This book brings together various key topics of CentOS server administration into one easy to read, easy to understand guide that new Administrators to Linux/CentOS will find most useful. Although a CentOS 5 installation is assumed and initial chapters do use CentOS 5 screenshots to aid understanding, I would nonetheless very much recommend the text for CentOS 6 users. The authors in many cases define the text mode configuration tool counterparts that can be used with text-based utilities such as Bash.
The first 6 or so chapters are very much focused on getting a stand-alone CentOS machine up and running. New users to CentOS should encounter little to no difficulties as the explanations are clear, easy to read with CentOS 5 screenshots to guide one successfully over topics such as Bash, Client-Host Configuration, User Management, X Window System etc. etc.. For example, the first half of User Management shows how to manage users and groups via the graphical interface while the second half shows one how to implement the exact same information via the command line ( useradd, userdel ).
The middle portion of the book, chapters 10 to 15, I found most applicable to a production environment. There is of course the mandatory material on File Sharing, Mail and DNS Servers, Security and Package Management but there are also two fabulous chapters on Open Source Databases and Web Services. They discuss how to setup, configure and use PostgreSQL and MySQL. In addition the Apache webserver, virtual host configuration and adding PHP to Apache are beautifully presented. Very, very informative I must say.
The last few chapters finish with Enterprise features and functionality. Interested in compiling your own kernel. ' All you need is patience and practice and the kernels you make will serve you well to the end ' to quote the author and believe me, you can. Linux Virtualization is also discussed and the book finishes with a short section on the CentOS rescue environment. Hopefully, I may never have to put it into practice but it's great to have the safety net of information there just in case.
All in all a superb book. Certainly, if you are beginning Linux/CentOS or perhaps are a new Administrator searching for an all-in-one beginner to intermediate guide, then this is a good purchase.