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Lots and Lots of Screenshots
Given that the book is centered on Windows platforms, it should come as no surprise to find that there are a huge number of screenshots. The shots are presented in a larger format than many other books, which is a good thing, as in many of the chapters the book approaches topics from an almost tutorial perspective. Being able to clearly read the text in the screenshots is a key element in the effectiveness of this approach. This is one particular area where the book shines brightly in comparison to other storage titles, as in most cases the procedures and processes being described are the kind of things storage administrator will find themselves doing - extending mirrored volumes, removing mirrors and so on. In addition to the screenshots there are also a large number of diagrams, particularly earlier in the book where the discussion centers on fundamental storage principles and technologies.
Appendices are limited to the aforementioned reiteration of the 'Recommendations' and a table listing disk and volume states. The included 20-page glossary of storage terms is excellent, but a scan of the page leaves you wondering if the layout could not have been done a little better. Terms are close together with some wild justification that makes it a little hard to read but, to be fair, it's a minor gripe in what is an excellently laid out and organized book.
About The Author
The author, Paul Massiglia, has a style of writing could be best be described as efficient, with very little chit-chat to be found within the pages. Given what's at stake when working with server-based storage this is understandable, but it makes it kind of hard to stay interested unless you are actually working on the specific task being described. To be fair this is not the kind of book you are likely to settle into the couch with on a stormy winter eve, so the perfunctory style and formal tone is both justified and appropriate.
Massiglia is 20 year veteran of the storage industry having completed stints at DEC, IBM, Adaptec and Quantum. He is currently the Technical Director of Engineering at VERITAS and sits on the Storage Networking Industry Board of Directors. Massiglia is also the co-author of Storage Area Network Essentials, the foundation title in the same VERITAS/Wiley series on storage. His experience in all things storage comes through in the writing and adds huge value to the book. You get the impression that he has participated in many a late night data recovery project and brings that experience to the book.
The Bottom Line
List price for the book is $50, but I found a couple of online sources retailing at $40. The major booksellers were not offering a discount. Even at the list price, the book seems reasonable, particularly in comparison to some other storage titles which offer less page count and less information for the same money.Bottom line - if you are working with Windows servers and storage, then you should have this book. You could be forgiven for getting a little niggled at the discussion of VERITAS products in the book, but it's a very minor distraction in what is an excellent resource for storage administrators. Overall, Highly Available Storage for Windows Servers is a quality product that delivers the goods on a very specific topic.
Book Reviewed :
Highly Available Storage for Windows Servers
By Paul Massiglia, Published by John Wiley & Sons