As Drupal gets bigger and bigger in the marketplace, it is moving into areas where system administrators still hold sway. Dedicated servers or server farms have a different set of needs than a shared host when it comes to monitoring and performance.
That's not even Drupal specific. For any high-end web app, it's useful to be able to interact with it for administrative purposes through standard system tools. On Windows, that's the Windows Administrative Tools or IIS. On LAMP, that could be a unified web app like webmin or a KDE control panel plugin or a Gnome applet. Getting a web app into certain organizations requires offering existing sysadmins a way to integrate it into their existing management workflow.
But what pieces of the app do sysadmins want in their existing admin tools? Calling all sysadmins, what do you want from us? :-)
This isn't entirely a hypothetical question. There is some work already in Drupal that can improve sysadmin workflow integration. Drupal 6, for instance, ships with a module that routes logs to the syslog logging system on a Unix-style server. There's also a module now that can route log messages to Growl for OS X. But that's only the beginning, and there's far more that we can do.
So, I'll put the question out to sysadmins, developers, and anyone else who wants to get to their CMS (Drupal or otherwise) from their system tools. What do you want?
- Directly access the CMS logs from a system tool, or have the CMS route its logs to a common logging utility a la syslog?
- Expose tracking information to a system tool, or have the CMS save its tracking logs to a 3rd party system (could be Google Analytics, or an in-house tool, or some system-level utility)?
- Manage CMS users directly from a system tool?
- Integrate CMS users with the server user base (via LDAP, Active Directory, or even PAM)?
- Expose selected configuration options through your system tool?
- Something else?
I'm not a sysadmin, so I don't know what you need from us. We can write it, but first you need to tell us what you need.