This content is part of the Essential Guide: A look inside the DevOps movement

DevOps books are rare, but a few stand out in an expanding library

These book selections can help the development and operations staff in an IT shop learn about DevOps best practices.

It's been on the radar for some time, but DevOps is still a work in progress. If your IT shop is ready for change or if you want to find out more about the DevOps movement, these books will get you started.

Though not many books have yet been published specifically about DevOps, there are many out there to introduce operations folks to agile software development and give developers a better understanding of operations.  

Our DevOps selections
Poke the Box, Seth Godin, 2011
If you’re looking to shake things up, then make some room on your shelf for Godin’s book. The author’s call to action urges the reader to stop waiting for permission to innovate and start making things happen. Data center automation architect Robert Stinnett recommends Godin’s book, saying while it wasn’t written for DevOps, “but if a DevOps team isn't following his mantra and philosophy, I feel sorry for them.”

Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation, Jez Humble and David Farley, 2010
In the most general sense, a DevOps team consists of both development and operations people working together and following agile principles. Though ostensibly a book about automation for software delivery, it also includes discussions about building teams, which, according to Amazon reviewer Paul Duvall, fit nicely in the overall DevOps movement.

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business, David J. Anderson, Blue Hole Press, 2010
The DevOps movement has roots in agile and Scrum, both of which have been used in software development already. The kanban method of visual project management comes from a Japanese card-based system used in manufacturing and now has its foot in the door of DevOps. Where kanban shines is change management, says Rick Austin's review on GoodReads, which "provides a mechanism for understanding your flow without requiring one single change to the way you currently work."

The Visible Ops Handbook, Kevin Behr, Gene Kim and George Spafford, IT Process Institute, 2005
This classic handbook came out before DevOps was a twinkle in its daddy's eye, but it sets some attainable goals for keeping operations flowing. Found at the top of several other DevOps reading lists, The Visible Ops Handbook is, by most accounts, a practical guide to keep on your desk. The handbook is "about bringing reliability, accountability, and predictability to your operations through a commonsense based process that doesn't require heroic discipline or unrealistic political capital to implement," said Damon Edwards in his review.

Web Operations: Keeping the Data On Time, John Allspaw and Jesse Robbins, O'Reilly Media, 2010
Before you can implement a successful DevOps team, it's important to understand both software development and IT operations. "Although this book focuses on Web Operations, it is really a high-level best practices guide for any IT operations center," wrote one reviewer on

Introduction to Real ITSM, Rob England, CreateSpace, 2008
The last four books on our list are serious, in-depth and not at all entertaining, but this book takes a humorous look at traditional IT. Its author, Rob England writes: "The main threats to IT stability are change, accountability and reduced spending. Realitsm is about eliminating these threats from the IT environment." Perhaps learning what not to do is the first step to working toward DevOps harmony.

Coming attractions
There are few books with DevOps in the title, but here’s one title to look for later in 2012.

DevOps for Developers, Michael Hüttermann, Apress, Sept. 2012
Aimed at software engineers, the focus for this book includes collaboration tools and methods. DevOps for Developers hopes to teach readers to "deliver software faster, in better quality and more aligned with individual requirements and basic conditions," says the publisher, Apress.

To explore related topics, like data virtualization and IT strategy, check out the IT books recommended by SearchDataCenter's Advisory Board.

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