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Pulling Strings with Puppet: Configuration Management Made Easy (FirstPress) [Paperback]

James Turnbull
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 11, 2008 1590599780 978-1590599785 1

Competent system administrators know their success hinges upon being able to perform often tedious tasks with rigor and punctuality. Such metrics are often achieved only by instituting a considerable degree of automation, something that has become even more crucial as IT environments continue to scale both in terms of size and complexity. One of the most powerful system administration tools to be released is Puppet, a solution capable of automating nearly every aspect of a system administrator’s job, from user management, to software installation, to even configuring server services such as FTP and LDAP.

Pulling Strings with Puppet: Configuration Management Made Easy is the first book to introduce the powerful Puppet system administration tool. Author James Turnbull will guide you through Puppet’s key features, showing you how to install and configure the software, create automated Puppet tasks, known as recipes, and even create reporting solutions and extend Puppet further to your own needs. A bonus chapter is included covering the Facter library, which makes it a breeze to automate the retrieval of server configuration details such as IP and MAC addresses.

What you’ll learn

  • Properly install and configure Puppet in order to begin immediately maximizing its capabilities
  • Create reporting solutions to more easily monitor automated outcomes
  • Extend Puppet to perform tasks that are capable of suiting your organization’s specific needs
  • Use Facter to query server operating systems for key data such as IP addresses, server names, and MAC addresses

Who this book is for

Ruby developers and system administrators.

Table of Contents

  1. Introducing Puppet
  2. Installing and Running Puppet
  3. Speaking Puppet
  4. Using Puppet
  5. Reporting on Puppet
  6. Advanced Puppet
  7. Extending Puppet

Frequently Bought Together

Pulling Strings with Puppet: Configuration Management Made Easy (FirstPress) + Pro Puppet (Expert's Voice in Open Source) + Puppet 2.7 Cookbook
Price for all three: $101.96

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Turnbull is the author of five technical books about open source software and a longtime member of the open source community. James authored the first�and second books about Puppet, and works for Puppet Labs, running client services. James speaks regularly at conferences including OSCON, Linux.conf.au, FOSDEM, OpenSourceBridge, DevOpsDays and a number of others.�He is a past president of Linux Australia, has run Linux.conf.au and serves on the program committee of Linux.conf.au and OSCON.�James is Australian but currently lives in Portland, Oregon. His interests include cooking, wine, political theory, photojournalism, philosophy, and most recently the Portland Timbers association football team.

Product Details

  • Series: FirstPress
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (February 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590599780
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590599785
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Turnbull is the author of seven technical books about open source software and a long-time member of the open source community. James authored the first (and second!) books about Puppet and works for Docker as VP of Services. He was formerly VP of Engineering at Venmo and at Puppet Labs running Operations and Professional Services.

James speaks regularly at conferences including OSCON, Linux.conf.au, FOSDEM, OpenSourceBridge, DevOpsDays and a number of others. He is a past president of Linux Australia, a former committee member of Linux Victoria, was Treasurer for Linux.conf.au 2008, and serves on the program committee of Linux.conf.au and OSCON.

In his spare time his interests include cooking, wine, political theory, photojournalism, philosophy, poetry, and cats.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but more would be better... December 18, 2008
By P. Boin
Format:Kindle Edition
I liked what was in this book. It's a good overview of what puppet can do, with examples.

The one thing that's missing, and it's driving me crazy is that it doesn't have an index! That's maddening for a reference book. In a perfect world, I'd like to see some more best practices and some suggestions for how to transition running machines on to puppet.

Overall, a 'buy', but bring your own sticky notes to mark important pages...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent First Edition...But... June 18, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are completely new to Puppet, you should definitely buy this book. It does a good job of walking through the basics of automating your data center. I would have liked to see some more in-depth examples, but the topics covered were fleshed out enough that I could figure it out on my own.

I have a major complaint about this edition, however: when it comes to technical books, published code should ALWAYS be tested. It should be taken as absolute fact that the code published in a reference manual will function correctly and do what the author claims it will do. That's not the case here. For example:

On pg. 116, the author creates a resource of type

"apache::apache_files"

But in the definition for "apache:apache_files" ON THE VERY NEXT PAGE it reads:

define appache::apache_files ...

with two 'p's. It's clear that this code could never have been tested, because it wouldn't work!

But the author does demonstrate a thorough understanding of the subject matter, and I will probably buy "Pro Puppet" when it is released. But I sincerely hope the code is tested (or the editing is improved).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT 'physical' resource for Puppet February 10, 2010
Format:Paperback
This book walks you through everything Puppet-related - from setting up the puppetmaster, to creating your first class, to scaling and tuning puppet. I've got tons of sticky notes in my copy that I refer to at least a couple of times a month (now 8 months into a district-wide puppet rollout). Yes, there's not an index - but the sheer content/info in the book makes it a must-buy for anyone who wants to begin with Puppet.

Puppet is now well into version 0.25.4, but the information in this book is still pertinent in many ways. I would love to see an updated version, though!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars learning quickly with Puppet August 6, 2008
Format:Paperback
I just began using Puppet about 3 weeks ago to administer 20 systems. Although the online docs are good, it is always hit or miss. I found the book and ordered it immediately. I got it 2 days ago and spent all day going through it. I have already picked up more tips than I could have from all the online docs and examples - it is HUGELY worth the money just from that! One thing that I have learned, that is going to be a huge win - is the customization capabilities. We use ESM to manage/monitor security aspects of systems, and being able to write recipes with Puppet to match ESM security rules is going to be a huge plus for us.

Thanks for a great resource and I am hoping that as Puppet matures, that the 2nd Edition is not far off.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Must Have for Puppet admins July 20, 2008
Format:Paperback
This book is definitely a vital reference for anyone who's working with puppet; I picked it up after becoming frustrated with the current state of available information on puppet, and it turned my perspective around completely.

I'm not sure that I would have managed to learn everything I needed to about puppet using only the docs on the website; often I got the familiar feeling when reading through the wiki that some crucial bit of information was being assumed, but this book always backed up its information with examples that I could use to grasp the idea being presented.

On thing to note about the book -- It's really not structured to be a quick-start guide, but rather each chapter lays a foundation of knowledge that the next chapter builds upon. As such, I'd recommend setting aside a couple of afternoons to read through the book, ideally before you even begin to set up your puppet environment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent E-Book Rushed to Print March 4, 2011
By Al
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This feels like a decent e-book that Apress rushed to market too early. It's not only hampered by the lack of an index, but the page formatting in terms of the headers and footers feels like something a high schooler put together in order to pad out the page count. I own one of Mr. Turnbull's other books on linux hardening which I think is excellent, this book falls short of that standard.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good book from James Turnbull April 6, 2008
Format:Paperback
Pulling Strings with Puppet is my third book from James Turnbull, and much like the others, this delivered.

Writing a book on puppet at this stage is certainly a challenge. Puppet is growing and changing much faster than even the online documentation can keep up with. The author decided to worry about concepts and include future directions where possible. It was a good decision. The book gives a give overview of the puppet configuration tool and a few in-depth reviews of some concepts. I learned a number of things to improve my setup, even though I had been using puppet for over 6 months.

Best practices and use cases are the areas I was most interested in. There are several small use-cases which build a nice foundation for using puppet including, using a version control system, using mongrel as the web server, writing your own modules, and external node storage. I would have liked to have then seen a wrap-up use case incorporating all of these ideas into an enterprise-type deployment, but it may have meant a lot of repeated material.

If you're looking into puppet, I would recommend this book. It's rather inexpensive and gives a rookie a decent handle on where and how to start. The book also does a good job at providing links and direction toward the puppet community, which is needed, due to the speed at which puppet is currently changing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Puppet
For any sysadmin that needs an introduction to Puppet this is a good book to start with, gives you a basic understanding of puppet and how it works, I recommend it.
Published 2 months ago by Carlos E. Ku
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated and poorly edited
I read 2/3rds of this book and gave up. It is poorly edited, contains too many mistakes/inconsistencies and reads like a first draft. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Romski
3.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Puppet, yes, but not for starting Puppet
I'm going to side with other reviews, in that this book is "good, but could be better". First off, it's outdated. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Brian M. Murphree
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously, no index?
The info is good but the lack of an index makes it useless as a reference.
Published on September 11, 2010 by Nathan Mueller
3.0 out of 5 stars OK book, but it needs complete examples or source code to download
Its a short book but given the light level of documentation around the puppet opensource project I found this book useful to get you started automating machine administration. Read more
Published on May 18, 2010 by Simon Reavely
4.0 out of 5 stars solid puppet foundation
Well written book to get you going with Puppet. I understand there will be an new book from the same author later this year (aprox. Read more
Published on May 17, 2010 by G. Schram
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must-read' for administrators starting with Puppet
Hi,
I started using puppet about 2 months ago and had spent quit some time googling around. It worked, but I had many questions where I could not find a clear answer. Read more
Published on May 10, 2010 by Alex Ongena
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction in to the puppet world
I found the book to be easy to read and concise. The book covers all of the basics and some advanced topics, so seasoned puppeteers will still get some value out of this book.
Published on December 13, 2009 by C. Sutton
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good, but needs updating.
Adding puppet to my latest skills list has been like drinking from a firehose. This book, however, has provided some much needed concise information. Read more
Published on June 26, 2009 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars No index? In a technical book? Really?
It's nice to have the puppet documentation in book form, but if you want to look something up, you're still left with Google: this book has no index.
Published on February 6, 2009 by p z
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