The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

October 24th, 2016

phoenixproject The Phoenix Project is a tech novel. Yes, a fictional novel about an IT manager in a technology company, fixing the way IT works and saving the day.

Bill is an IT manager at Parts Unlimited. It’s Tuesday morning and on his drive into the office, Bill gets a call from the CEO.

The company’s new IT initiative, code named Phoenix Project, is critical to the future of Parts Unlimited, but the project is massively over budget and very late. The CEO wants Bill to report directly to him and fix the mess in ninety days or else Bill’s entire department will be outsourced.

With the help of a prospective board member and his mysterious philosophy of The Three Ways, Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. With the clock ticking, Bill must organize work flow streamline interdepartmental communications, and effectively serve the other business functions at Parts Unlimited.

In a fast-paced and entertaining style, three luminaries of the DevOps movement deliver a story that anyone who works in IT will recognize.

I never had imagine there would be any fictional novel about IT. When I was recommended to this book, what I had in mind was some technical books like The Project Management Tool Kit – Tom Kendrick.
When I eventually got told that this is a novel, it intrigued me even more, and let me assure you that it is as interesting as watching a hacker movie.

While it doesn’t goes into details about technologies, gave the typical bad impression about developers and the glory of its Operations/Support manager (the protagonist – Bill), it had a good storyline of a wrecked company because of its mismanagement of IT department and how it went through a major revamp with emphasis on DevOps.

In a nutshell, I had higher expectations of this book especially about DevOps being the buzzword in recent years. However, I think in general it is good for managers or senior management who would like to learn how IT can be run better in an agile/Kanban/Toyota Way to deliver results. It highlights concepts for you to delve deeper if it makes sense for your organization and would definitely give traditional waterfall way of software development another fresh start.

Books, Technology

Redis in Action by Josiah L. Carlson

July 27th, 2015

Redis in Action has at least 270 pages of content, about 4 times the Redis Cookbook. It was published June 28, 2013 – 2 years later than the Redis Cookbook, so it is well equipped with better content.

The Author
Dr. Josiah L Carlson is well known as an active and helpful contributor on the Redis mailing list.
He has given talks about real-world uses of Redis, including building a self-service ad network, prioritizing task queues, web spiders, a Twitter analytics platform, real-time search engines, and more.
Josiah has worked for Google and is now the VP Technology of OpenMail.

Intro to Redis

Redis is an open source, BSD licensed, advanced key-value cache and store. It is often referred to as a data structure server since keys can contain strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets, bitmaps and hyperloglogs.

You can run atomic operations on these types, like appending to a string; incrementing the value in a hash; pushing an element to a list; computing set intersection, union and difference; or getting the member with highest ranking in a sorted set.

Part 1 Getting started
1 Getting to know Redis
2 Anatomy of a Redis web application

Part 2 Core concepts
3 Commands in Redis
4 Keeping data safe and ensuring performance
5 Using Redis for application support
6 Application components in Redis
7 Search-based applications
8 Building a simple social network

3 Next steps
9 Reducing memory use
10 Scaling Redis
11 Scripting Redis with Lua

About The Book
As compared to the other Redis book that I reviewed earlier, this is definitely the better one.
While Part 1 chapters are meant as introduction, it has example for web application usage.
Part 2 Core Concepts are really the important chapters on how to use Redis, its data types, persistence options, replication and many more.
Part 3 of the book discusses about performance tuning such as reducing memory usage, scaling higher read and write as well as Lua scripting.

As a Redis reference book, I think Redis in Action does the job pretty well.
One thing that I think can be improved would be to add the various available options for Redis clients.
In fact, for a book published only 2 years ago, it would have helped with some revisit, especially now that Redis Cluster is available, I think an update to Part 3 of the book is warranted.

Books, Review, Software , ,

Redis Cookbook by Tiago Macedo, Fred Oliveira

July 20th, 2015

redis_cookbook  What is Redis?

Redis is an open source, BSD licensed, advanced key-value cache and store. It is often referred to as a data structure server since keys can contain strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets, bitmaps and hyperloglogs.

So say it’s official website:

I would call it an ‘in-memory/cache database” software.

While researching the available options for in-memory database, Redis seems to be the most popular, although not the newest.

This book has been published since August 6, 2011 and now in July 2015 there is no 2nd edition or any revisit of its 1st edition yet.

The Authors

Tiago Macedo is an Infrastructure Lead at 3scale Networks ( and has been working with Redis for more than a year. Macedo uses Redis as a high-performance storage engine for analytics data and used it as a temporary cache for contact syncing while working at Soocial (

Fred Oliveira is an entrepreneur and designer. After living in Silicon Valley to work with Techcrunch and Edgeio, Fred started Webreakstuff (a design, development and strategy consultancy) to provide services to companies and individuals. Fred is co-founder of the Web 2.0 Workgroup with Michael Arrington of Techcrunch and Richard MacManus of Read/WriteWeb and a 2005 Google Summer of Code alumni. He is an early technology adopter and frequently blogs and speaks at conferences about technology, the role of design, and innovation.



1. An Introduction to Redis
When to use Redis
Installing Redis
Using Redis Data Types
2. Clients
Using Redis from the Command Line
Using Redis from Python with redis-py
Using Redis from Ruby with redis-rb
Using Redis with Ruby on Rails
3. Leveraging Redis
Using Redis as a Key/Value Store
Inspecting Your Data
Implementing OAuth on Top of Redis
Using Redis’s Pub/Sub Functionality to Create a Chat System
Implementing an Inverted-Index Text Search with Redis
Analytics and Time-Based Data
Implementing a Job Queue with Redis
Extending Redis
4. Redis Administration and Maintenance
Configuring Persistence
Starting a Redis Slave
Handling a Dataset Larger Than Memory
Upgrading Redis
Backing up Redis
Sharding Redis


About The Book

Redis Cookbook is one of the earliest book for Redis and with only about 54 pages of content, one does not need to have much expectation from it.

In fact, Redis is popular because it is easy to use and as a caching tool, there simply isn’t much else it is supposed to do other than being able to cache fast, scales, and persistent. The official website does cover most of it with manuals and documentation.

However, if browsing the website still does not give you a better idea, then this book is essentially what you will need.

It explains in simple terms all the basic use-cases in four main chapters and it is able to lay down those use-cases which I think are most likely used.

There are now many Redis clients available but this book only covers the command line client, Python, Ruby and Ruby on Rails in summary mode. Of course it doesn’t make sense to cover all the clients in the book while they are being added, but this goes to show how dated this book is.


I think this book can pass as “another Redis book I have” if you need one simply as the most basic book of Redis in summary.

I cannot deny however, that the use cases are really beneficial to understand why such features are there instead of just knowing how to use it or getting it done.

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