Book Review: Mastering Docker and Monitoring Docker

Mastering DockerThe films on my flight to the US this week weren’t much to write home about so I ploughed through some of my Safari Queue backlog. Two of the Docker related books on my queue were from Packt Publishing.

The first was Mastering Docker by Scott Gallagher which I’ll confess that I only skim read. Parts of the book were already showing their age even though it was only published in December 2015 but that’s inevitable in such a fast-moving area. More problematic was that I found myself disagreeing with the author so much in just the first couple of chapters that I couldn’t believe anything I read after that. By way of just one example: the author asserts that commands are chained together in Dockerfiles to speed build times and seems to suggest that items added in one layer may be removed in another to keep the image size down. The structure of the book is also poor with material repeated throughout. It certainly doesn’t contain the depth to provide mastery in anything!

Monitoring DockerThe second book from the same stable was Monitoring Docker by Russ McKendrick. Maybe it’s just because this is an area that I know less about but I got on better with this book. It covers use of the Docker API (top, stats and logs), cAdvisor and aggregation with Prometheus. The author covers Zabbix in some detail which, I must confess, is a tool that I’d never even heard of, before a gushing endorsement for Sysdig. The book provides an overview of SaaS options (Sysdig Cloud, Datadog and New Relic) before closing with a detailed walk-through of setting up a containerized ELK stack for log aggregation. There are certainly options that the book didn’t cover but I felt it provided good coverage of the considerations to allow the reader to make informed decisions about what they should look for in a monitoring solution.

I also took a look at the early release of Kelsey Hightower’s Kubernetes: Up and Running from O’Reilly. It shows promise but, as it’s not due for release until October, there wasn’t enough content there yet to give a review.

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