Top 3 DevOps Books for 2019

Dan Holloran March 11, 2019

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A dedication to continuous improvement is one of the core principles of DevOps. Keeping up-to-date on the latest technologies and practices in DevOps will help you build more efficient teams and maintain more reliable services. And, what better way is there to educate yourself and stay tuned into the latest DevOps news than by reading top-notch books? You may have already read some of these top DevOps books but there may also be a few in here that you haven’t yet had a chance to review.

Let’s look at three of the best DevOps books to read in 2019:

The 3 Top DevOps Books to Read for 2019

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

  • Author(s): Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford
  • Published: January 10, 2013
  • Quick Summary: An entertaining story about a fictional company, Parts Unlimited, implementing DevOps and taking on the continuous delivery of reliable services.

Although The Phoenix Project just turned five years old, it’s still one of the top DevOps books to read. Not only is the story fascinating and unique but it’s a detailed, end-to-end walkthrough for DevOps implementation. Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford create a fictional scenario (although very realistic to many IT operations professionals) about a company, Parts Unlimited, and an IT manager, Bill, who need to undergo a major transformation in a short period of time.

Even though the story is fake, the book offers valuable real-world insights for quickly transforming IT operations and leveraging DevOps to drive operational efficiency and business value. The Phoenix Project offers high stakes for the main character – if the transformation isn’t successful, his entire department will be outsourced. The Phoenix Project is an excellent way to digest complex DevOps subject matter in a fun, easy-to-read way.

(Side note: For a deeper analysis, you can check out our previous book review for The Phoenix Project here.)

The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organization

  • Author(s): Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois and John Willis
  • Published: October 6, 2016
  • Quick Summary: A go-to guide for DevOps beginners and pros – from implementation to optimization.

Guide yourself step-by-step through all levels of the DevOps journey with The DevOps Handbook. Written by Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, John Willis, and Jez Humble, and a foreword from John Allspaw – all well-known authorities in the DevOps space – you’ll see how high-performing software engineering and IT teams are using DevOps to deploy reliable code thousands of times per day.

As applications and services become more complex and interconnected, coupled with increased development speed, IT failures and security breaches become more common. DevOps allows teams to not only build systems quickly and reliably – but allows teams to recover faster from disaster. The DevOps Handbook guides beginners taking on software development and IT transformation while also offering helpful tips to DevOps veterans.

The DevOps Handbook is an excellent, detailed follow-up to The Phoenix Project. While The Phoenix Project is an entertaining read about a fictional IT scenario and the implementation of DevOps, The DevOps Handbook dives a little deeper to examine the practices and lessons learned from real companies using DevOps today. In this book, you’ll see the incredible outcomes of top-notch DevOps teams at companies such as Netflix, Google and Amazon so you can drive efficiency and reliability in your own teams and systems.

The DevOps Adoption Playbook: A Guide to Adopting DevOps in a Multi-Speed IT Enterprise

  • Author(s): Sanjeev Sharma
  • Published: February 28, 2017
  • Quick Summary: A guide to adopting DevOps across any organization, no matter how the IT or software development teams are set up.

Because no two teams are alike, DevOps will take many forms. The DevOps Adoption Playbook will help IT operations and software engineering teams understand the core values of DevOps and understand how they can implement them across any team. The author, Sanjeev Sharma, is the head of DevOps practices across all of IBM and the book won the DevOps 2017 Book of the Year award.

The DevOps Adoption Playbook breaks down a number of common DevOps fallacies and shows how DevOps can drive speed and reliability for both startups and large enterprises. While the specific implementation may differ for small companies vs. larger enterprises, the underlying value from DevOps adoption can’t be denied. Sanjeev’s book is a must-read for CIO’s, CTO’s, IT managers and anyone else looking to leverage DevOps at the enterprise level.

Whether your team is currently operating a large monolithic architecture or you’re already taking advantage of multi-cloud infrastructure, containerized applications and microservices, The DevOps Adoption Playbook is a top DevOps book for 2019. No matter how you’re building and maintaining your services – whether they’re on AWS, Kubernetes, Docker, on-premises or all of the above – every engineering and IT team should be leveraging DevOps to improve the speed, reliability and security of their applications and infrastructure.

Runner-Ups for Top DevOps Books

While the three books above made our list for the top DevOps books for 2019, there are still a number of other great reads that barely missed out. If you’ve already finished the books listed above and find yourself craving some more great books, check out these 5 books as well:

DevOps in Incident Management

The Digital Quality Handbook: Guide for Achieving Continuous Quality in a DevOps Reality

  • Author(s): Eran Kinsbruner
  • Published: April 28, 2017
  • Quick Summary: The Digital Quality Handbook is a thorough overview of problems in the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) and solutions for maintaining a pipeline of continuous integration and continuous delivery. Eran covers everything you need to know in order to build an agile software development pipeline and overcome open source framework limitations. You’ll find ways to proactively test the reliability of your services and maintain a rapid cadence of development and deployment.

Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

  • Author(s): Betsy Beyer, Chris Jones, Jennifer Petoff and Niall Murphy
  • Published: 2016
  • Quick Summary: This is the industry standard book for understanding the implementation and value of SRE practices. See how SRE differs from traditional IT operations and how it fits into the current DevOps movement. From adoption to the management of SRE teams and SRE-maintained systems, Google’s SRE eBook is a top book to check out in 2019.

O’Reilly eBook – Distributed Systems Observability: A Guide to Building Robust Systems

  • Author(s): Cindy Sridharan
  • Published: May 11, 2018
  • Quick Summary: The title is pretty self-explanatory for this one. DevOps teams need to build observability into their architecture in order to continuously deliver new, reliable software. Cindy walks the reader through actionable ways for anyone to add deep observability to highly distributed systems while maintaining development speed and service reliability. Distributed Systems Observability is more like an eBook or guide – offering readers a quick-read with a lot of value.

Leading the Transformation: Applying Agile and DevOps Principles at Scale

  • Author(s): Gary Gruver and Tommy Mouser
  • Published: August 1, 2015
  • Quick Summary: Most DevOps books are written for software engineers and IT professionals practicing the principles every day. But, this is a great read for many key decision makers and IT managers who need to understand why and how to implement DevOps. Leading the Transformation is especially helpful to high-growth businesses or large enterprises who need to understand how DevOps can scale to help their teams.

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations

  • Author(s): Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble and Gene Kim
  • Published: March 27, 2018
  • Quick Summary: Written by many familiar faces listed above, Accelerate, is a highly data-driven book to help DevOps teams measure the performance of software delivery. This book is designed for the highly analytical reader looking to show exactly how DevOps is improving operational efficiency. By pulling data from the State of DevOps reports from Puppet, Nicole, Jez and Gene show exactly how DevOps should be used to drive business value and speed up software delivery without sacrificing reliability or speed.

Continuously Improving with DevOps

A passion for continuous improvement is at the core of every DevOps team – no matter where or how DevOps is being used. By reading these top DevOps books, you’ll broaden your mind and you’ll find ideas that could apply to your team. Learning about the different ways in which DevOps manifests itself can help you improve the collaboration and visibility between IT teams and developers. And, with improved collaboration and transparency, your team will maintain a more reliable, agile software delivery pipeline.

Clearly, DevOps contributes to the agility and reliability of software development and delivery – but it can also improve the efficiency of on-call incident management. Download our free eBook, Why DevOps Matters, to learn about leveraging DevOps collaboration and visibility in your own incident management workflows.

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