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Issue of October 2005 
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Storing intelligently

Building Storage Networks by Marc Farley attempts to be a two-in-one book. First, it acts as an easy-to-understand book for beginners so that they can get a comprehensive understanding of modern storage concepts. Second, it covers diverse storage management topics in detail so that CIOs/CTOs/IT heads can use the book as a reference manual.

If data is lost, no amount of computing power or sophistication helps. Even a supercomputer becomes helpless in case of data loss.

No matter how powerful and inexpensive a computer becomes, CIOs always consider information storage as a critical area. This is because it is a vital business asset, and a company has a lot to lose if it loses its data. In spite of sophistication and innovations in the field of microprocessor design and server architecture, the issue of data loss has remained relatively untouched. If the data is lost, no amount of computing power or sophistication helps. Even a upercomputer becomes helpless in case of data loss.

The book covers most of the contemporary storage network technologies in detail. It talks at length about various storage concepts such as disk partitioning, SCSI, RAID, caching, SAN, NAS, and fibre channel.

The author takes care to start each chapter with elementary information on the topic at hand. He uses simple and crisp language in the beginning to keep the reader captivated long enough to go through the chapters—never mind the hardcore technical language that comes up later.

The book, however, gets bogged down in the middle by an excess of technical detail. This may put off a new reader from trying to grasp the information in one go. That said, the sheer depth of knowledge on different aspects of networked storage is enough to keep a skilled professional interested enough to make an effort to go through the information and understand it.





Title : Building Storage Networks

Author : Marc Farley

Publisher : Tata McGraw-Hill

Price
: Rs 395

The redeeming factors of the book are the illustrations and figures. Simple illustrations with explanations and tables allow a reader to browse the book and get the needed information easily. They may refer to it again later for more detail. The author has thoughtfully provided an eight-page illustration series at the centre of the book. This series covers and explains all important topics in the book. However, the illustrations could be given vibrant colours and better graphics to make them more interesting.

A plus point of the book is the presence of summaries at the end of each chapter. They manage to cover the essence of the chapters and provide a comprehensive overview of the topic.

Divided into 17 chapters, the book takes care to answer fundamental questions about aspects such as data mirroring, data replication, network backup, storage I/O concepts, RAID and SCSI. It talks about how fibre channel and Ethernet fit into the storage network.

Finally, is the book worth the money and time you need to invest? On the pro side, the information covered in the book is comprehensible, fundamental, detailed and contemporary. On the flip side, reading the book appears to be a daunting task due to its 590-odd pages and lots of technical detail.

Nevertheless, the book succeeds in fulfilling its two-in-one role. It is strongly recommended as a reference book for CIOs.

— Kumar Dawada

 
     
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