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Book Review: Web Operations: Keeping the Data On Time by John Allspaw and Jesse Robbins

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Web Operations is among the recent professional streams within IT services developed from the explosive growth of the internet. It requires a comprehensive understanding of the technologies and administration of datacenters and running of successful websites.

It is primarily based on real life experiences of the practitioners and difficult to teach thoroughly from academic texts. With the rapidly evolving technology, it may still take some time for a set of best practices to be researched and ploughed back into the academic curriculum.

For professionals and aspirants to this field, there is tremendous need for continuous learning and experience to develop credibility and right judgement. And for managing a successful web operations division within the company, aspects such as team-building, technical skills, out-of-the-box thinking, and problem solving need to be given due consideration.

Since there are barely few companies having products across the entire stack of web operations, there are no widely recognized certifications such as those in operating systems, networking, and databases.

Web Operations: Keeping the Data On Time comes is a collection of assorted articles from different authors. Each of them have something unique and interesting to tell from their experience.

My favorite read in this book is the chapter on aspects of web operations as a career that is very realistically portrayed by Theo Schlossnagle. It really makes a compelling view about this broad field.

Among the notable discussions appearing in this book are: metrics and their collection, an interview with Heather Champ about community management in Flickr, predicting and managing database growth concurrent with the website, and a dense discussion on business continuity planning.

All in all, Web Operations is a very good read for web operations professionals as well as amateurs considering this challenging field as a career. A more structured discussion on the web operations technologies could be a part of a more concentrated datacenter technologies book.

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About Ganadeva Bandyopadhyay