Top 5 best and highly recommended books for linux/unix system admins

by jagbir on July 4, 2011

When an aspiring Linux system admin inquired me about some good books to read on this topic, I recommended few ones. I glad he liked few books and this gives me an insight to share the list with my blog readers. It definitely a challenging task to filter out 5 books from ocean. There are too many books which looks superior to each other but for the sake of preparing the list, I’ve selected my 5 favorites. Does it mean I think others are not good? Nope. It only means given a choice at a certain point of time, few books will pop up in your mind, which you think are better and that’s how the list get prepared.

1. Linux Administration: A Beginner’s Guide
If you are familiar with Linux or Unix and want to start to dig into services, this book is a solid introduction. Though title says, this book is for beginner’s, but the author explains things well for intermediate to advance users. He has done a nice job of selecting basic tasks, and for each one lays out the commands, file locations, and basic configurations for the files. You can opt for this for basic and intermediate details about essential services of Linux/Unix. The collection of services which author explained in the book almost covers all essential working of Linux in general. Covered with good syntax highlighting and examples, the book is helpful and both beginner and intermediate users. Other books either relied on GUI utilities, or used twice as many pages going into too much detail on some sections and not enough on others. This book is just what it says, a beginner’s guide to help you get started with Linux servers and/or integrating Linux into an existing other networks like a Windows one.

2. Linux Troubleshooting for System Administrators and Power Users
Highly recommended for aspiring Sysadmins, this book provide many solutions and method overviews on how to troubleshoot recurring problems. It differs from other troubleshooting books in that it delivers solutions which help you maintain sound, smooth running system configurations within your company network and allows you to see the bigger picture. Very informative and explore technical aspects in well manner. Another aspect of the book is to explore advance topic in easy to understand manners. A delight for advance users who many times just turn pages to search for something cool. Friends who often find themselves in mid of crisis or troubleshooting, will find this piece quite helpful, interesting and insightful.

RELATED: Top 5 most useful tools/commands for Linux Admins

3. O’Reilly Linux Server Hacks
This book is for intermediate to advance users. After having overview of Linux, this book provides you some advance cool hacks related to various services. You will have complete fun while implementing such good practices. Linux Server Hacks is a collection of 100 industrial-strength hacks, providing tips and tools that solve practical problems for Linux system administrators. Every hack can be read in just a few minutes but will save hours of searching for the right answer. Some of the hacks are subtle, many of them are non-obvious, and all of them demonstrate the power and flexibility of a Linux system. You’ll find hacks devoted to tuning the Linux kernel to make your system run more efficiently, as well as using CVS or RCS to track the revision to system files. You’ll learn alternative ways to do backups, how to use system monitoring tools to track system performance and a variety of secure networking solutions. Linux Server Hacks also helps you manage large-scale Web installations running Apache, MySQL, and other open source tools that are typically part of a Linux system.

RELATED: 5 steps to secure your Linux Server

4. Linux System Administration Handbook
In Linus Torvalds words “As this book shows, Linux systems are just as functional, secure, and reliable as their proprietary counterparts. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of its thousands of developers, Linux is more ready than ever for deployment at the frontlines of the real world. The authors of this book know that terrain well, and I am happy to leave you in their most capable hands”. An essential book for avid Linux Sysadmin. Book gives deep insights into almost all of essential services/servers and explains the necessary details in easy to grasp manner. There are instances where authors in try to explain things in depth get’s elaborate and this sometimes makes text difficult to understand but who says good things are easy to understand? A good book for reader with patience.

5. Web Operations: Keeping the Data On Time
System Administration is not kind of job where you will do everything from start to end. Its kind of collaborative challenge where your efforts results best when other teams also do their best. Whether its development team, storage ops, network ops etc. This book doesn’t explain any tool/command but the best practices of collaborative efforts as how to excel in every aspect. Approaches to essential integration of teams to achieve the best. You are not going to find detailed how-to’s or pages of code samples in this book, but you will find some amazing best-practice knowledge from people who know what they are talking about. Web Operations is still a young discipline, but being armed with the knowledge and experience in this book may be the difference between a lot of sleepless nights or an infrastructure that hums along quietly. A must read book and deserve place in your library.

Are these books, I mentioned above are best in respective topic? well, frankly I do not know but few of these I’ve read personally and heard very good reviews. Do you think there’s book which fascinated you on the topic and that should be included in the list here? Inviting you to please put a comment about it below.

More related and helpful articles:
* 5 steps to secure your Linux Server
* Ensuring secure access to production Linux Servers
* Bash script to backup essential log files in Linux
* Detect directory changes in Linux
* Setup multiple MySQL servers in single host

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  • Rangan

    It’s an outstanding list and thanks for providing the information. However, I think the book ‘Your UNIX’ by Sumitabha Das is also a fine one as it helps to understand UNIX which in turn is necessary to get hold on Linux.

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