ansible for devops

Self-publishing and the 2nd edition of Ansible for DevOps

Five years, 834 commits, and 24 major revisions later, I've just published the 2nd edition of Ansible for DevOps, a book which has now sold over 60,000 copies and spawned a popular free Ansible 101 video series on YouTube.

Ansible for DevOps, 2nd Edition - Cover

Making good on my promise to make the ebook updates free, forever, I've published a new revision of the book at least once a quarter since I published the first revision (version 0.42) on LeanPub in 2014, and the second edition begins the 2.x series of book revisions.

The book covers the basics of managing Linux servers, then dives deeper into continuous integration, application deployments, container image management, and even Kubernetes cluster management with Ansible.

My DevOps books are free in April, thanks to Device42!

Last month I announced I was going to make my books Ansible for DevOps and Ansible for Kubernetes available free on LeanPub through the end of March, so people who are in self-isolation and/or who have lost their jobs could level up their automation skills.

The response floored me—in less than two weeks, I had given away over 40,000 copies of the two books, and they jumped to the top of LeanPub's bestseller lists.

Ansible for DevOps purchases - free and paid
Purchases (over 99% with price set to 'free') of both books spiked within hours of the announcement.

You can get my DevOps books free the rest of this month

March 31st Update: Through Device42's generosity, this offer's been extended through the month of April!

The ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and bear market made me realize how beneficial it has been to be adaptable in the tech industry. There are no guarantees in life, and the ability to earn a livelihood is probably the most underrated important aspect of overall health. Most people take it for granted until they are deeply affected by it.

I can't do much to help during this crises, but I figure that I can make my two books, Ansible for DevOps and Ansible for Kubernetes, free for anyone who wants to learn a new skillset as a buffer against possible coming layoffs.

Ansible for Kubernetes, my second self-published book

Ansible for Kubernetes book cover - by Jeff Geerling

Five years ago, I set out to write a book. For a topic, I picked Ansible, since I was familiar with the software, and noticed there weren't any other books about it. I struck gold with Ansible for DevOps, and have since sold over 22,000 copies between eBook and paperback copies.

I've written about self-publishing before, and my opinion about publishing technical works is stronger than ever:

I wrote an entire article (Self-Publish, don't write for a Publisher) on the first topic. Regarding the second topic, I see writing a technical book on the same plane as building a software project:

AnsibleFest 2018 is a Wrap! Slides from my presentation and notes

AnsibleFest 2018 is in the books, and it was a great conference! I was able to attend the 'Contributors Summit' in Austin on Monday, and remotely Thursday, and I learned quite a bit! I also presented Make your Ansible playbooks maintainable, flexible, and scalable on both days of the conference. Slides from that session are available below, but you'll have to wait for the actual video to be uploaded to see the fun little gimmick I added for the live presentation ?.

Ansible for DevOps - 50% off on LeanPub for Black Friday 2017

Though I've had a little less time to work on the book lately, I'm still very much invested in keeping Ansible for DevOps the best and most up-to-date guide to using Ansible for infrastructure automation. It's been over two years since the first '100% complete' edition was released, and in that time I have published over 200 updates on LeanPub—and even have full test coverage for all the book's examples, which are open-sourced and available in the Ansible for DevOps GitHub repo!

Ansible for DevOps - 50% off for Black Friday 2017

For this year's Black Friday, I'm discounting the book—50% off—but only on LeanPub. I like to push readers to LeanPub, because:

Ansible open sources Ansible Tower with AWX

Ever since Red Hat acquired Ansible, I and many others have anticipated whether or when Ansible Tower would be open sourced. Ansible Tower is one of the nicest automation tools I've used... but since I haven't been on a project with the budget to support the Tower licensing fees, I have only used it for testing small-scale projects.

I wrote a guide for Automating your Automation with Ansible Tower, and it's both on the web and in Chapter 11 of Ansible for DevOps, and in the guide, I wrote:

For smaller teams, especially when everyone on the team is well-versed in how to use Ansible, YAML syntax, and follows security best practices with playbooks and variables files, using the CLI can be a sustainable approach... Ansible Tower provides a great mechanism for team-based Ansible usage.

Ansible for DevOps is $0.99 for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2016!

I decided to discount Ansible for DevOps on LeanPub to $0.99 for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The book has already been purchased by over 8,000 people on Amazon, LeanPub, and the iBooks Store, and is the only book available that covers the latest version of Ansible—and is continuously updated!

I've written a lot about the process of self-publishing, in case you're interested. I'm hoping to keep updating Ansible for DevOps every quarter or so indefinitely, to make it the best resource now—and as long as possible—for learning infrastructure automation!

How I test Ansible configuration on 7 different OSes with Docker

The following post is an excerpt from chapter 11 in my book Ansible for DevOps. The example used is an Ansible role that installs Java—since the role is supposed to work across CentOS 6 and 7, Fedora 24, Ubuntu 12.04, 14.04, and 16.04, and Debian 8, I use Docker to run an end-to-end functional test on each of those Linux distributions. See an example test run in Travis CI, and the Travis file that describes the build.

Note: I do the same thing currently (as of 2019), but now I'm using Molecule to tie everything together; see Testing your Ansible roles with Molecule.

Self-Publish, don't write for a Publisher

I'm not a writer. I'm a software developer who communicates well. Because I'm a developer and software architect, I spend time evaluating solutions to find the best one. There are often multiple good options, but I try to pick the best among them.

When I chose to write a book two years ago, I evaluated whether to self-publish or seek out a publisher. I spent a lot of time evaluating my options, and chose the self-publishing route.

Because I'm asked about this a lot, I decided to summarize my reasons in a blog post, both to posit why self-publishing is almost always the right option for a beginning author, and to challenge publishers to convince me I'm wrong.