Top positive review
Excellent whitepaper, weak book
Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2008
Visible Ops contains some good - though oft repeated - insight and information regarding ITIL and infrastructure support by consultants who have obviously spent some time in the trenches. Its premise is based on Gartner research stating that 80% of unplanned downtime is caused by people and process issues and 80% of the time spent in resolving downtime is unproductive and there are systems administration principles and activities that can mitigate. The problem with Visible Ops is that the volume of content warrants a whitepaper, yet the authors seemingly add filler to justify the $22 sales price.
The authors are one of the first to offer in print some solutions for infrastructure support that validate what IT infrastructure managers have been doing for years. The ideas of rebuild v. repair, "source control" of infrastructure builds, repeatable infrastructure build processes are right on. Yet instead of case studies and further exploration, we get multiple pages of testimonials, a forward, an introduction, a multiple-page TOC, a mere 40 pages of content which include repetition, constant summarization, and more testimonials, and 30 pages of appendices of largely copyrighted and incomplete material. As a final insult, there are ads on the front and back covers. At least one of the authors sells tools to remedy some of the problems mentioned in "Visible Ops" and it seems he is hedging his bets by charging for materials that should be marketing and product literature.
Why not give more detailed examples and case studies, expound on the CMDB, give some ideas on organizing builds or address other ITIL areas? This is *great* stuff here, but I feel like it has been cheapened. Regardless, I recommend "Visible Ops" because it addresses common and significant problems and solutions that are rarely addressed elsewhere.