Analytical Network and System Administration


Network and system administration usually refers to the skill of keeping computers and networks running properly. But in truth, the skill needed is that of managing complexity. This book describes the science behind these complex systems, independent of the actual operating systems they work on. It provides a theoretical approach to systems administration that: saves time in performing common system administration tasks. allows safe utilization of untrained and trained help in maintaining mission-critical systems. allows efficient and safe centralized network administration. Managing Human-Computer Networks : Will show how to make informed analyses and decisions about systems, how to diagnose faults and weaknesses Gives advice/guidance as to how to determine optimal policies for system management Includes exercises that illustrate the key points of the book The book provides a unique approach to an old problem and will become a classic for researchers and graduate students in Networking and Computer Science, as well as practicing system managers and system administrators.

Worked solutions to the problems based on the text may be found on the github link above. In such a book, there is no single way to cover the material, so my notes should only be considered one possible version.

Errata in First Edition

  • Page 29, first line. Editors have changed "Data are." into "Data is..."
  • Page 30. A copy editing change has altered a sentence in 3.6 from "computer systems are nothing if not unpredictable" to "computers are nothing but unpredictable". The latter is too strong. The former is a common form of speech in the UK, but might be confusing. It means that computer systems are strongly characterized by uncertainty.
  • Page 39: Eqn. 3.11 should say $S \equiv R = N/T$
  • Page 59, second para. should read: We need a langauage that is general enough ... but which is specific enough to make ...
  • Page 82. The "path length" referred to in the table as "10" should be "8". This represents the number of nodes that can be influenced by (or can influence) the node numbered in the left hand column, following the arrows.
  • Page 127 in (9.44) log_m should be log_2
  • Page 132, in equation 9.56, the first line is missing a term involving beta from 9.55.
  • Page 181, eqn. 12.5. Mean service time should be B/C, not A/T (paste error).
  • Figure caption on p.7 speaks of courier font, but the publisher changed this in production. Now it should read "bold font".
  • P.266, eqn 18.5, should say parallel not serial
  • P. 268, eqn 18.12: a_i should be x_i and b_j should be y_j
  • P. 268, eqn 18.13: last x_n should be y_n.
  • P. 300, First sentence of "The value for a player", "that what" -> "what" (or "that which")
  • The index seems to be mangled. Refs to Shannon and Shakespeare are compeletely wrong. perhaps more?
  • NB P. 228 Equation 15.19 is NOT missing the addition of + 1/2 from the line above. Write 1/2 as 1/2 ln(e) and combine terms.
  • P. 253 The denominator in eqn. 17.6 should read P(E|c_i)P(c_i)
  • Final chapter quotation by "Alfred North Whitbread" should of course read Alfred North Whitehead