Data Centers

10 books to add to your DevOps reading list

Looking to make a career move into DevOps? These books can help you get started.

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Image: iStockphoto/artisteer

The DevOps movement continues to gain popularity among US enterprises, with its promise to increase productivity by integrating IT development, operations, support, and management. DevOps—a combination of Development and Operations—is essentially a workflow centered around integration and communication between software developers and IT professionals who manage production operations. The idea grew out of the Agile methodology, and first gained traction at a conference in 2009. The workflow is now used at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

Here are 10 books for enterprise IT professionals who are interested in diving deeper into DevOps, ranging from novels to practical guidebooks.

1. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

The premise of The Goal is unusual: It's a thriller novel about industry management, and an early predictor of the DevOps movement. Goldratt and Cox's fictional 1984 work tells the story of plant manager Alex Rogo, who must improve his factory's performance in 90 days or risk closure and hundreds of layoffs. Working with a colleague, Rogo learns to think in unconventional ways to solve the factory's performance issues. Published before the term DevOps was coined, the story explains business consultant Goldratt's Theory of Constraints, which states that a manager must identify bottlenecks in a process that block performance, and work to remove them and speed up production. The novel is now used in classrooms at hundreds of universities and business schools.

2. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

By Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

Published in 2013, The Phoenix Project was inspired by The Goal: It's a work of fiction centered on Bill, an IT manager at a fictional car parts company, who must manage a critical new IT initiative code named Phoenix Project that is over budget and very late. As Alex must do in The Goal, Bill must solve the problem in 90 days, or his entire department will be outsourced. He learns that IT has a lot in common with manufacturing plant work, and figures out how to organize workflow and streamline interdepartmental communications to improve IT operations.

3. The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology

By Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, John Willis, and Jez Humble

The DevOps Handbook builds on the lessons outlined in The Phoenix Project, and acts as a practical guide for applying DevOps solutions in the enterprise. The book includes case studies from Google, Amazon, Target, Netflix, and other corporations that demonstrate how DevOps practices can improve performance. It offers IT leaders tips on how to find similar success by integrating product management, development, QA, IT operations, and information security to make your company more successful and competitive.

4. Effective DevOps: Building a Culture of Collaboration, Affinity, and Tooling at Scale

By Jennifer Davis and Katherine Daniels

Published in June, Effective DevOps is a practical guide covering a wide range of DevOps skills and theory, including an introduction to the basic concepts of the workflow. The authors provide different approaches for improving collaboration within teams, creating bonds among teams, choosing the right tools and workflows, and scaling up effective practices.

SEE: 10 steps to DevOps success in the enterprise

5. Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation

By Jez Humble and David Farley

The 2011 Jolt Excellence Award winner Continuous Delivery explain how organizations can move from idea to release rapidly and reliably. The authors set out the principles and technical practices for quickly releasing new software to users, with tips on automation, deployment, testing, and improving collaboration between developers, testers, and operations. They also introduce techniques in automated infrastructure management, data migration, and virtualization.

6. Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash

By Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck

The 2006 Implementing Lean Software Development serves as a practical follow-up to the authors' 2003 Lean Software Development, which introduced techniques to leverage "Lean" principles for delivering value rapidly. This book guides readers on how to implement Lean software development, including managing to leverage agile practices, building development teams, and driving quality through rapid feedback. It also includes case studies from software firms.

7. The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development

By Donald G. Reinertsen

In 2009's Principles of Product Development Flow, Reinertsen asserts that the dominant model for managing product development in completely wrong. He explains why invisible and unmanaged queues are the underlying root cause of poor product development performance, and offers a guide for change and increased efficiency. While Reinertsen draws from principles of lean manufacturing, he also incorporates ideas from telecommunications networks, transportation systems, computer operating systems, and military doctrine, offering practical ways to improve economic decisions, accelerate feedback, and manage flows.

SEE: DevOps: The smart person's guide

8. The DevOps 2.0 Toolkit: Automating the Continuous Deployment Pipeline with Containerized Microservices

By Viktor Farcic

The DevOps 2.0 Toolkit, published in 2016, explains different up-to-date techniques for architecting software more efficiently, with microservices acting as containers that are tested and deployed continuously to servers. Farcic also explains the microservices development and deployment lifecycle using practices and tools such as Docker, Kubernetes, Ansible, Ubuntu, Consul, etcd, and Registrator. It's meant to offer theory but also act as a hands-on guide for DevOps in an organization.

9. Leading the Transformation: Applying Agile and DevOps Principles at Scale

By Gary Gruver and Tommy Mouser

As software becomes more important across several industries, many technology executives struggle to transform legacy systems and processes to scale DevOps and Agile principles that can deliver large software projects quickly, Gruver and Mouser argue. Leading the Transformation, published in 2015, is an executive guide that offers a framework for enterprises looking to improve development and delivery, specifically targeting coordinating work across teams in large organizations.

10. Practical DevOps

By Joakim Verona

Practical DevOps, published in 2016, is a basic primer on the background of DevOps and continuous delivery, and how it impacts architecture. This book also helps readers familiarize themselves with the tools needed for DevOps efficiency, and teaches them how to design an application suitable for continuous deployment systems using DevOps practices. It also teaches readers to store and manage code effectively using different options such as Git, Gerrit, and Gitlab, and then test, deploy, and monitor the code.

Also see

About Alison DeNisco

Alison DeNisco is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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