The command line is an incredibly efficient and powerful tool for scripting repetitive administrative tasks. The appliance presents a command-line interface available through either the serial console, or SSH. There are several situations in which the preferred interaction with the system is command-line, as follows:
Network unavailability - If the network is unavailable, browser-based management is impossible; the only vector for management is the serial console, which can only accommodate a text-based interface
Expediency - Starting a browser may be prohibitively time-consuming, especially if you only want to examine a particular aspect of the system or make a quick configuration change
Precision - In some situations, the information provided by the browser may be more qualitative than quantitative in nature, and you need a more precise answer
Automation - Browser-based interaction cannot be easily automated; if you have repetitive or rigidly defined tasks, script the tasks
To log in remotely using the CLI, use an ssh client. If you have not configured other users to administer the appliance, you will need to log in as root. When you log in, the CLI will present you with a prompt that consists of the hostname, followed by a colon, followed by a greater-than sign:
% ssh root@dory Password: Last login: Mon Oct 13 15:43:05 2009 from kiowa.sf.fishpo dory:>
When navigating through the CLI, there are two principles to be aware of:
Tab completion is used extensively - if you are not sure what to type in any given context, pressing the Tab key will provide you with possible options. Throughout the documentation, pressing Tab is presented as the word "tab" in bold italics.
Help is always available - the help command provides context-specific help. Help on a particular topic is available by specifying the topic as an argument to help, for example help commands. Available topics are displayed by tab-completing the help command, or by typing help topics.
You can combine these two principles, as follows:
dory:> help tab builtins commands general help properties script