Configuration management is a fundamental piece of the modern puzzle for delivering software. Being so far behind the curve I needed to get up to speed and quickly. My current team use Puppet, so all I had to do was choose a book and start bashing my keyboard.
I’m delighted I chose John Arundel’s Puppet 3 Beginner’s Guide. In a beginner’s guide I hope for clear instructions, relevant examples and foundational knowledge so I can put the book down and start properly developing my skills.
In exceeding all of those requirements, this book, whilst fairly short, is the perfect beginner’s guide. So much so that I’ve been using puppet to provision production boxes, vagrant boxes and even my Arch Linux desktop.
Explains the Basics Well
Admittedly there is a touch of fluff in the first part that explains what configuration managements is, why it’s useful etc. Even though I know all of these things, to many people reading a beginner’s guide that’s essential information so I can totally appreciate why it’s there.
Part 2 soon rolls around after the short introduction, and immediately there are some examples for provisioning boxes. An excellent choice by the author, is to base the examples on Nginx. Who doesn’t use Nginx?
What’s really impressive is the balance between conciseness and waffle. Some books leave you wondering, others put you to sleep. This book finds the right balance - each example has just enough information to help you understand it without getting too waffly.
The examples themselves, sensibly, start off with the Puppet basics. So after reading this book you will be able to provision production systems with all the dependencies (packages), cron jobs, services and users they will need to enable your application to be running supporting real users.
Go Get It
If you’re interested in learning configuration management, or Puppet in particular, it will be hard to beat this book. It focuses on the fundamentals; the core features that will allow you to use Puppet in a meaningful way. Not only the content, by the style is top-notch. Nothing fancy, no big words, no essays - just straight to the point explanations.
Can’t recommend this book enough if you are looking to take your first steps with Puppet or configuration management.