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The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition 2nd Edition
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From the Back Cover
The first edition ofThe Practice of System and Network Administrationintroduced a generation of system and network administrators to a modern IT methodology. Whether you use Linux, Unix, or Windows, this newly revised edition describes the essential practices previously handed down only from mentor to protégé. This wonderfully lucid, often funny cornucopia of information introduces beginners to advanced frameworks valuable for their entire career, yet is structured to help even the most advanced experts through difficult projects.
The book's four major sections build your knowledge with the foundational elements of system administration. These sections guide you through better techniques for upgrades and change management, catalog best practices for IT services, and explore various management topics. Chapters are divided into The Basics and The Icing. When you get the Basics right it makes every other aspect of the job easier--such as automating the right things first. The Icing sections contain all the powerful things that can be done on top of the basics to wow customers and managers.
Inside, you'll find advice on topics such as
- The key elements your networks and systems need in order to make all other services run better
- Building and running reliable, scalable services, including web, storage, email, printing, and remote access
- Creating and enforcing security policies
- Upgrading multiple hosts at one time without creating havoc
- Planning for and performing flawless scheduled maintenance windows
- Managing superior helpdesks and customer care
- Avoiding the "temporary fix" trap
- Building data centers that improve server uptime
- Designing networks for speed and reliability
- Web scaling and security issues
- Why building a backup system isn't about backups
- Monitoring what you have and predicting what you will need
- How technically oriented workers can maintain their job's technical focus (and avoid an unwanted management role)
- Technical management issues, including morale, organization building, coaching, and maintaining positive visibility
- Personal skill techniques, including secrets for getting more done each day, ethical dilemmas, managing your boss, and loving your job
- System administration salary negotiation
It's no wonder the first edition received Usenix SAGE's 2005 Outstanding Achievement Award!
This eagerly anticipated second edition updates this time-proven classic:
- Chapters reordered for easier navigation
- Thousands of updates and clarifications based on reader feedback
- Plus three entirely new chapters: Web Services, Data Storage, and Documentation
About the Author
Thomas A. Limoncelli is a noted system and network administrator employed at Google. He speaks at conferences worldwide on a variety of topics.
Christina J. Hogan has more than ten years' system administration experience. She now works at the BMW Sauber F1 team as an aerodynamicist.
Strata R. Chalup is a twenty-year veteran of system administration and technical project management. She is the founder of Virtual.Net, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Don't get me wrong, you really need to read both, and 'Time Management for System Administrators' while you're at it, but this book is far more about a high-level overview of how and why to build a good SA team and methodology behind offering services *in a way that is useful to the business*, rather than just what MTA to use, for example.
This book covers "what do I call my servers", and so many other boring things you're going to overlook until it's far too late. It is geared more at office sysadmins than datacenter sysadmins (what I do), but in my experience, there is so much you can get from this as a datacenter sysadmin as well.
In my mind, this is the sort of stuff that separates a junior sysadmin from a midlevel sysadmin - a junior sysadmin can sit down and give you a long, nuanced, and extremely passionate overview of nginx vs apache... yet they probably don't have a very good server inventory or monitoring, just some minor stuff.
And then there's extremely junior SAs... you know, the rockstars. Documentation? Man, they don't write something unless it's untested code in some language that was invented last week and is trending on Reddit and is going to run at 80 million connections a second from the minute you start it up until the minute it forkbombs the server off the net. Which is only five minutes later, but they won't have the monitoring or profiling to know that. Rockstars don't *need* monitoring, and they certainly don't need an inventory or documentation.
Businesses do though, and eventually they get tired of their production environment looking like a rockstar's used and abused hotel room.
Reading this book is the first step to recovery.
It covers nearly every aspect of the baseline you need to set in your position and the how's and why's of it. It helps you manage your time and set a level you should aspire to live up to along with how to live up to it.
Overall this is an incredible value, an excellent reference, and highly recommended. It pulls together information from countless sources and topics into one streamlined resource. If only all networks were as organized and efficient as this book.
The profession is about more than knowning obscure options to different commands. To become a professional, a system administrator needs to change mindset from a straight-ahead techie to a member of the team who has specialized expertise.
System administration has not always been recognized as a profession. System administrators themselves are partly to blame for that. We have tended to focus strictly on technology and not on how to structure our work to benefit both ourselves and the organizations we work for. Limoncelli, Hogan and Chalup have put togeter a great standard reference for people who are ready to transition to being professional system administrators.
The text is quite readable, its only flaw being that it is around 1000 pages and a bit overwhelming to look at...and even more so when you heft it. But taken chapter-by-chapter, it covers the bases for many areas of IT quite well. It lacks depth in some areas, but is a good overview, with amazing breadth and very good depth in a surprising number of aspects of system administration and management. I thought that the first chapter was a particularly good way to peek into the depths of the book.
Definitely a must-read, whether you're doing sysadmin in the small or in the large.