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75 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare book that fully serves beginners & expreienced pros
This book is for two audiences: (1)Those who need a quick course in IT architectures in general and e-commerce architectures in particular, and (2)experienced IT architects who want to further their professional knowledge. I know this sounds like a near-impossible order for a 296 page book, but the author manages to pull off the near impossible.
My background...
Published on February 4, 2001 by Mike Tarrani

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A light lunch that left me hungry for more
To me, the book seems like a skeletal outline with emaciated meat on its bones. The pace is relatively quick. The style is conversational without being precious. The author occasionally does put forth some of his preferences for general architectural decisions, but there is no blatant favoritism toward one side of specific decisions like EJB vs .NET.
Occasionally in...
Published on June 3, 2001 by Robert Hoeppner


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75 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare book that fully serves beginners & expreienced pros, February 4, 2001
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This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
This book is for two audiences: (1)Those who need a quick course in IT architectures in general and e-commerce architectures in particular, and (2)experienced IT architects who want to further their professional knowledge. I know this sounds like a near-impossible order for a 296 page book, but the author manages to pull off the near impossible.
My background encompasses both architectures and middleware, among other disciplines. By the time I had read 15 pages I was marveling at how well the author described complex concepts. My first thought was this book is one I would recommend to less experienced analysts and architects to kick-start their knowledge. By page 40 I was enlightened--and profoundly so--on the strengths and weaknesses of transaction process monitors vs. message queueing. I thought I knew a thing or two about these subjects based on my extensive experience with Bea's Tuxedo and more recent experience with IBM's MQSeries. After reading the brief but extremely well articulated section in the book I felt as though I really understood both approaches for the first time!
The rest of the book is a fast tour of object technology, architectures, database management and transaction management. It contains one gem of insight or knowledge after the other. While technical books are not usually "page turners" this one certainly is (that, or I seriously need to get a life). Even the short section on organizational and project management context contained great information.
To summarize: This book is well suited for both beginners and experienced professionals. The author covers a lot of ground in such a manner that the beginner can comprehend the complexities of IT architectures and the proper application of middleware. The experienced practitioner will find one thought provoking fact or insight after another that they may not have considered. The author has both wide and deep knowledge on a number of topics. He also has, in my opinion, one of the keenest minds in the industry. I hope he takes the time to write more books because I believe he made a significant contribution to the body of IT architecture knowledge with this book.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An influential book abut the real problems of big systems, February 15, 2002
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
This is one of those influential books which may make you start to think about problems in a different way. 
A lot of books about architecture concentrate on simple examples and small-scale problems, and you get the feeling that's all the authors know about. Many books which do address large systems assume that you are building on a greenfield site, or can somehow ignore the legacies if you are adopting more modern tools for your new systems.
By contrast this is a book about the reality of mixed legacy and new technology environments, written by someone who clearly has real experience of large server farms, big databases, high transaction rates and, perhaps most importantly, important legacy systems with hundreds of thousands of lines of code written in COBOL . 
The book starts by discussing typical problems - things like adding new e-Business presentation layers to existing transactional legacy systems, and briefly summarises how a combination of good architectural practices and appropriate technologies can address them.
The following chapters present a brief history of large system architectures, including transaction monitors, message queuing and client-server approaches before moving on to object middleware with a discussion on CORBA, Enterprise Java and COM and its relatives. This is followed by a more detailed discussion of how different parts of systems can communicate, and how middleware can be classified. A great strength of the book throughout is that Tony is not obviously partial in the Java vs. Microsoft debate, and instead concentrates on their similarities and on strategies which should be able to work in both cases.
The core of the book starts with a discussion on the different types of "transaction" between a system and its clients (users and other systems), and how these relate to business processes. The following chapters then look at three key issues within this context: resilience; performance and scalability; and security and systems management. In each case there is a clear statement of the problems and objectives, followed by an assessment of the relative merits of various possible architectural solutions.
The final part of the book presents a process which should lead to system architectures better able to meet their non-functional requirements. Tony believes the core of the process is development of a good business process model, which then leads quite directly to an understanding of the system's components and their interactions. There's some very good advice on practical implementation approaches, and why process modelling gives better results than traditional functional analysis.
The final chapters also address key issues such as how to ensure data integrity and accessibility, and how to manage change through integration and designing for flexibility, before revisiting the process issues and summarising how the architecture should develop.
Published in 2000, this pre-dates Microsoft's .NET initiative, the emergence of vendor-neutral messaging standards and the real advent of web services. Each of these will have a major impact on the sort of systems and issues discussed in this book, and you may therefore also need to read some material more focused on these technologies and others, but that shouldn't detract from this book's value.
Overall this is an excellent book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone trying to understand the nature of large, integrated systems and their architecture.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A light lunch that left me hungry for more, June 3, 2001
By 
Robert Hoeppner (Southwick, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
To me, the book seems like a skeletal outline with emaciated meat on its bones. The pace is relatively quick. The style is conversational without being precious. The author occasionally does put forth some of his preferences for general architectural decisions, but there is no blatant favoritism toward one side of specific decisions like EJB vs .NET.
Occasionally in the earlier part of the book something would be mentioned as being more fully treated in the latter part of the book. And, in the latter part of the book, occasionally things would be mentioned as having been treated earlier in the book. Meanwhile, the pace went from topic to topic so quickly and concisely that I felt vaguely dissatisfied with the depth of coverage.
I can't say I had any moments of "aha! that's a good idea I never thought of before!" It all pretty much made sense, and it all pretty much contained what I've already been exposed to during ten years of software development. This might make for a good introduction for someone who hasn't thought much about architectural issues. It also might serve as a good quick review for someone returning to these issues after a prolonged absence. But, if you think you've already got a sense of the issues involved, you might get more out of books which go into more depth.
This is a good overview text. If you're past the point of needing introduction or review, you might not be fully satisfied. I would probably read other books by this author if they savored the issues in more depth.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overview that clearly defines middleware, December 15, 2001
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
The value of this book can be distilled into a succinct sentence: it describes middleware and how it's used as an architectural foundation, and provides guidance for when to use transaction-oriented and message-oriented solutions. While this sounds simplistic, consider how architects go about designing systems. They think in terms of their background and experience. An architect who comes from a data-intensive environment is apt to use a transaction monitor as a component of a solution instead of a message queuing manager that may be more appropriate. This book provides architects with a high-level view of middleware and how to select the most appropiate solution for a given design problem.
What I especially like about the book is the clear writing and well designed illustrations that combine to convey basic concepts and subtle nuances of transaction- and message-oriented middleware. If you are seeking low-level details necessary for the detailed design or build phases of a project this book will disappoint. However, if you are seeking clear and unbiased information on the strengths and weaknesses of various middleware solutions and how they serve as the foundation of distributed systems this book will almost certainly give you insights and knowledge that you can immediately put to use.
This book is a perfect complement to B2B Application Integration by David S. Linthicum, which goes into additional technical detail and covers broader issues of architecture with respect to heterogenous [legacy] system integration. Regardless of your technical environment, however, IT Architectures and Middleware is worthwhile for new and seasoned architects and IT managers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for sytems managers, November 16, 2001
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This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
In this book the author provides solid, pragmatic approaches to tackling the complexity of IT environments today. He shows how an architectural framework enables more rapid and cost effective implementation and integration of new systems and technologies whilst minimising risk. By following Britton's guidelines, any systems manager can be assured of greater success in adapting to the ever changing IT landscape. In addition to valuable advice, this book is also easy to read! I whole-heartedly recommend it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars experience-based principles = pattern-oriented reality, January 1, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
~pattern-oriented architecture is pretty recent, and has its academic origin. The upside of it is that it is cutting edge and systematic. However, although you can verify it from your own experience -- if you have many years experiences like me :-) -- but deep in your heart, you just cannot help wandering how solid those patterns are -- you need some real life backup. This book provides that. It does not mention "pattern oriented architecture", but its "principles" are exactly that, and~~ you can FEEL it that those "principles" are from many years REAL-LIFE experiences.
This is definitely the best, besides the POSA book, of course.
It is so concise and thin, every sentence worth thinking. It is a must for every good techie or modeler. On the other hand, if you cannot understand it, or, cannot appreciate it -- does not matter whether you are a techie or modeler -- you are definitely not qualified!
Take the challenge, and buy it!~
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Review on Middleware, April 26, 2001
By 
Chuck (AsiaPacific (HK)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
In short the first five chapters provide a good overview of the middleware developement and its eveolution process, outlining its O-O precursors, and development of its standards environment. Apart from that, the proceeding chapters focus too much on the business anaysis, and does not go into the nuts and bolts of Middleware inetgratiion issues or case studies. In short dissappointing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise overview of middleware technology alternatives, April 27, 2001
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
IT Architecture And Middleware: Strategies For Building Large, Integrated Systems, presents the essential principles and priorities of system design, emphasizing the new requirements brought about by the rise of e-commerce and distributed, integrated systems. IT professional Christ Britton offers a concise overview of middleware technology alternatives and distributed systems as he covers such topics as information access requirements and data consistency, creation of a new presentation layer for existing applications, application integration, and component architectures. Carl Britton's IT Architecture And Middleware is a highly recommended addition to the growing body of information technology literature and IT architecture reference collections.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yesterday, today and tomorrow of middleware - a must read!!, March 24, 2004
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
An excellent coverage of what's, why's and how's of middleware technologies.
The book gives an interesting perspective into the growth of middleware solutions with special focus on enterprise systems architecture and distributed technologies. The long journey that begins with TP monitors and primitive "transaction machines" covers a great deal of ground outlining the need-driven evolution of various middleware alternatives and ends with the discussion of latest - the EJB, .NET and CORBA. There is a special emphasis on the changing landscape brought about by the rise of eCommerce and the need to manage large-scale enterprise systems.
I love the way author drives home some very complex concepts. This book can serve as an indispensable resource both for beginners and experienced professionals. While the novice can easily comprehend intricacies of IT architecture, experienced architects will find a lot of food for throughout and new insights into many issues. I personally had many "ah, what a brilliant idea" moments. You will find many useful and perhaps unconventional solutions to practical problems. It can even help an IT manager to understand the real middleware and IT architecture issues and to make intelligent decisions without having to get deep into technical waters.
Overall, this book is a must have and deserves 10 horseshoes. [...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview, February 12, 2003
This review is from: IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Paperback)
Working in my little niche of IT (database administration), I found it hard to see the larger picture of how IT fits into the business as a whole, and how to put our own IT setup into context.
I found this book extremely useful in describing the various parts of an enterprise IT architecture and some of the trades and balances involved in any technical solution. I particularly liked the fact that the author appeared to be writing "from the coal-face", as it were, as opposed to presenting an academic treatise.
My only caveat would be that the discussion covers a lot of complex areas and, while there are isolated real-life scenarios where appropriate, I would have liked more extended real-life case studies. I appreciate though that the author didn't want to chop down a rainforest to produce the book.
Overall I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who works in IT, and would even argue it would make enlightening reading for non-IT managers (although the technical stuff might well scare them off!). My congratulations to the author.
Mark
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IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems
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