HomeAuthor InterviewsInterview with Muhammad Umer

Interview with Muhammad Umer

Muhammad Umer is the author of Architecture and Design of the Linux Storage Stack we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Umer: When working in any environment, it is imperative to have a deep understanding of the technology that you’re working on. In my professional career, I had often faced issues while troubleshooting, where I would get stuck as I didn’t have much idea about where to start looking for the problem. Since I worked extensively on Linux systems and storage related technologies, I saw a genuine need for a comprehensive resource that would explore the intricacies of the Linux storage stack. There’s quite a lot of material which covers the storage administration side of things, but there’s very little written about the overall design of the kernel’s storage hierarchy. So, I decided to pen this book!

Q: What is the name of your book?

Umer: Architecture and Design of the Linux Storage Stack: Gain a deep understanding of the Linux storage landscape and its well-coordinated layers.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Umer: The research part was two fold; it consisted of extensive study and practical experience. Throughout my career, I’ve run into a wide array of storage related issues, which served as the foundation for exploring specific topics in greater depth during the research phase. For research, I consulted several authoritative books about the Linux kernel, the official kernel documentation, technical journals, the wide range of Linux community forums and industry-leading publications.

Q: What key takeaways do you want readers to come away with from the book?

Umer: I believe this book will give the readers a better understanding of Linux internals, equip them with the necessary knowledge and increase their general interest in the subject. Readers will be able to understand the unique role of each layer in the kernel’s storage hierarchy.

Q: Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Umer: There are a ton of online resources that can be of help to you. Personally, I frequently use tech-related subreddits on Reddit to stay updated on the latest happenings in the field of tech.

Q. Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Umer: Absolutely, writing a book is no leisurely stroll! The obvious one was time management. Writing a book while juggling other professional and personal commitments required a lot of discipline. If I took a few days off to catch my breath, It was like hitting Ctrl+Alt+Delete on the creative flow. When I would resume the writing process, I would endure several “wordless” days. But I learnt that you need to strike the right balance by breaking down the target, setting realistic deadlines and welcoming short breaks.

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Umer: Well, I’m grateful to the wonderful team at Packt. Throughout the writing process, I’ve experienced unwavering support and professionalism from them. Their transparent communication and responsiveness made this entire process seamless and enjoyable. I would definitely recommend them to aspiring authors.

Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Umer: Most resources that I’ve gone trough tend to focus on the surface level or administration side of things, but this book dives deep into the subject matter. Rather than focusing on a single aspect of Linux storage, I’ve divided the Linux storage stack into several layers and tried to explore each layer in detail.

Q. What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Umer: Linux, Storage, System Design, Containerization.

Q. What advice would you give to readers jumping into this technology? Do you have any top tips?

Umer: Absolutely! I put a lot of emphasis on the basics and foundational knowledge. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in, understanding the basics will make it easier to tackle more advanced topics later on. Stay consistent, keep yourself up to date with the latest happenings in your field, stay active in relevant communities and teach others. Teaching not only reinforces your personal understanding but also helps others.

Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Umer: The Linux storage stack exemplifies seamless coordination among its layers, but there is always a room for improvement. Historically, the advancements in storage have been oriented more towards capacity, than performance, but that is changing. I believe improvements in the way modern storage hardware is being utilized, can lead to much greater performance gains. Features like snapshots, compression, deduplication, encryption can be integrated in filesystems. Plus, improving support for containers and enabling data migration between on-premises and cloud environments can enhance the scalability of Linux based storage solutions.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Umer: I tried to set clear weekly goals to organise the writing process. Although, I wasn’t always able to follow the schedule. Juggling between professional and personal responsibilities was quite a bit of a challenge in maintaining a consistent writing momentum.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Umer: I infrequently use various online sources for reading the latest tech news, but my primary go-to source for staying informed about the latest happenings in the tech world is Reddit.

Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, mention them below.

Umer: Sure. Here you go: https://www.linkedin.com/in/muhammad-umer-65213320b/.

Q: What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Umer: When you do something consistently, it becomes a habit. So, if you want to be an author, write regularly and consistently.

You can find Umer’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Architecture and Design of the Linux Storage Stack – Available on Amazon.com