- Paperback: 334 pages
- Publisher: O′Reilly; 1 edition (8 May 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1491915323
- ISBN-13: 978-1491915325
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,64,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ansible – Up and Running Paperback – 8 May 2015
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Description for Ansible – Up and Running
Automating Configuration Management and Deployment the Easy Way
About the Author
Lorin Hochstein is a Lead Software Engineer at SendGrid Labs where he works on developing and deploying new products designed to make developers lives easier.
Before joining SendGrid, Lorin was the Lead Architect for Cloud Services at Nimbis Services, a Computer Scientist at the University of California's Information Sciences Institute, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Once upon a time, he conducted human subject experiments with programmers, but he hardly ever does that anymore, and his books are almost certainly not part of some elaborate software engineering experiment, why would you even think such a thing?
Lorin has a B.Eng. in Computer Engineering from McGill University, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Boston University, and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Maryland.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Lorin’s book stood out for a number of reasons. Chief among them was the endorsement by Michael DeHaan, the creator of Ansible, in the form of a foreword. He implies that Lorin provides a solid perspective on working with Ansible and was one of the early adopters of the platform. Sold.
Ansible Up & Running covers much of the behind-the-scenes details on how the platform arrived into the state that it exists in today. Fireball Mode being replaced by Accelerated Mode would be one example. Additionally, much of the non-Ansible pieces – YAML construction, host naming, Amazon VPCs, and so on – make for interesting asides that offer a thirst for exploration along with use cases to stand up in a lab. The entire book is constructed upon Vagrant, resulting in a near zero investment for the reader to follow along.
I’ve enjoyed the journey to deploy a test application, Mezzanine, which begins in the fifth chapter after numerous background components are introduced, explained, explored, and pondered upon. The book is chocked full of code snipets and playbook examples, aiding the understanding of how to build out a proper environment with Ansible. There’s an entire chapter on making your Ansible deployment speedier. And an appendix that deep dives into SSH.
Attention to detail at this level is what makes Ansible Up & Running a great book. If you’re at all interested in configuration management with Ansible, or just curious how it all works, I’d suggest grabbing a copy.
As for my review: I thought this book was really well done. The writing was very clear and the examples were well explained. The author provides a great introduction to Ansible before diving into some of the modules I use most often, including EC2 and Docker. What cemented this book as deserving five stars for me is that it filled in a lot gaps that I had concerning Ansible, giving me the why to many of the things I already knew how to do, as well as providing excellent sample code that I know I will be referring to often in the future. Ultimately, I would highly recommend this book to people who are both entirely new to Ansible, and those who may have a working familiarity with the tool but would really like to round out their knowledge.
Pros: I haven't had to troubleshoot this much since I tried a Puppet VM (yuck). You'd think this would be a con, but I know several Ansible commands (and Vagrant too) like the back of my hand from having to run them so much to check. If this book would have been that easy, I probably would have forgotten them inside a month. The code is also available on Github and you can file issues (although it looks like it's been about 9 months, as of writing this, since it's been updated). I've found many of the explanations easy to understand and didn't really have to read over too much twice to understand it, so much as I wanted to make sure I remembered it. I also really like that it works with Vagrant as I was looking for a way to start using Ansible with Vagrant. It also points to some good online resources for learning more and never lets you forget about Ansible Galaxy, where you can find dozens (probably more) of playbooks at your disposal.
Cons: I think the one big con of this book is that it tries to incorporate too much into one project. The author uses a Mezzanine project as an example with TONS of moving parts (Gunicorn, Nginx, Jinja templating), which is great (see pros about troubleshooting and learning). So there were times that I was troubleshooting using the ssh-agent to get port forwarding to work for Github SSH cloning, and then troubleshooting an enormous playbook only to find that, when I went to the browser, I couldn't find my project and will now probably spend another couple of days troubleshooting what I did wrong with Nginx and Gunicorn. I've recently started writing a series of articles about Django, Vagrant and Ansible and found that maybe just starting with the Django polls app would be much easier to deploy for the first time rather than having all of the Mezzanine/Nginx/Gunicorn configuration to troubleshoot on top of learning about Ansible. That's just a suggestion, maybe someone else popped through this book without any issues. I also would have liked to see more of a community around the book. For example, there's a Google Groups email list that was started for the Obey the Testing Goat book that I could write to and engage with other users (sometimes the author writes me back too) that really helped work through some of the issues. With this book, I spend most of my time on SO and the DevOps slack chat trying to hack my way through it. Again, just a suggestion.
Overall, I would still recommend this book, it would have been good to start with a simpler project and maybe a few more book related resources.
All that said, well-written and edited, and contains excellent information.