME is set in the /etc/sysconfig/cron file (again a suse specific innovation), then that is the time (within 15minutes) when daily will run.

For systems that are powered off at DAILY_TIME, daily tasks will run at the DAILY_TIME, unless it has been more than x days, if it is, they run at the next running of run-crons. (default 7days, can set shorter time in /etc/sysconfig/cron.)
Because of these changes, the first time you place a job in one of the /etc/cron.{time} directories, it will run the next time run-crons runs, which is at every 15mins (xx:00, xx:15, xx:30, xx:45) and that time will be the lastrun, and become the normal schedule for future runs. Note that there is the potential that your schedules will begin drift by 15minute increments.

As you see this is very complicated stuff and since God is in the simplicity it is much better to just not use /etc/cron.* for whatever scripts and manually schedule each of the system cron jobs and custom scripts with cron at specific times.

4. Debian Linux time start schedule for cron.daily / cron.monthly / cron.weekly timing

As the last many years many of the servers I've managed were running Debian GNU / Linux, my first place to check was /etc/crontab which is the standard cronjobs file that is setting the { daily , monthly , weekly crons } 


 debian:~# ls -ld /etc/cron.*
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 фев 27 10:54 /etc/cron.d/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 фев 27 10:55 /etc/cron.daily/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 дек  7 23:04 /etc/cron.hourly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 дек  7 23:04 /etc/cron.monthly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 дек  7 23:04 /etc/cron.weekly/


debian:~# cat /etc/crontab 
# /etc/crontab: system-wide crontab
# Unlike any other crontab you don't have to run the `crontab'
# command to install the new version when you edit this file
# and files in /etc/cron.d. These files also have username fields,
# that none of the other crontabs do.

PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin# Example of job definition:
# .—————- minute (0 – 59)
# |  .————- hour (0 – 23)
# |  |  .———- day of month (1 – 31)
# |  |  |  .——- month (1 – 12) OR jan,feb,mar,apr …
# |  |  |  |  .—- day of week (0 – 6) (Sunday=0 or 7) OR sun,mon,tue,wed,thu,fri,sat
# |  |  |  |  |
# *  *  *  *  * user-name command to be executed
17 *    * * *    root    cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.hourly
25 6    * * *    root    test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.daily )
47 6    * * 7    root    test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.weekly )
52 6    1 * *    root    test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.monthly )

What above does is:

– Run cron.hourly once at every hour at 1:17 am
– Run cron.daily once at every day at 6:25 am.
– Run cron.weekly once at every day at 6:47 am.
– Run cron.monthly once at every day at 6:42 am.

As you can see if anacron is present on the system it is run via it otherwise it is run via run-parts binary command which is reading and executing one by one all scripts insude /etc/cron.hourly, /etc/cron.weekly , /etc/cron.mothly

anacron – few more words

Anacron is the canonical way to run at least the jobs from /etc/cron.{daily,weekly,monthly) after startup, even when their execution was missed because the system was not running at the given time. Anacron does not handle any cron jobs from /etc/cron.d, so any package that wants its /etc/cron.d cronjob being executed by anacron needs to take special measures.

If anacron is installed, regular processing of the /etc/cron.d{daily,weekly,monthly} is omitted by code in /etc/crontab but handled by anacron via /etc/anacrontab. Anacron's execution of these job lists has changed multiple times in the past:

debian:~# cat /etc/anacrontab 
# /etc/anacrontab: configuration file for anacron

# See anacron(8) and anacrontab(5) for details.


# These replace cron's entries
1    5    cron.daily    run-parts –report /etc/cron.daily
7    10    cron.weekly    run-parts –report /etc/cron.weekly
@monthly    15    cron.monthly    run-parts –report /etc/cron.monthly

In wheezy and earlier, anacron is executed via init script on startup and via /etc/cron.d at 07:30. This causes the jobs to be run in order, if scheduled, beginning at 07:35. If the system is rebooted between midnight and 07:35, the jobs run after five minutes of uptime.
In stretch, anacron is executed via a systemd timer every hour, including the night hours. This causes the jobs to be run in order, if scheduled, beween midnight and 01:00, which is a significant change to the previous behavior.
In buster, anacron is executed via a systemd timer every hour with the exception of midnight to 07:00 where anacron is not invoked. This brings back a bit of the old timing, with the jobs to be run in order, if scheduled, beween 07:00 and 08:00. Since anacron is also invoked once at system startup, a reboot between midnight and 08:00 also causes the jobs to be scheduled after five minutes of uptime.
anacron also didn't have an upstream release in nearly two decades and is also currently orphaned in Debian.

As of 2019-07 (right after buster's release) it is planned to have cron and anacron replaced by cronie.

cronie – Cronie was forked by Red Hat from ISC Cron 4.1 in 2007, is the default cron implementation in Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux at least since Version 6. cronie seems to have an acive upstream, but is currently missing some of the things that Debian has added to vixie cron over the years. With the finishing of cron's conversion to quilt (3.0), effort can begin to add the Debian extensions to Vixie cron to cronie.

Because cronie doesn't have all the Debian extensions yet, it is not yet suitable as a cron replacement, so it is not in Debian.

5. systemd-timers – The new crazy systemd stuff for script system job scheduling

Timers are systemd unit files with a suffix of .timer. systemd-timers was introduced with systemd so older Linux OS-es does not have it.
 Timers are like other unit configuration files and are loaded from the same paths but include a [Timer] section which defines when and how the timer activates. Timers are defined as one of two types:


  • Realtime timers (a.k.a. wallclock timers) activate on a calendar event, the same way that cronjobs do. The option OnCalendar= is used to define them.
  • Monotonic timers activate after a time span relative to a varying starting point. They stop if the computer is temporarily suspended or shut down. There are number of different monotonic timers but all have the form: OnTypeSec=. Common monotonic timers include OnBootSec and OnActiveSec.



    For each .timer file, a matching .service file exists (e.g. foo.timer and foo.service). The .timer file activates and controls the .service file. The .service does not require an [Install] section as it is the timer units that are enabled. If necessary, it is possible to control a differently-named unit using the Unit= option in the timer’s [Timer] section.

    systemd-timers is a complex stuff and I'll not get into much details but the idea was to give awareness of its existence for more info check its manual man systemd.timer

Its most basic use is to list all configured systemd.timers, below is from my home Debian laptop

debian:~# systemctl list-timers –all
NEXT                         LEFT         LAST                         PASSED       UNIT                         ACTIVATES
Tue 2020-03-24 23:33:58 EET  18s left     Tue 2020-03-24 23:31:28 EET  2min 11s ago laptop-mode.timer            lmt-poll.service
Tue 2020-03-24 23:39:00 EET  5min left    Tue 2020-03-24 23:09:01 EET  24min ago    phpsessionclean.timer        phpsessionclean.service
Wed 2020-03-25 00:00:00 EET  26min left   Tue 2020-03-24 00:00:01 EET  23h ago      logrotate.timer              logrotate.service
Wed 2020-03-25 00:00:00 EET  26min left   Tue 2020-03-24 00:00:01 EET  23h ago      man-db.timer                 man-db.service
Wed 2020-03-25 02:38:42 EET  3h 5min left Tue 2020-03-24 13:02:01 EET  10h ago      apt-daily.timer              apt-daily.service
Wed 2020-03-25 06:13:02 EET  6h left      Tue 2020-03-24 08:48:20 EET  14h ago      apt-daily-upgrade.timer      apt-daily-upgrade.service
Wed 2020-03-25 07:31:57 EET  7h left      Tue 2020-03-24 23:30:28 EET  3min 11s ago anacron.timer                anacron.service
Wed 2020-03-25 17:56:01 EET  18h left     Tue 2020-03-24 17:56:01 EET  5h 37min ago systemd-tmpfiles-clean.timer systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service


8 timers listed.

N ! B! If a timer gets out of sync, it may help to delete its stamp-* file in /var/lib/systemd/timers (or ~/.local/share/systemd/ in case of user timers). These are zero length files which mark the last time each timer was run. If deleted, they will be reconstructed on the next start of their timer.


In this article, I've shortly explain logic behind debugging weird restart events etc. of Linux configured services such as Apache due to configured scripts set to run with a predefined scheduled job timing. I shortly explained on how to figure out why the preset default install configured cron jobs such as logrorate – the service that is doing system logs archiving and nulling run at a certain time. I shortly explained the mechanism behind cron.{daily, monthy, weekly} and its execution via anacron – runner program similar to crond that never misses to run a scheduled job even if a system downtime occurs due to a crashed Docker container etc. run-parts command's use was shortly explained. A short look at systemd.timers was made which is now essential part of almost every new Linux release and often used by system scripts for scheduling time based maintainance tasks.