REVIEW

Python for Unix and Linux System Administration

November 12, 2008
Ganadeva Bandyopadhyay

In addition to a very noticeable acknowledgments section, here is a book for system administrators trying out a new language to reduce their difficult and sometimes repetitive tasks. In fourteen chapters the authors have tried to do a commendable job for presenting Python as a language that could be used with little bit of learning.

 

Among the system administration tasks that are tackled via Python in this book, there are chapters dedicated to documentation and reporting, networking, handling data, SNMP, package management and building GUI s among others. One of the important additional tasks i.e. backup and restore seems to have not got the attention it deserves from the system administration perspective. This is true in spite of the newer scenarios where there is separate role of storage administrator as a specialist within system administration is coming up in most organizations and setup handling the massive growth in data storage and maintenance requirements.

 

While the examples presented are useful, there are some variations that could have made the book a more useful read. For example, in the example 5-9 about connecting to an SSH server and remotely executing a command, the password seems to be required in clear text. One variation could be an answer to the question “Would it be possible to use encrypted password so the script can be read and run by any less privileged user?” Another thing about the discussions is a frequent reference to books for further reading within the text. While it is a good idea, sometimes the list of books of further reading could have been given at the end of each chapter.

 

All in all, the book is giving a clear idea for using Python as a tool for system administration. Further reading and experimentation is definitely recommended to the readers after going through this book. Absence of major discussion on backup and recovery scripting is a big gap within the book of this nature.

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Python for Unix and Linux System Administration

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Author: Ganadeva Bandyopadhyay

 

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