Visible Ops - Short Review

When it comes to system administration, the system part can refer to the paperwork, processes and procedures as much as actual machines. Among the modern admins worries are such evil beasties as section 404 of Sarbanes Oxley, the data protection act, log retention for the lovely police state powers of our government and, in some industries, ISO17799, BS15000 and other similar standards. One of the topics I’ve been interested in recently is the ITIL approach.

The initial hurdle was actually finding out where to start, and so for my first step I picked up (well, my employer bought) Visible Ops. This slim volume (98 pages) packs a lot of common sense. Most of the points it raises, including - the need for change control, inventory management, measuring and that your staff should look at what happened recently before they start tweaking things in an attempt to stumble across a fix - are all insights that most admins pick up over time. But to have them written down in one place, and in such an accessible style, is a great asset.

Although I’m not sure how useful this book will be on my ITIL road trip (I’ve got the BS15000 standards to read next) I can happily recommend it to everyone running an IT department who feels that things are slipping or that too much time is spent fighting fires. And let’s be honest, 98 pages is about all we’ve got time to read these days :)

Score: 4/5