DiscoPosse Review: Learning Chef

I’m a big fan of Chef, and I always enjoy finding more reading resources for me and for those who are looking to adopt this great tool. The Learning Chef book is a great guide for people who have limited or no experience with this really powerful configuration management framework.

This truly is the soup to nuts (see what I did there?) guide to installing and using Chef for configuration management. This book takes you from the very beginning of explaining what configuration management is, and launching into a nicely illustrated installation guide for Chef. The good stuff is just beginning!

The book is laid out very nicely in clear sections, with focus on Ruby syntax, code samples, runbook authoring, testing, and environment creation. I would absolutely recommend this for readers getting started with Chef and even those with some familiarity. As a big fan of O’Reilly book formats and the great authors who create them, I am always happy when I have them available for learning and for future reference.

Click the image below to visit the O’Reilly site to order your copy, and I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I do 🙂


DiscoPosse Review: OpenStack Operations Guide

With an all-star cast of authors including Tom Fifield, Diane Fleming, Anne Gentle, Lorin Hochstein, Jonathan Proulx, Everett Toews, and Joe Topjian, this guide presents one of the best all-around operations guides for the OpenStack ecosystem. I’ve been a big fan of the work done by Anne Gentle with all of the book sprints including this Operations Guide and the recent Architecture Guide.

One of the gaps that is highlighted by some newcomers to the OpenStack ecosystem is the documentation. It isn’t that it is missing so much as it is challenging for those who have not had experience in the use of Linux environments. Luckily, the OpenStack Operations Guide is an ideal companion for both new and existing OpenStack administrators.

Conceptual administration coverage is good in the book, and you will find that it can be a great read in general. Pairing this with the install guide at OpenStack.org and you will be able to get more comfortable on OpenStack and build your skills.

Drop on over to the O’Reilly site and pick up your copy, or you can also order through your usual retailer. Getting the e-book also gives the option to receive updates as they come in.


Enjoy, and happy stacking!

DiscoPosse Review: Lean Enterprise by Jez Humble, Barry O’Reilly, Joanne Molesky

lean-coverI love beta programs because you get a view inside the development cycle and have an intimate understanding of what is coming next. What was interesting to me was taking this book in “Early Release” format, and it was as exciting as any product I’ve previewed!

People, process, and technology, when put together properly, are the trifecta for great application development and even organizational development. The authors bring the concepts out very effectively in the book with a great narrative, and tips along the way to lead the reader to think, and apply great techniques in lean methodologies.

For those in systems development, or systems administration, or in business and management teams, this book will be a key resource in the library in my opinion. As a long time fan of Jez Humble and his work, this collaboration with Barry O’Reilly and Joanne Molesky is a must read for me and my team.

Bravo O’Reilly, and thank you to Jez, Barry, and Joanne for this great resource. I can’t wait to see it in its final print!

The book is slated for a release in September 2014, so pre-order now at Amazon by clicking on the link below, and I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I have 🙂

Give your bookshelf a +1 with Networking for VMware Administrators

As a big fan of continuous learning, I am pretty aggressive on finding great content and doing what I can to share that content with my readers and peers.

Hot off the presses is one of my long-awaited books to add to my reading list and that is Networking for VMware Administrators by Chris Wahl (@ChrisWahl) and Steve Pantol (@StevePantol). Rarely do I give a sight unseen recommendation, but this is one of those times.

Spreading your wings – Networking is a necessary skill

As administrators and architects, it is absolutely important that we have a broad understanding of technology in and out of the data center. One of the most commonly misunderstood, or under-adopted skills is networking.

Generally, systems administrators will have a good knowledge of the hypervisor, the operational strategies to build and maintain a data center, and also some deeper knowledge of performance and design features. The first two places we need to apply our skills to outside of the hypervisor and operational model is at the storage layer and the networking layer.

Many organizations will have a tighter tie between sysadmins and the storage group due to the often tightly bound relationship to VM performance and day-to-day management tasks. At the same time, those same organizations also typically separate the networking infrastructure management from the server virtualization platform team. We tend to be more loosely coupled which can leave a knowledge gap with this area.

Networking is the new Hello World”

I’m not saying that you need to dive in and start planning your path to be a CCIE. I am however saying that you should have a clear understanding of networking technologies and design as much as your able to. Many administrators used to dabble with programming until we could create our first “Hello World” application, and today I want to challenge you to do the same with networking.

While storage virtualization happens at the hardware layers and is usually more of a black-box management, network virtualization is entwined into our virtual data center in many ways. It may seem complicated and daunting to newcomers to networking, but the truth is that you can get quite far by giving yourself the fundamental skills with books like this.

What I really like about the approach to the book is that it is specifically targeted to VMware administrators. It isn’t that it is only useful for VMware administrators, but that is clearly the ideal reader. Since there are thousands upon thousands of VMware administrators out in the world, I can’t imagine that this wouldn’t be an asset to our community.

So jump on over to Amazon to pick up this book, and make sure to reach out to Chris and Steve using the Twitter links above and let them know how you liked it!

DiscoPosse Review: Python Pocket Reference by Mark Lutz

Mark Lutz has been writing about Python since before Python even hit its stride as a widely used programming language. This shows in the great content contained in the O’Reilly Media Python Pocket Reference book. I’ve dabbled in Ruby and .NET, but more to hit a particular task. Now with this book I have already started to dip my toes in the Python waters.

Because of the OpenStack work I’ve been doing, Python is a must-have skill. This book will get a lot of use without a doubt! Even in the VMware world, more and more Python is showing up in the dev and admin ecosystem, so this is a must have guide in my opinion.

Pocket Guides FTW!

I really enjoy pocket guides because it feels like the perfect depth of technical info, and is basically like having a dictionary at your side as you take on a new spoken language. While you can use the “google it” method to learn a lot, I have taken a different tactic on my path to learning Python by using Code Academy (http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/python), and Mark’s Python Pocket Reference.

Just from this experience I can be sure that I’ll be a more effective Python user. Bravo Mark and thank you to O’Reilly Publishing for another great book! Click the image above to buy the book for yourself and get on the road to Python goodness!

DiscoPosse Review: Deploying OpenStack by Ken Pepple

rc_catFor those who don’t already know Ken Pepple (@ken_pepple on Twitter), this is a great way to introduce yourself to him and to OpenStack Havana. Ken’s documentation and diagrams has been one of the most widely used among many sites for OpenStack so this is great to see his work put into a full deployment guide.

The depth of technical information and the great guidance given in the book makes it a great guide for anyone from beginner to advanced. While some concepts may be very new to many fresh to OpenStack, Ken does a great job with providing well-worded descriptions and step-by-step implementation processes for creating your own OpenStack cloud with the Havana edition.

The book is currently in progress, but I was lucky enough to be able to get it for review through my affiliation with the O’Reilly Bloggers Review Program (http://oreilly.com/bloggers). I’m really pleased by the book so far and I am looking forward to seeing it in its final release.

For a really great overall guide which has specific deployment instruction and also deeper discussions on OpenStack concepts, I highly recommend this book as a part of your technical library.

You can pre-order the book here on Amazon: http://discopos.se/OpenStackByKenPepple

For those who want to reach Ken to check out this and his other work, you can find him on Twitter @ken_pepple, and at his website http://ken.pepple.info/ for more great content.