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I would like to learn how to set up major production environments/servers. Some of the topics of interest would be:

  • Architecture/setup
  • Clustering
  • RAID
  • Load Balancing
  • Cacheing
  • Is there a good tell-all introduction into this topic domain? I would imagine this has a lot to do with application scaling and database/network setup.


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    closed as not constructive by Sam Jan 18 '12 at 21:14

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    up vote 3 down vote accepted

    "The Practice of Systems and Network Administration" is a fantastic book.

    As is The Linux Documentation Project.

    Ultimately, there will be more specific recommendations depending on the technology. Books, the Internet, and hands on experience go a long way.

    Oh, and I will say I'm incredibly impressed with this site. I've not seen such a high average intelligence in a generalized professional community in a long time.

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    A "tell-all introduction"? Not as such that I've ever seen.

    What you've described takes a lot of shelf space at Borders!

    What do you already know? What are you actually trying to accomplish?

    The best tutor for this is going to be experience, experience, experience: seeing others do it, observing different companies, etc.

    RAID is a simple(ish) topic. As is load-balancing. But depending on the target you have in mind, all those components are going to interface in wildly different ways.

    And what about virtualization-vs-standalone?

    What platform(s) are you using? Windows, Linux, Unix? Answers may be similar, but will definitely vary er platform.

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    I actually have nothing specific in mind. I have been reading about scaling problems on reddit, memcahed, NoSQL etc. lately and it is just such a broad topic that I want to know more about! Also I guess I am looking mostly at windows as the system I am working with could benefit from clustering/loadbalancing/cacheing I guess. – kgrad Mar 3 '10 at 19:35

    The best catch-all intro is to spend some time working on a helpdesk, preferably one that lets you get out and about meeting users and resolving back-end problems in the company of an experienced admin. It also gives you a great feel for how the back-end setup affects the end user, so that you won't enter an admin role without that key piece of knowledge.

    Yes, you can probably learn server setup in isolation, but you'll come out with a head full of theory and "best practice" but no practical idea of how everything comes together in the Real World. And at the end of the day the user is the reason why people do that job, which is an important point that nobody should ever lose sight of.

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    The best thing I ever did to learn a whole lot about servers, networking, etc... was to volunteer with an organization that desperately needs help with IT resources but would never be able to afford it. My wife works at the small private school our daughter goes to. I have been working with IT infrastructure there for ten years. We have expanded from 8 computers roughly 120. Talk about learning a lot.

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