DevOps

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Mastering Linux Shell Scripting for DevOps: Your Path to Automation Excellence

Introduction

In the realm of DevOps, where the fusion of development and operations is crucial for smooth software delivery and infrastructure management, proficiency in Linux shell scripting is a coveted skill. Shell scripting empowers DevOps engineers to automate repetitive tasks, configure servers, and manage infrastructure efficiently. If you are looking to embark on this journey of automation excellence, this blog will serve as your guide on how to learn Linux shell scripting for DevOps. 

Importance of Shell Scripting for DevOps

  • The first question frequently addressed concerns the significance of shell scripting for a DevOps engineer. This question is frequently asked by both novices and seasoned IT experts. 
  • The answer to this question is unequivocal: shell scripting is extremely important. According to the Stack Overflow 2021 survey, 27% of respondents admit to utilizing shell scripting in their work. However, a popular follow-up question concerns the existence of multiple automation tools and whether spending time learning and building shell scripts is worthwhile. The answer to this question is still yes. 
  • Although full-scale automation technologies have taken center stage, shell scripting remains essential. Shell scripts are now used in conjunction with automation technologies as well as for ad hoc, on-the-fly operations.  
  • For example, while using the AWS user data functionality, a shell script can be included. Another scenario occurs while using Packer to create Amazon Machine Images (AMI), necessitating the employment of a shell script for AMI configuration.  
  • Crucially, hands-on scripting and programming skills have evolved into a must-have during the initial interview stages for DevOps employment. Learning shell scripting is therefore critical for success in these interviews. 

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How to Get Started with Shell Scripting

It is critical to acquire hands-on familiarity with Linux before diving into the world of shell scripting. As a result, before beginning your shell scripting journey, you must be experienced working with Linux commands. 

If you are completely new to the Linux environment, a decent place to start is by installing a few Linux servers locally using tools like Vagrant or on popular cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and others. The procedure is simple and serves as a good introduction to Linux. 

Getting started with shell scripting may be a liberating experience that opens the door to automation and efficiency in computer or server management. Here are some basic shell scripting approaches to get you started: 

  1. Select Your Shell: 

The default shell on most Unix-like operating systems is Bash (Bourne Again Shell). Begin by utilising your system’s default shell, which is widely used and versatile. 

  1. Create Your Environment: 

On your system, launch a terminal or command prompt. This is where you will create and run your shell scripts. 

  1. Learn the Fundamental Commands: 

Before you begin scripting, become acquainted with the fundamental command-line commands. Explore directories (cd, ls, pwd), create and edit files (touch, nano/vim), and do basic file operations (mv, cp, rm).’ 

  1. Understand the Script Structure: 

A shell script is essentially a text file that contains a sequence of commands that the shell will run. A shell script typically begins with a shebang (#!) followed by the path to the shell interpreter you want to use (for example, #!/bin/bash). This instructs the system as to which shell should be utilised to execute the script. 

  1. Creating Your First Script: 

Start creating your script in a text editor (such as Nano, Vim, or any other code editor you prefer). Begin with accomplishing simple tasks like showing a message on the screen or conducting basic computations. 

#!/bin/bash 


echo "Hello, World!"

  1. Make Your Script Runnable: 

Save your script as.sh (for example, myscript.sh). Then, using the chmod command, make it executable: chmod +x myscript.sh 

  1. Carry Out Your Script: 

Enter your script’s name in the terminal: ./myscript.sh. This will carry out the commands in your script. 

  1. Understand Variables and Data Types: 

Variables can be used to store and alter data in shell scripting. Discover how to declare variables and use them in scripts. Data types supported by shell scripting include string, integer, and array. 

#!/bin/bash 


name="John" 


age=30 

 

Real-world Shell Scripting Use Cases

Assuming you have mastered numerous shell scripting concepts and have built and ran shell scripts for educational reasons, the next obvious question is how to gain exposure to real-world shell scripting applications. 

If you work for a company, you can frequently gain access to project documentation and go into the infrastructure automation codebase, where shell scripts are frequently used to assist various tasks. 

If you don’t have direct access to project documentation and codebases, there are other options to consider. One such strategy entails: 

Looking for the GitHub source for commonly used Docker basis images, such as the Nginx base image. You’ll generally find a “entrypoint” folder containing several scripts or a “entrypoint.sh” script file in these repositories, which can serve as instructive examples of real-world shell scripting applications. 

Try to grasp the shell script’s functionality. Throughout this procedure, you will discover several principles and reasoning that may be applied while building a shell script. (functions, conditionals, switch cases, and a variety of others).  

Scripts can be found in many open-source community sources, not just Docker repositories. 

Shell Scripting Real-Time Scenarios

In terms of DevOps engineer interviews, it is always preferable to practise with some real-world scenarios. Here are some real-world scenarios for you to play with.  

  1. Create a shell script function to locate and terminate all zombie processes. 
  2. Shell script to gracefully unmount a disk. 
  3. Shell script to monitor CPU, Memory, and Disc consumption and write the results to a file in table format, as well as issue an alert if any of these exceeds a particular threshold. 
  4. Shell script to discover the names and sizes of newly generated files. The number of days should be accepted as input. As inputs, you might use a from and to date format. 
  5. Create a shell script to automate the process of generating new user accounts and configuring their permissions and SSH access on a Linux server. 
  6. Write a shell script to the list of users who have logged in by date to an output file. 
  7. Shell script for recursively copying files to distant hosts 
  8. The number of failed logins attempts by IP address and location is displayed using a shell script. 
  9. A shell script parses a log file and writes a value with a timestamp to an output file. 
  10. To save disc space, create a shell script that automates the process of rotating log files and compressing outdated data. 
  11. Create a shell script that checks the status of a set of URLs and sends an email if any of them are unavailable. 
  12. Create a shell script to automate the process of applying the latest security updates to a list of servers. 

Shell Scripting DevOps Interview Questions

The shell scripting DevOps interview questions vary for each organization. 

A service-based organization, for example, would be only interested in your fundamental Linux and shell scripting knowledge. A product-based corporation, on the other hand, may require a solid understanding of the Linux command line and shell scripting. 

  1. How does shell scripting fit into the overall DevOps workflow? 
  2. What is the point of using shell scripts when there are automation solutions available? 
  3. How would you go about building a shell script to automate a specific task? 
  4. How do I perform static analysis on a Shell script? 
  5. How can you verify that shell scripts in your CI/CD pipeline are error-free? 
  6. In shell scripts, how do you handle failures and exceptions? 
  7. Find all the IP addresses in a log file and save them to another file. 
  8. How would you troubleshoot a shell script that isn’t operating properly? 
  9. In shell scripting, what is the difference between a “for” loop and a “while” loop? 
  10. What exactly is shell scripting, and why is it so important in the context of DevOps? 
  11. What are shell scripting environment variables, and how can they help with DevOps automation? 
  12. In shell scripting, explain the difference between single quotes (‘ ‘) and double quotations (” “) and give an example of when to use each. 
  13. Explanation of the importance of exit codes in shell scripts. What is the standard way to indicate success or failure in a script? 
  14. In shell scripting, what is the purpose of input and output redirection? Give examples of when you would use > and >>. 
  15. How can the output of a command be captured and stored in a variable in a shell script? 

CloudThat is a great choice for studying Linux and shell scripting, as well as the practical integration of these abilities into DevOps? CloudThat’s extensive training programs teach Linux and shell scripting in a hands-on, industry-focused manner.  

CloudThat provides learners with the necessary knowledge and practical experience to flourish in these areas, thanks to a team of professional professors and a cutting-edge curriculum. Furthermore, their emphasis on real-world application ensures that you not only study theory but also how to properly deploy Linux and shell scripting within a DevOps framework.  

By choosing CloudThat, you are investing in a comprehensive learning experience that will enable you to leverage the potential of these essential abilities in the ever-changing landscape of technology and DevOps. 

Conclusion

DevOps specialists must be able to write Linux shell scripts. It gives you the ability to automate activities, manage infrastructure, and improve software delivery. You will be well on your way to mastering Linux shell scripting and thriving in the world of DevOps if you follow the steps provided in this article and retain a love for continual learning. Remember that the keys to success on this fascinating journey of automation and efficiency are practise, teamwork, and a quest for education. Have fun scripting! 

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FAQs

1. Is it necessary for DevOps Engineers to script?

ANS: – Yes, A DevOps engineer must be proficient in scripting. A DevOps engineer may be required to construct valuable utilities using scripting from the development environment to production. 

2. What is the best programming language for DevOps?

ANS: – It is determined by the project. However, Bash, Powershell, and Python are the most used scripting languages in DevOps initiatives. If Jenkins is used, Groovy is required. 

3. Is Shell Scripting used to automate tasks?

ANS: – Many DevOps tools have made it unnecessary to build full-fledged automation in shell scripts. Shell scripts, on the other hand, are employed as part of those automation tools to support a few functions. A classic example would be creating VM images using shell scripting and Hasicorp Packer. 

WRITTEN BY Komal Singh

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