Book Review: Mastering Puppet Second Edition

Mastering Puppet – Second Edition was a book that I looked forward to reading. After finishing this book, it is clear that Thomas Uphill is not only experienced but a highly skilled professional in this field . Reading this book reminded me of 15 years ago when I began my IT career as a budding system administrator and I would read through the shell history of more experienced professionals to gain valuable insight and powerful command knowledge.

I enjoyed the flow of topics that began with chapter 1 on load and scale through chapter 10 on debugging and troubleshooting. While I was, at first, uncertain as to why load and scale were the first topic, it later made sense as making those decisions early on would have a huge impact on deployment considerations later on. This is, after all, “Mastering Puppet”, not an introductory book. The book continues through node organization, (roles and profiles come later on), source control, modules, and custom facts, modules, and types, with reporting thrown in on chapter 7.

There was some confusion, on my part, in chapter 5 when Thomas presented the reader with an error and failed to explain it before starting the next section which then covered how to resolve the error. My expectation was that it would be resolved before moving on but it worked out in the end (duplicate package declaration).

I appreciated the inclusion of SELinux, filesystem ACLs, and security as integral topics as the role of the security professional should, in my opinion, be upon all of us professionals and not an isolated profession.

While I can easily recommend this book, I must admit some reservations. I feel that for a book that might cost $30-50 to purchase, the quality of the formatting and review should have been better, especially for a second edition book. There are blank pages between some chapters and not others, there are capitalization errors, missing spaces, screen shots on some output, text output on others, in a somewhat inconsistent manner. There are also some screen shots in the LVM section that completely omit the relevant portion of the screen shot (/dev/sdb). (I am reviewing the ebook formatted version.)

Thomas, thank you for the good read. I look forward to seeing the formatting issues addressed in a future version.

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