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Web Operations: Keeping the Data On Time [Paperback]

John Allspaw , Jesse Robbins
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 28, 2010 1449377440 978-1449377441 1

A web application involves many specialists, but it takes people in web ops to ensure that everything works together throughout an application's lifetime. It's the expertise you need when your start-up gets an unexpected spike in web traffic, or when a new feature causes your mature application to fail. In this collection of essays and interviews, web veterans such as Theo Schlossnagle, Baron Schwartz, and Alistair Croll offer insights into this evolving field. You'll learn stories from the trenches--from builders of some of the biggest sites on the Web--on what's necessary to help a site thrive.

  • Learn the skills needed in web operations, and why they're gained through experience rather than schooling
  • Understand why it's important to gather metrics from both your application and infrastructure
  • Consider common approaches to database architectures and the pitfalls that come with increasing scale
  • Learn how to handle the human side of outages and degradations
  • Find out how one company avoided disaster after a huge traffic deluge
  • Discover what went wrong after a problem occurs, and how to prevent it from happening again

Contributors include:

John Allspaw

Heather Champ

Michael Christian

Richard Cook

Alistair Croll

Patrick Debois

Eric Florenzano

Paul Hammond

Justin Huff

Adam Jacob

Jacob Loomis

Matt Massie

Brian Moon

Anoop Nagwani

Sean Power

Eric Ries

Theo Schlossnagle

Baron Schwartz

Andrew Shafer


Frequently Bought Together

Web Operations: Keeping the Data On Time + The Art of Capacity Planning: Scaling Web Resources + Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Fowler))
Price for all three: $110.79

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Allspaw is currently Operations Engineering Manager at Flickr, the popular photo site. He has had extensive experience working with growing web sites since 1999. These include online news magazines Salon.com, InfoWorld.com, Macworld.com and social networking sites that experienced extreme growth (Friendster and Flickr). During his time at Friendster, traffic increased 5X. He was responsible for their transition from a couple dozen servers in a failing data center to over 400 machines across two data centers, and the complete redesign of the backing infrastructure. When he joined Flickr, they had 10 servers in a tiny data center in Vancouver; they are now located in multiple data centers across the US. Prior to his web experience, Allspaw worked in modeling and simulation as a mechanical engineer doing car crash simulations for the NHTSA.

Jesse Robbins (@jesserobbins) is CEO of Opscode (makers of Chef) and a recognized expert in Infrastructure, Web Operations, and Emergency Management.

He serves as co-chair of the Velocity Web Performance & Operations Conference and contributes to the O'Reilly Radar . Prior to co-founding Opscode, he worked at Amazon.com with a title of "Master of Disaster" where he was responsible for Website Availability for every property bearing the Amazon brand.

Robbins is a volunteer Firefighter/EMT and Emergency Manager, and led a task force deployed in Operation Hurricane Katrina. His experiences in the fire service profoundly influence his efforts in technology, and he strives to distill his knowledge from these two worlds and apply it in service of both.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (June 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449377440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449377441
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(10)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars asks the right questions July 12, 2010
Format:Paperback
The answers aren't always simple and the multi-author nature of the book means that the structure is not straightforward, but the book contains most of the questions that Internet application developers and maintainers should ask themselves regarding operations, monitoring, backups, and scaling. The book pours cold water on one of my cherished ideas, i.e., build an Internet application as a relational database management system application and then add a thin HTML layer on top. But the authors and the experience of popular sites such as Facebook argue in favor of relegating the database to a very simple supporting role.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By E.B.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although this book focuses on Web Operations, it is really a high-level best practices guide for any IT operations center. It reads like a magazine without the ads, which was a good thing for me since I'm not too fond of reading technical books front to back. Each chapter is like an extended article with advice from the author's experience.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is unfamiliar with operations, just starting in an operations group, or integrates with operations.

For the experienced operations team member, this book will be of some use as a guide for particular focus areas for your group, but you may not learn anything new. It covers best practices and requirements for operation groups, such as monitoring and trending, post-mortems, backups, storage methods, and database strategies; but the most interesting chapters to me were the ones that focused on the interaction with the development groups. The chapters on Continuous Deployment, Dev and Ops Collaboration and Cooperation, and Agile Infrastructure were particularly poignant in that regard. I would recommend those chapters alone for any non-operation team to read to better understand operations and their focus, as well as operation team members to remind them of their responsibilities to the rest of the tech organization.

The reasons that I did not give this book 5 stars are that I felt it skipped a large part of organizing an operations team and covering process flows within them, such as change management, escalations, separation of responsibilities, ticketing systems, and how they impact daily operations. I also felt there was not enough specificity regarding many of the topics, especially regarding the integration of the topics.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Graduate Level Internet Support August 23, 2010
Format:Paperback
Think of this book as a post-graduate level "Introduction to Internet Support". The authors advocate all those things experienced technicians know make the real difference; metrics, disaster planning, cross-team communication...the list goes on and on.

If you're a technician, read this book and start working the practices. Graph some performance, spend time with the coders, think through how you might deal with double or triple your current traffic or server load. You will become the "go to" person when there are questions and your career will get a lot more fun!

At the (Project) Manager level? Buy copies for everyone on your team and start enabling them. Focus on one or two avenues and break down the barriers to effective efficiency. Demonstrate the advantages to your senior managment so they green light bigger, more challenging tasks. Find those one or two folks whose minds are open to the possibilities and give them a copy of Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management (Theory in Practice (O'Reilly)). Expect others to look to you for advice.

This isn't a "Try this code" sort of book! There's a bit of challenge if you go to work, ask about metrics, and get blank stares. Challenge...opportunity...options. Read the book, find what really excites you, and go make things better.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you work in web operations READ THIS BOOK! July 14, 2010
Format:Paperback
You are not going to find detailed how-to's or pages of code samples in this book, but you will find some amazing best-practice knowledge from people who know what they are talking about. Web Operations is still a young discipline, but being armed with the knowledge and experience in this book may be the difference between a lot of sleepless nights or an infrastructure that hums along quietly.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ... for managers or groups February 21, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have never left a review before but since I depend on them more and more it seemed like a good idea to drop my 2 cents for a change.

Going into this purchase I was not expecting a very technical read but did want a deeper understanding of the full flow (from front-end to rear and back) of web design architecture with an eye toward scaling. Sadly, only a 3rd of this book felt useful for me (and I'd say for any one person or handful of people working on the next great site). Even worse, most of it was at the beginning and end of the book. So little at the end that it even felt rushed or added-on last minute despite being oriented toward "newer" web development types that are not tied to traditional RDBMS. It's that last point where half of the book seems to spend it's time, giving it a "legacy code" feel.

Not wanting to kick this review while it's down... but doing it anyway, the language of the book reads as management level for large groups, or really, how to bring diverse groups together.
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