- Series: The Expert's Voice
- Paperback: 600 pages
- Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (September 14, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590592123
- ISBN-13: 978-1590592120
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,241,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Automating UNIX and Linux Administration (The Expert's Voice) 1st Edition
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From the creator of the popular open source projects AutoRpm and LogWatch comes a thorough and entertaining book. -- Slashdot.org
About the Author
Kirk Bauer has been involved in computer programming since 1985. He has been using and administering UNIX systems since 1994. Although his personal favorite UNIX variant is Linux, he has administered and developed on everything from FreeBSD to Solaris, AIX, and HP-UX. He is the author of various open source solutions, such as Logwatch. Kirk has been involved with software development and system/network administration since his first year at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has done work for the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and DHL. In 2000, Kirk was one of the founders and the chief technology officer of TogetherWeb, which was purchased in 2003 by Proficient Systems. Kirk is now a systems engineer with F5 Networks.
Kirk graduated from Georgia Tech in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in computer engineering and is pursued his master's in business administration at Arizona State University. He lives in Peoria, Arizona with his two dogs, and his lovely wife, Rachel.
Top customer reviews
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The author looks way beyond just slapping together some scripts to automate routine tasks, and presents some professional and robust approaches for automation, covering single machine administration, multiple machine and cluster administration, push/pull approaches, automation script propagation, automation dependencies, automated error state identification and correction, installation configuration, automating backup and recovery, and security. (Lots of discussion on security throughout -- it's clearly written for the real world.) Throughout, the author demonstrates nuances to each of these problems that show real thoughtfulness and mastery and teaches how to approach these issues equally thoughtfully and professionally yourself, rather than just offering a cookbook of scripts on different topics.
It's got me thinking about all the routine crud I do in totally new ways already. I already know I need to go back and re-read it slower to process it (and in front of a keyboard to try stuff out). This is definitely a book that will be on my "ready reference" shelf for a long time to come.
All the time the author has the security in mind and this is important for people trying to set boxes on the Internet.
If you have a UNIX background that not used for a long time (10 years or so) and you need to go into the Linux server administration. This book certainly will save you a lot of time and will give you the bases to go deeper in the topics that are more important to you.
If the above if not your case, I think the book is still a worth too. I will help to understand the pitfalls in Linux administrations a bit deeper.
At least, but no less important, I found the book easy to read.
Or it may be that the subject matter is too dry. Sure, this can be a boring subject, but isn't that the point? System administration is often boring, and particularly so if you haven't automated it. Making global changes isn't exciting, but it is something some of us have to do now and then.
I'm surprised that it averages two stars - I think it is better than that. When I first get a technical book, I flip to a few random pages - I'm looking to see if I find things I didn't already know and if things are well explained. I found a LOT of things I was not previously aware of and I thought the coverage was thorough.
I agree that it has a strong Linux slant, but I don't see that as a problem - most of what this book suggests could be translated to any system.
From the outset Bauer takes a straightforward and principled approach to problem analysis. Usually starting with anecdotal example scenarios (many of which will have you saying "been there before") and progressing through ideals, goals and consequences, he examines many of the common issues facing system administrators with candor and realism. Almost nowhere in the book does the author assume an authoritarian stance, he questions his own decision making process and encourages the reader to come up with exceptions to his rules. Fundamentally Bauer has one goal - to develop a comprehensive system for reliably automating the tedious but important tasks that all system administrators face on a recurring basis.
Admittedly, it would be a fallacy for any book to claim complete and comprehensive coverage of all things related to system administration and Bauer does no such thing. When the author touches on topics that obviously require more depth than a single chapter can afford, he is certain to include at least one reference (and in many instances more) to alternate publications without bias to any particular publisher or author. Having said that, the book's scope and depth of topic coverage is impressive. Starting with an exhaustive examination of SSH and progressing through cfengine, NFS, LDAP, RPM and Tripwire (just to name a few) Bauer provides carefully detailed instruction on how to automate tasks ranging from simple network management and software packaging to security, monitoring and backups. The author even goes so far as to suggest methods for efficiently front-ending automation systems for the less technical of users.
Although not expressly stated in the text, the overall theme of the book is walk on the shoulders of giants. Starting with simple example scripts (in both Bash and Perl) and many single-line commands, Bauer builds on the content of each previous chapter as the book progresses. Examples shown in early chapters are incorporated into more complex systems one step at a time. Following along is easy, each script or command is detailed on a line-by-line basis, and because of Bauer's principle-based approach the reader is rarely left wondering why the author has chosen a particular tool or implementation. More often than not the elegance of how Bauer pieces together methods and procedures will excite you about the possibilities for automation of your own systems.
Although Bauer explicitly states that readers are presumed to have more than a modicum of experience in system administration even the novice administrator, as well as those that are responsible for only a handful of machines, will find this book invaluable. Also included are three appendices which provide an easy introduction to basic shell tools, creating your own RedHat distribution and how to package software as RPM's. These portions of the book alone justify the less than $40 price tag, but for those that run clusters or data centers this book stands to save you countless hours of repetitive headaches. Published by apress and boasting nearly 600 pages this lively read has made itself a permanent addition to at least one reference library.