Sunday, November 20, 2005

Book Review: Performance Tuning for Linux Servers

The other month I wrote a column for Software Test and Performance magazine where I discussed Linux Performance Tuning.  Shortly thereafter I received a request to review a new book titled "Performance Tuning for Linux Servers."  After reading it, I offer the following as a summary:

"This book is "must have" for a novice to mid *nix tuner/administrator in terms of technical content and information and a "nice to have" reference book for more senior folks.  It has the highest density of information that is directly applicable to tuning Linux servers for optimal multi-user application performance of any that I have come across that present material in ways that a non-expert can directly apply.  Another positive but not-so-common thing this book does is provide the author's reference material at the end of each chapter, making it quite easy for the readers who want to know more to get the next level of detail.

On the other hand, editorially it leaves something to be desired.  The chapter introductions are often repetitive and it is obvious that each contributing author was solicited to write their section independent of the other authors.  I draw this conclusion based on how the presentation style changes section by section and how I quickly came to recognize the writing style of certain contributors as I made my way through the book.   To be honest, it reads more like a well organized collection of articles than a book. Additionally, there are enough editorial oversights/errors (misspellings, etc.) to be periodically annoying if you are reading the book cover to cover – which I don’t recommend. 

However, none of these minor criticisms keep this from being simply fantastic reference material for someone with at least some basic knowledge of Linux that has specific tasks to accomplish."

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the only compensation I received for reviewing this book was a free copy of the text – that I appreciate greatly -- which was in no way compensation enough to taint my opinion. 

Scott Barber
President & Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, & How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

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