Awesome Conferences

June 2014 Archives

Damn you, LinkedIn

I swear I clicked "cancel" but obviously I have instructed LinkedIn to tell the world I wanted to connect with them them. Every mailing list I'm on seems to have received an invitation.

I have a feeling I'm going to get a lot of angry email today. So, if you received an invitation, please ignore it.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

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.

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

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

I'll be giving my talk about the Puppet "Black Box" project at the PuppetNYC Meetup (New York Puppet Users Group). For more info, see their website

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in AppearancesArchiveNYC

Yulia Sheynkman and Dave Zwieback are repeating their "Awesome Postmortems" workshop on July 10.

It's a great way to get the team--and not just ops--offsite to experience a healthier way of dealing and learning from failure.

If you are in the NYC-area, this is a great opportunity to learn how to make postmortems an integrated part of how to improve reliability and prevent future outages.

When we wrote our "how to do postmortems" section of the upcoming The Practice of Cloud System Administration, we asked Dave for advice because we respect his expertise. Now you can get a full day of training directly from Yulia and Dave!

(full description below the fold)

I have some PDFs that have to be reviewed in Adobe Reader, because they include "comments" that OS X "Preview" can't display and edit.

This alias has saved me hours of frustration:

alias reader='open -a /Applications/Adobe\'

Now I can simply type "reader" instead of, say, "cat", and view the PDF:

reader Limoncelli_Ch13_jh.pdf

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Adobe Acrobat Reader, it is Adobe's product for distributing security holes to nearly every computer system in the world. It is available for nearly every platform, which makes it a very convenient way to assure that security problems can be distributed quickly and globally. Recently Adobe added the ability to read and display PDFs. Previously I used Oracle Java to make sure all my systems were vulnerable to security problems, but now that Reader can display PDFs, they're winning on the feature war. I look forward to Oracle's response since, as I've always said, when it comes to security, the free market is oh so helpful.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in RantsTechnical Tips

Tom will be giving a talk called "Safely storing secrets and credentials in Git for use by Puppet: The BlackBox project" at Puppet Camp NYC. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in AppearancesArchiveNYC

Usenix FCW '14 is in Philly June 17-20 and one of the tutorials is the highly rated SRE University--Practical Large System Design. It is taught by actual Google SREs. It is worth going to this conference just to take this class.

There are other sysadmin-related classes at FCW '14 this year including Hadoop Operations, Apache Cloudstack, Jenkins CI, and Hands-On Security for system administrators. Check out the full schedule.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

Would you help us figure out how to explain our new book? A 30-question survey... only takes a minute.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli