This is the second book by Kyle Rankin that I have read and reviewed, the first being his co-authored Ubuntu Server book. From reading his articles in Linux Journal and other books, I enjoy his more direct questions and answers approach that is different from other Linux books. Instead of digging around the chapter for the command, Kyle Rankin has the steps and example clearly written, making this a very to the point guide. Reading other Linux books, I feel like I get more usable information from this book over larger volumes on the same topic.
From reading DevOps Troubleshooting, I really enjoyed this focus on troubleshooting. Kyle Rankin touched on troubleshooting in the Ubuntu Server book for a chapter, covering many issues but really only so much can be written in a chapter. Glad to see that the demand for this topic lead to a whole book on the topic, especially since troubleshooting is really an art that so many, including myself, need practice on.
The book covers the basics in the beginning about the basics of troubleshooting, how to make smart choices in testing the problem. This will give you a good base of building on your troubleshooting skills, instead of using a shotgun approach to solving problems. Also covers managing communication between teams. If you have ever worked on a critical issue, you know how dreaded it can be to "join the voice bridge", all the while working on the problem.
The chapters cover the general checks of the Linux operating system from reading performance details, using basic tools like top to find why the system is slow. Other topics also covered are boot problems, disk space issues, tracking down problems between two hosts, dns, e-mail basics, web and SQL server basics, and hardware problems. Each chapter includes details on the basics of the technology, then briefing on the tools, then how to check or validate the service is working.
While it sounds like this is a general command guide book, or a summary of man pages, the author also includes details why to use this tool or another, plus describes the path of troubleshooting. Personally, with only a few years of Linux experience I felt that I knew most of the tools mentioned, but the book really helped me use the tools in a much more efficient manner. Also Kyle Rankin describes each tool in detail to get all of the most usable information. I'll admit, I never knew what "wa" stood for in top and now it will be my top values to check on a system.
One of the key points Kyle Rankin mentions in the book is the technology known the least will often be the most blamed problem. I agree 100% on this, and this book really gives no one the excuse to blame another team since they can rule out the issue themselves. Often I've seen DNS blamed endless times for random issues that no one else could explain.
Overall, I really recommend this book to Linux users in production roles where they need to streamline their troubleshooting steps. But this book is also highly recommended for general Linux users as everyone will run into strange issues either at work or home. Personally, I found this book to help my knowledge in the subjects covered and will be sending a recommendation to my team at work to read this. I'm sure that even the more experience users will find new information from the book or at the very least, this will be a good reference book to send new users instead of explaining troubleshooting themselves.
After reading this book, I did have some suggestions, if there was a 2nd edition. While the book focuses on Linux, more so on Debian than Red Hat, I would have liked to see some details on BSD. This is not an entire deal breaker, as BSD is less popular than Linux, and often the commands are not entirely the same. Another suggestion would be more real world examples of trouble shooting a problem. For example, a step by step time line of the problem, how it was reported, solved, and post mortem on what caused the issue. This might be a good read for people new to fast troubleshooting skills and want to understand which tool fits where in the steps.
Besides these minor suggestions, the book is excellent and I'm keeping the hard copy on my desk at work for reference.