Principles of Network and System Administration, 2nd Edition
February 2004, ©2004
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A great deal of attention is paid to the heuristics of system and network administration; technical and sociological issues are taken into account equally and are presented thoughtfully with an eye to teaching not what to do as a system or network administrator, but how to think about problems that arise in practice. As a result, the author keeps the reader looking forward to what comes next and how to implement what he or she has learned.
The focus is on strategic issues, how to keep systems maintainable and how to manage configuration files across an enterprise. During the 80s and most of the 90s the frontiers of system administration were about understanding what the job entailed and building tools in order to manage networks more efficiently. The next phase is about standardization of management and practice, making system administration more formal and less ad hoc, and Burgess' book is one of the first to begin to push into this area.