10 Books for Operations Engineer


Professional literature – one of the most important parts in engineer education. Junior Ops (as a developer too) feels lack of knowledge and experience which needs to be removed. Every found useful book improves your subject insight and professional mindset at all. It’s worth to get out from rest and spend a couple of hours to get to the subject bottom.

Could you work without this kind of knowledge? Probably, yes. You might be pretty happy working on low IT-department layer.  Usually do something through manuals and articles found in favorite search engine. Eventually, who cares to learn theory when DigitalOcean tutorials embrace every operation at all? But engineers who think like this are not engineers – they are “anykey`s”. “Anykey” actually has no idea about how his own infrastructure works. He will get stuck in every issue which seems a little bit more complicated than usual.

Benefit of books – main view on investigated subject, explanation of working mechanism principles. And, of course, this is the best introduction into new space for engineer. Double check book references. Sometimes source called attractively but structured awful, has uncovered topics and basically means nothing. This article is my personal view of look at this question. Depending on business field sysadmin profession can include a lot of subjects. There could be networks or virtualization, security or IP-telephony, DBMS or cloud computing. I’ll just try to show you the must-read literature helpful in every kind of operations.

1. Modern Operating Systems (4th edition)


Authors: Andrew Tanenbaum, Herbert Bos

Year: 2014

Description. Now I’m reading this book and want to say: this is the IT Bible. Doesn’t matter who get it: admin, developer or someone else. This source is such useful and helpful for computer science generally. After 1100 pages you will be definitely know plenty of OS mechanisms and principles. Your favorite has got stuck not because of your OS is buggy and stupid. Because your process takes too much CPU time and expired its own time quantum. Your browser started to work slower not because of it’s developers have curve hands. Because your browser filled too much virtual memory space and partly has been moved to disk swap.

 2. Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook (4th edition)


Authors:  Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Trent Hein, Ben Whaley

Year: 2010

Description. Who can imagine Ops life without Linux? You’re on your own what system use for workstation. But infrastructure won’t be profitable and reasonable without Linux systems. Handbook explains the Linux administration principles and shows up appliance to important infrastructure items. There is the quick introduction about how works webserver, DNS, LDAP, mail server and so on. Also classic UNIX systems described at this book: Solaris, HP-UX, AIX. So, here is the best introduction to Linux.

3. Computer Networks (5th edition)


Authors: Andrew Tanenbaum, David Wetherall

Year: 2010

Description. My eyes saw only Russian analog of this book by Olifer. But the next Tanenbaum’s job is almost the same. If you don’t have a clue about network technologies and protocols – this is the good first step for you. Book structure severed according to theory of 7-level OSI model. So much argues about OSI importance. But here it looks profitable explained you the networks fundament.

4. Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101 Official Cert Guide


Author: Wendell Odom

Year: 2015

Description. And networks again. And networks again. If you don’t know how your network works – you’ll have too much troubles to “keepalive”. Actually I still can’t understand something, so here is my must-see source too. It doesn’t look like Tanenbaum creation. Mostly here is the practical guide and you would be better to combine in with Cisco Packet Tracer labs. After thoughtful reading you should be free to pass CCNA exam.

5. The Phoenix Project. A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win


Authors: Kevin Behr, George Spafford, Gene Kim

Year: 2013

Description. Who are you without DevOps, comrade? Development and Operations, Development and Operations! You can call it a great introduction to DevOps culture. It’s doesn’t pretend on guide source. It just explains you what can go wrong in your job and how DevOps mindset can erase it.

6. The Practice of System and Network Administration (2nd edition)


Authors: Thomas Limoncelli, Christina Hogan, Strata Chalup

Year: 2009

Description. Limoncelli explains here the main system administration methodology. You might know how to fix social situations: speak with employer or fix co-workers issue.

7. Time Management for System Administrators


Authors: Thomas Limoncelli

Year: 2005

Description. Useful addition to another Limoncelli book described above. Don’t pay attention on year of publishing. Software technologies are changing, servers are raising their power, networks are getting faster. Does it changed configuration management principles? Not really, cause requirements are growing up too. Day still has only 24 hours. You still need to sleep 7-8 hours daily. And you have to keep an eye on tasks solution duration and don’t become mad.

8. Data Analysis with Open Source tools


Author: Philipp Janert

Year: 2010

Description. Modern society force with a huge wave of data. IT field takes responsibility to filter data flow and represent a sensitive result. Here is the good introduction to methods of data analysis. Don’t be afraid looking on detailed mathematical formulas and graphics. You need to understand it all before working with data. After reading you might have some skills to looking at data, mining data, modeling and using it!

9. Web Operations: Keeping the Data on Time


Authors: John Allspaw, Jesse Robbins

Year: 2010

Description. Basically it’s not a guide to do any kind of configuration. Here is a explanation of operations methodology and basic web operations structure. Here is the short introduction to: cloud computing, DevOps, RDBMS and noSQLand many kinds of them.

10. Python for Unix and Linux System Administration


Authors: Noah Gift, Jeremy Jones

Year: 2008

Description. If you’re not a software engineer you still need programing skill. Even if you don’t usually force with problem solution through code (although you do).Programming can refresh your mindset and help you to think literally doing some tasks. This book gives you possibility to make some code on Python and solve some tasks much more flexible. Not only bash in your skills backpack!


Personally I started to interesting professional literature about 2 years ago. And frankly I haven’t caught to read it all. But I collected this list leaning on references and Ops guru advices. Hope you won’t be disappointed reading whatever book described at this article.


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