Traditionally there has been a mishmash of available tools, both commercial (HP Openview etc) and free and Open Source (Nagios etc) to help with this task. They can check aspects of your services to see if they are working as expected, or are down. When there is a problem they can change a Web GUI indicator, send an E-mail or take automated corrective action. The problem had been that the commercial tools were quite expensive, and out of the reach of smaller businesses. They also had limited ability to customize them, and you were of course license constrained, even in large businesses. The Free and Open source tools took lots of time and experience to configure, and support options were varied. This made some Enterprises skittish about choosing them. Zenoss is a great middle ground, there is an Open Source version that pre packages lots of the OSS tools, ready to do many tasks out of the box. There is all the extensibility that access to the source code, as well as defined APIs provides. Then there is the Enterprise version which comes with support from the developers as well as pre made plug-ins that do even more than just the Core version.
This book is a great compliment to the official documentation. It's sort of a "missing manual" to Zenoss. The book is written by a professional author, and it shows. It's laid out clearly and takes you through the GUI step by step. A user who isn't an admin could pick up this book and be understanding alerts and where to find graphs in a day. This fills an important role for just using Zenoss that the Admin and Developer guides available on the web don't. The on-line documentation often assumes you know what the jargon means or where the "Event Console" is. This book does not. I wish I'd had it before I started trying to learn the product. As a base, it makes the Admin guide much more understandable.
It's more than just a users guide though. It goes over such intricate topics as event mapping with more than just examples, it actually explains what the boxes are that you're typing into. It explains alerting and other parts step by step. It's an indispensable reference for Zenoss users and Administrators. Beginners should get this before wading into the forums or Admin guide. It will save you time.
Each chapter tackles a major section of Zenoss. It starts with the basic GUI aspect, moves on to any details needed to actually use it with your equipment. There are usually several sections where input boxes are explained, use cases discussed and examples presented. Finally there is a summary of the chapter to synthesize the entire concept for you.
The two appendixes are what Zenoss Masters want though. A short 10 pages so, they list the missing event fields used in Event mapping, and many of the variables used in the TALES expressions that are available no where else, save possibly strewn throughout 2 years of forum entries. If you are trying to move beyond the out of the box experience with Zenoss, you'll want it for just the appendix. The rest will just save your Zenoss Guru time training the end user admins.
The book isn't perfect though. Some places it is too terse. In others it could use an example in addition to just telling the reader what a box is. The book is a little short for the price, and there's a lot of places in Zenoss where more could be said. I sense a second book that goes into more development detail, more of the commands or custom data sources you can create.
That said, the book is exactly what it says it is. A step by step guide to installing and using what's there aimed at new users. It also makes a good reference book. I especially use the Event chapter, and in the second edition would like to see that expanded.
You can get more info on the book here: