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Blueprints for High Availability 2nd Edition
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From the Back Cover
Expert techniques for designing your system to achieve maximum availability and predictable downtime
With your companys reputation and profits at stake, downtime on your 24/7 web site is not an option, nor is poor application performance. Now in its second edition, this authoritative book provides you with the design blueprints to maximize your system availability.
Striking a balance between costs and benefits, the authors show you all of the elements of your computer system that can failas well as ways to assess their reliability and attain resiliency and high availability for each one. A unique feature is "Tales from the Field," a collection of true-to-life experiences that will help you avoid mistakes and deploy your system with confidence.
Learn how to design your system to limit the impact of such problems as computer viruses, natural disasters, or the corruption of critical files and discover how to:
- Implement effective backup-and-restore and tape management strategies
- Arrange disks and disk arrays to avoid downtime caused by inevitable failures
- Utilize technologies such as Storage Area Networks (SANs), Network Attached Storage (NAS), Virtualization, and clustering
- Achieve effective application recovery after any part of the system has failed
- Replicate critical data to remote systems across a network
About the Author
EVAN MARCUS is a Principal Engineer for VERITAS Software. With more than twelve years of experience in the field of high availability, he is a frequent speaker at industry technical conferences.
HAL STERN is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Services business unit of Sun Microsystems. He has worked on reliability and availability issues for some of the largest online trading and sports information sites as well as several network service providers.
Top customer reviews
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This book covers every conceivable aspect of high availability, from application recovery to the [Zen] of service level agreements. The emphasis is on the underlying technologies, with a good deal of attention paid to processes and business considerations as well.
There are two things that stand out about this book: it is comprehensive and the authors are in-the-trenches technical types who can actually write.
It is obvious that the authors have stuggled with and mastered every technology and technique about which they have written. This is a refreshing change from the plethora of technical books written by professional writers who are assigned book projects because they have writing ability, but not necessarily any real technical background. So, in a world that is littered with books with no substance, this gem is definitely worth buying.
I am not going to rehash the table of contents, which is readily available on this page - I will say that the authors gave each of the topics excellent treatment on a number of levels. First, they have deleved into the mechanics of each topic, they have shown the strengths and weaknesses of each, and in many cases, have provided anecdotes and real-life stories about their experiences with designing and implementing similar solutions. The anecdotal content follows a pattern: it points out problems and how the authors resolved those problems when they encountered them. These alone make the book invaluable, and increase the credibility of the authors.
Who should read this book? Systems engineers and managers.
Systems engineers will benefit from the wealth of technical information provided in the book, and will also benefit from the excellent explanations of underlying mechanics of how the various technologies and solution sets work. I am sure that most systems engineers will find the book's many anecdotes to be entertaining reading that imparts valuable information.
Managers should read this book because it puts into perspective how various pieces of a high availability solution set fits together. It also provides a dose of reality that might just stop some "suit" from decreeing a technical direction without fully understanding the full set of issues and factors. This book will provide the issues and factors to managers in a readable manner.
The book gives a thorough treatment of the subject. The explanations were good; the graphics add value but are a little basic; also there is some favorable bias towards Veritas who originally published the book. (Veritas has some high availability software and services you can buy.) But overall a definite keeper. I recommend it if you're interested in High Availability design and concepts.
As a system architect with a programming background facing the task of designing a simple highly reliable system this provided an excellent perspective on the different issues and technologies. It left me well prepared to then delve into the product literature of specific products that addressed the issues relevant to the project.
I believe this would also be an excellent book for IT managers who are looking at commissioning a "high availability" system, whether from an external software integrator or an internal company IT department. In particular, it describes what is easily achievable, what is achievable only at great expense, and what is simply not doable. It also emphasises the roles and responsibilities of people involved in ongoing support of HA systems; this book clearly describes how creating such a system is not the end but the start of providing reliable services.
The reading will be challenging for those of non-technical background, but the book keeps its focus on why you would use each technology rather than simply how each is applied, which makes it relevant to a wide range of readers. It should also ensure that this book remains useful even as technologies change.
What this book does not do is provide a formula for setting up a system. It's a great first step, though.
In addition the writing is clear, structure and flow are good and mistakes are few. Not the lightest of reads, but then again this is a serious topic about systems worth serious money. And at 550-odd pages of dense reading material, this book is well worth investing in.