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I've just been booked to speak at PLUG/Central in October. I'll be speaking about our newest book, The Practice of Cloud System Administration.

For a list of all upcoming speaking engagements, visit our appearances page: http://everythingsysadmin.com/appearances/

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Safari Books Online now has all chapters of The Practice of Cloud Administration. "Rough Cuts" are pre-editing drafts. You get to see the book with all the typos and misspelled words... but 2-3 months before the real book is available: http://my.safaribooksonline.com/9780133478549

If you want to get some fan-only details about the book and other inside information. Join our mailing list

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Safari Books now has the (very) rough draft of The Practice of Cloud System Administration online and available to anyone with an account. This book is all new material.

How rough is rough? Well, the diagrams are the hand-drawn sketches that will eventually be turned into nicely drawn diagrams. The copyediting hasn't been done yet. There's probably a few other things missing.

If you don't have a Safari Books Online account you'll be able to look at the Table of Contents and other materials. With an account, you'll be able to read the entire thing. http://my.safaribooksonline.com/9780133478549

The final release date will be mid-September. You can pre-order it on Amazon right now!

Here's the text of the back cover:

The Practice of Cloud System Administration, Volume 2, focuses on "distributed" or "cloud" computing and brings a DevOps/SRE sensibility to the practice of system administration. Unsatisfied with books that cover either design or operations in isolation, the authors created this authoritative reference centered on a comprehensive approach.

Case studies and examples from Google, Etsy, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, and other industry giants are explained in practical ways that are useful to all enterprises. The new companion to the best-selling first volume, The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition, this guide offers expert coverage of the following and many other crucial topics:

DESIGNING and building modern web and distributed systems

  • Fundamentals of large system design
  • Understanding the new software engineering implications of cloud administration
  • Making systems that are resilient to failure and grow and scale dynamically
  • Implementing DevOps principles and cultural changes
  • IaaS/PaaS/SaaS and virtual platform selection

OPERATING and running systems using the latest DevOps/SRE strategies

  • Upgrading production systems with zero down-time
  • What and how to automate; how to decide what not to automate
  • On-call best practices that improve uptime
  • Why distributed systems require fundamentally different system administration techniques
  • Identifying and resolving resiliency problems before they surprise you

ASSESSING and evaluating your team's operational effectiveness

  • Driving improvement through a scientific process of continuous improvement
  • A 40+-page, pain-free assessment system you can start using today

About the authors:

Thomas A. Limoncelli is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and system administrator with more than twenty years of experience at companies like Google, Bell Labs, and StackExchange.com

Strata R. Chalup has more than twenty-five years of experience in Silicon Valley, focusing on IT strategy, best-practices, and scalable infrastructures at firms that include Apple, Sun, Cisco, McAfee, and Palm.

Christina J. Hogan has more than twenty years of experience in system administration and network engineering, from Silicon Valley to Italy and Switzerland. She has a master's degree in computer science, a doctorate in aeronautical engineering, and has been part of a Formula 1 racing team.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Strata Chalup, Christine Hogan, and I have been working on a new book titled, "The Practice of Cloud Administration".

This new book is all new material focused on the design and operation of distributed systems or "cloud" computing. The book is two parts: "Building it" and "Running it". It is the sequel to our enterprise-focused book, "The Practice of System and Network Administration".

If you want to see a preview, the only conference where you'll be able to get a sneak peek is at LOPSA-East. Otherwise you'll have to wait until at least September 2014 (we don't have the exact shipping date yet, it could be as late as November).

The preview will be during this session: http://lopsa-east.org/2014/lopsa-east-14-talks/#31 I'll be talking about what you can expect in the book, our writing process, and I hope to have some sample chapters that I can hand out.

Register today: http://lopsa-east.org/2014/

LOPSA-East is a regional sysadmin conference in New Brunswick NJ, May 2-3, 2014. Two days of world-class training on a diverse range of topics plus community-selected talks: http://lopsa-east.org/2014/

I hope to see you there!

--Tom Limoncelli

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Pre-announcement

I'm planning on making a big announcement on Monday. Nothing earth-shattering, but watch this space.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Stop the Hollyweb! No DRM in HTML5.

Today is the International Day Against DRM.

As an author, and one that is currently living on unemployment insurance payments, DRM-free scares the shit out of me. Every book I've ever published has been pirated. Some I have even found in the "/tmp" directory of open HTTP servers. Every time I see my books pirated I die a little inside.

Writing is very difficult for me. People don't realize how hard it is. How do I stop procrastinating and sit down to write? I eliminate everything else "tempting" from my life for a year or two until the book is done. Do you know what's more tempting to do than writing? Everything. This basically means anything fun... eliminated. It kills my nights and weekends. It kills my social life. I say "no" to every invitation, movie night, gaming night, etc. When the book is done I always hold a big party to celebrate but also to re-introduce myself to my friends and loved ones that I've haven't seen in so long.

While DRM-free media scares me, I know it is important to be able to store media on all your devices, move it around and so on.

Producing DRM-free media is about trust. It is the author showing trust in the readers that they will do the right thing when it comes to paying for what they use (if there is a charge) and trust that people will abide by whatever copyrights the creator has placed on the work. It is the customer showing trust in the producer that they set reasonable prices.

I want to live in a world with that kind of trust. Publishing books without DRM is, to me, an experiment in seeing if that is the kind of world we can create.

That's why I support the "Day without DRM".

Sign the petition.

O'Reilly demonstrates this trust. It publishes Time Management for System Administrators at a reasonable price. You can download it in many formats, as many times as you wish. You can read it in HTML on Safari Online.

This is a critical moment in the fight against DRM. A proposal currently being considered by the W3C would weave DRM into HTML5 -- in other words, into the very fabric of the Web. This would be bad. If there is DRM on the web, let it remain as proprietary plug-ins, not a requirement of owning a web browser.

Sign the petition.

I'm against including any DRM in HTML5. I hope you are too.

To celebrate "Day Against DRM" you can purchase "Time Management for System Administrators" and 5000+ other O'Reilly eBooks for half price. Use discount code: DRM2013. Deal expires May 3, 2013 at 11:59pm PT.

Sign the petition.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

In the past I've said good things a few different times about "Taming Information Technology: Lessons from Studies of System Administrators" by Eser Kandogan, Paul Maglio, Eben Haber and John Bailey.

Eben will be at Usenix LISA next week, in San Diego, doing a book signing during the Wednesday afternoon break on the expo floor. He'll have a limited number of copies for sale at a huge discount (I hear it's $40/book while supplies last).

See you there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

In the past I've said good things a few different times about "Taming Information Technology: Lessons from Studies of System Administrators" by Eser Kandogan, Paul Maglio, Eben Haber and John Bailey.

Eben will be at Usenix LISA next week, in San Diego, doing a book signing during the Wednesday afternoon break on the expo floor. He'll have a limited number of copies for sale at a huge discount (I hear it's $40/book while supplies last).

See you there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Spiceworks interview

I've been interviewed on SpiceWorks. Read it here:

Check it out!

Interesting trivia: The IT department where my S.O. works uses Spiceworks' ticket system.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

I'm proud to announce that TM4SA has been selected to be featured on this year's O'Reilly Back-to-School Special.

The special runs this week only, from Sept 4th to the 11th. Save up to 50% on books, videos and courses.

To receive the discount start shopping using this link http://oreil.ly/SUPaaT or use discount code "B2S2".

Happy savings to all students and non-students alike!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

"Taming Information Technology: Lessons from Studies of System Administrators" by Eser Kandogan, Paul Maglio, Eben Haber and John Bailey

Scientists video tape sysadmins at work then analyse the footage, making interesting observations about what we do, how we do it, and why.

  • For every CEO that thinks sysadmins just lay about all day, this book shows what risky, dangerous work we do.
  • For the parent that doesn't quite understand what their son or daughter the system administrator does, this book spells it out in plain language stories of what we do.
  • For the person that thinks sysadmins just sit around fixing computers with a screw driver and CD-ROM, this book shows real situations where outages cost millions and teams of technical people battle clueless (and not so clueless managers).

If you, as a sysadmin, think our community would do better if more people understood what we actually do, you should promote this book.

I was lucky enough to read a draft copy. It goes on sale July 14th or August 14th depending on which website you believe. My request, dear readers, is that you pre-order your copy NOW. Pre-order statistics are watched by publishers to help them decide which books are worth their marketing efforts. A lot of pre-orders would help justify spreading the word about this book further.

You can pre-order it at many fine book sellers including Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195374126/tomontime-20

Some chapters read like the opening scene of Indiana Jones, others like Gorillas in the Mist. This ground-breaking, in-depth look at the real lives of system administrators is an exciting read whether you are a CEO wondering what your IT department does, a user wondering why your "IT person" is always stressed out, or a parent wondering what they heck your child does for a living. Kandogan, Maglio, Haber and Bailey are the Diane Fossey of the computer world!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

In 2007 when Peter H. Salus and I published all the April Fools RFCs in one book we also included the poetry RFCs and the funny RFCs published outside of April Fools timeframe.

Speaking of which... we included "RFC 2410: The NULL Encryption Algorithm and Its Use With IPsec" because, well, I thought it was funny. Specifying an encryption scheme for IPsec that does not encrypt the bytes is, well, funny. It turns out it wasn't published as a joke. Oops. No offense meant to the authors R. Glenn and S. Kent.

Nobody pointed this out to me until years after the book was printed. Sadly because this book is printed on dead trees we can't "take it back".

We don't have a new edition that includes the 2008-2013 RFCs but those are pretty easy to find. The book does include some commentary that isn't available on-line. That includes forewords by Mike O'Dell, Scott Bradner, and Brad Templeton. I re-read them today and was impressed at how they have stood the test of time.

More about the book here:

Order it on Amazon here:

Tom Limoncelli

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Use code B2SDEAL http://bit.ly/b2sdeal to get 50% off Time Management for Sysadmins in eBook format part of the Back To School Deal from O'Reilly. At $9.99 it is hard to pass up this deal.

Offer expires September 28th, and may not be combined with other offers.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

  1. Today is April Fools day. If you see something fishy, pause and think before you react. It could be a joke. Today is an opportunity to show how good you are at taking a joke.

  2. We still have a few copies left of The Complete April Fools RFCs. One big book of all the funny Internet RFCs (as of a few years ago). http://www.rfc-humor.com for more info. Makes a great gift for the geek in your life and is the perfect conversation piece for your office.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Keith Albright and Steve Murawski do a great sysadmin podcast called "Mind Of Root". It is mostly Windows-focused but has a lot of great Linux stuff too. Recently they've been reviewing chapters of The Practice of System and Network Administration one or two chapters per epidsode. They pre-announce which chapter will be discussed so you can read it before the next episode.

They usually record the podcast live, and you can join in a chat room and be involved in the show.

I'm really enjoying listening to people talk about the book. When they agree they usually have an excellent story to tell, and when they disagree they're right 99% of the time (I keep saying to myself, "D'oh! Why didn't I change that in the 2nd edition!")

It looks like one (or both?) of them will be at the LOPSA PICC Conference, April 29-30 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It will be great to finally meet!

Here are the episodes where they've discussed chapters so far:

  • Episode 147 - Snow Reboots (Chapter 5 - Services)
  • Episode 146 - The Blue Cables Are Faster (Chapters 4 and 6 - Servers and Data Centers)
  • Episode 145 - State Of The Workstation Address (Chapter 3 - Workstations)
  • Episode 144 - Gross. Get it? (Chapter 2 - Climb Out Of The Hole)
  • Episode 143 - Did I mention the Book Club?

Enjoy the podcast!

P.S. Hey guys! One of you (can't tell who said it) mentioned they'd gotten a Kindle for Christmas. Nearly a day later Amazon and our publisher worked out whatever technical problem they were having and TPOSANA finally appeared on the Kindle store! Coincidence??

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

System Administration Soft Skills: How can system administrators reduce stress and conflict in the workplace? by Christina Lear
Christina is a co-author of The Practice of System and Network Administration. The article is a great overview of the soft skills needed by system administrators and for non-sysadmins it is an interesting peek into sysadmin life. Check it out! (If you didn't recognize her name, that's because it changed when she married this guy.)
http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=1922541

Handling HDD failures with Ganeti by Lance Albertson
Lance uses the Ganeti virtual cluster manager (think: VMWare ESX with Vmotion but completely open source) and has written another great post about how it is making his life easier. I work on the team that develops Ganeti.
http://www.lancealbertson.com/2011/02/handling-hdd-failures-with-ganeti

Testable System Administration: Models of indeterminism are changing IT management. by Mark Burgess
Mark is the author of cfengine and explains the new thinking in system administration. If you've heard terms like "Configuration Management", "cfengine", "Puppet", or "Chef"(http://wiki.opscode.com/display/chef/Home) and weren't sure what they're about, this article will give you the theory behind it all.
http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=1937179

We're happy to announce The Practice of System and Network Administration is now available on Kindle!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004JLMUJ0

Thanks to everyone at Addison-Wesley and Amazon for making this happen. Thanks to all the fans that clicked on the link on Amazon asking for a Kindle edition.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Free to Choose Deal of the Day - Save 60% on ALL Ebooks & Videos! Use code: DDF2H http://oreil.ly/free2choose

Today is a great day to get Time Management For System Administrators for practically nothing!

Don't procrastinate! Use your time wisely and get the eBook version of TM4SA right now!

(This deal starts 12:01 am PT Monday, November 29 and runs for 24 hours)

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

The Mind Of Root podcast has announced that they are doing a study group for The Practice of System and Network Administration. Each week people will read one chapter and discuss it on the podcast.

They are starting with chapter 2. Start reading now and be ready to discuss it on Nov 11.

Click here to get started.

I'm really excited about this project. When they contacted me and asked if it was "ok", I was elated! I look forward to listening to the podcasts and wish them the best!

Tom

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Usenix has published my article "A System Administration Parable: The Waitress and the Water Glass" and you can now read it online. (The PDF is 6 pages but it is about 1/3rd whitespace)

After you read it, I'm asking people to answer this (very very) short survey.

I appreciate your feedback!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

I don't have the time or expertise to write such a book, so I'm giving this idea away in hopes that someone else writes it.

I incredibly impressed by the now classic paper "Distributed Computing Economics" by Jim Gray). (Sadly Dr. Gray passed away much too soon in an accident.)

If you haven't read it, here it is in HTML, or PDF and MS-Word. It is brilliant. It summarizes everything you need to know if you want to predict the next 30 years of "cloud computing."

So here's the book idea: Write a book that expands each paragraph into a chapter. Either write it for college students that are early in their computer science education, or for business executives that are non-technical. Either way, you have an excellent book.

Ok, who's going to write it?

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Happy April Fools Day!

Remember, you can read all the April Fools RFCs in one place on my other web site, www.rfc-humor.com. You can get them all printed, plus interesting commentary, in the book that Peter Salus and I wrote: The Complete April Fools RFCs.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Hugh MacLeod's new book Ignore Everbody (and 39 other keys to creativity) reminds me of something that helped Christine and I write the first edition of The Practice of System and Network Administration: we picked the right people to ignore.

We ignored the conventional wisdom of the day that "soft skills" was unimportant or uninteresting, we ignored the people that said senior sysadmins know this stuff already and junior sysadmins don't care, we ignored people that said that "most of what you propose to write about can't be put into words", and we ignored one particularly vehement person who felt that system administration is dead and all that matters is web-based apps.

It was a leap of faith to ignore these people since in many cases it was just a gut feeling that they were incorrect. In hindsight we know that soft skills wasn't being talked about meant that there was a huge market void seeking to be filled. Junior sysadmins bought the book because they wanted to become senior. Senior sysadmins bought the book in bulk to give to their more junior co-workers (At a book signing I was handed a stack of 20 books and a list of 20 names; an IT manager at MIT wanted everyone in his group to have a personalized autograph copy).  It was a struggle to put some concepts into words, but very satisfying when we did. And that thing about web-apps? Well, someone has to maintain those web servers.

Some people got together and created a 3-minute video summary of Huge's book.  They aren't connected to the book, they didn't ask permission, they just did it because they were inspired. How cool is that?

Check it out.

P.S.  Also check out his blog, Gaping Void especially if you like awesome cartoons written on the back of business cards that express awesome and terrible truths.


Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

I'm happy to announce that Time Management for System Administrators (O'Reilly) is now available on Kindle (both Kindle 1, 2 and iPhone), and is being sold without any DRM.

It's a good time to read TM4SA: With the economic slow-down, most IT shops are being asked to "do more with less".  TM4SA is really a book about personal efficiency.  It is a self-help book for the overburdened geek.

Kindle makes it easy: No cables to wrangle.  No special lighting needed.  Read it on the train, in the park, or at the office.  Best of all, read it at your leisure.  TM4SA is the kind of book that you can read a bite at a time.  Short chapters make it perfect for reading "when you have a few minutes" while waiting for a system update to download and install.

Read the full announcement from O'Reilly.

[ Note: Both Time Management for System Administrators and The Practice of System and Network Administration (2nd Ed) are available as E-Book and can be read on-line on www.safaribooksonline.com or mobile-optimized m.safaribooksonline.com. ]

A few years ago Peter Salus and I set out to publish all the April Fools RFCs in one book, and include essays by famous internet innovators to tell their stories.  We achieved our goal a few years ago and you can read them all in The Complete April Fools' Day RFCs. (You can read the RFCs, without the fun essays, on our web site RFC-Humor.com.  The essays are written by early Internet innovators such as Brad Templeton (founder of rec.humor.funny), Mike O'Dell (founder of UUNet, the first commercial ISP), and Scott Bradner (of IETF and other organizations).

Each month The Internet Society publishes standard documents that detail how the internet works.  Each April some fake ones come through, usually with hilarious results.  Wondering how to do TCP/IP over a network of carrier pidgeons?  Yup, published on April 1st.

Most of these documents (called "RFCs") are serious.  Wondering how PING works?  Read RFC 792.   Wondering how "telnet" works?  Read RFC 854.  Wondering how HTTP works? Well, that started with RFC 1945 and has been updated many times.   On April Fools day, however, we've learned how to debug your network with a rubber chicken and how to solve the Y10K problem.

The book makes a perfect gift for the geek that has everything.  Having this book at the office is the perfect way to show your geekitude.  As the back cover says, "When the network is down, this book won't help you at all!"

The book has received excellent reviews from BoingBoing, Groklaw, ZTrek
and the widely read EverythingSysadmin.com blog.  Famous open source guy Eric S. Raymond says, "It's been written that April Fool's is the high holy day of hackerdom; if so, these are its sacred texts."

The book is available on Amazon.com and other fine book stores.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Ben Rockwood interviewed Tom for his blog's podcast.  We talk about time management, the history and future of system administration, and a lot more.  Links to the podcast are on his blog www.CuddleTech.com/blog

A number of people have reported that their pre-orders have been canceled on Amazon and other book sites. Our publisher says that usually doesn't happen unless the delay is 6 months, which is not the case here. The publisher's liaisons to Amazon.com has been contacted and is going to find out what is wrong. In the meanwhile, please resubmit your order and accept our apologies.

We're told, "The Amazon order is being packed today [July 10] and should ship later today or tomorrow. It should hit their warehouses by the end of the week."

As far as why the book is delayed, we have an update. It seems that the factory put off our book to make room for a higher-priority book that is coming out. I won't say what the book is, but it has something to do with hallows that are deathly.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

PRESS RELEASE

Title: 2nd Edition of TPOSANA Announced at SAGE-AU, Strata Chalup joins the team

During his keynote during SAGE-AU 2006, Tom Limoncelli announced that a second edition of The Practice of System and Network Administration is in the works.

The new edition:

  • Adds Strata Rose Chalup as a new co-author
  • Planned released in December 2006
  • Community Involvement is requested

The award winning Practice of System and Network Administration (Addison-Wesley) was originally released in 2001 and has become the industry standard for best practices in system administration. Many IT organizations consider it their "bible", some even buying copies in bulk to distribute to all new IT workers.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

Today at the Opening Plenary of the USENIX LISA2005 conference, Christine and I were presented the 2005 Outstanding Achievement Award for our book, The Practice of System and Network Administration. I accepted the award on Christine's behalf, as she is in Switzerland and couldn't attend the conference.

Here is the transcript of our acceptance speech:

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News

I'll be speaking at User Groups in your area about my new book, Time Management for System Administrators. The talk covers the most important tips from the book.

More soon! If you want me to speak at your user group, please drop me a note!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News