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Book Review: Unix Storage Management
By Dustin Puryear

Title: Unix Storage Management
Authors: Ray A. Kampa, Lydia V. Bell
Publisher: Apress
Year: 2003

There are some rather complex--and dare I say it--arcane issues involved in managing storage in a Unix environment. Indeed, Unix storage management can be a complicated affair. This is especially true when you consider the many needs business places on storage systems such as fault tolerance, redundancy, speed, and capacity. Apress has published a book that they promote as being written specifically about this topic, which weighs in at a comfortable 302 pages of actual material.

In general, I find Unix Storage Management to be a good primer on storage management. However, I am a little disappointed in the lack of focus on actually administering storage. When requesting the book I assumed that I would learn how to pull up my sleeves and tune and tweak file system performance, optimize access to network-based storage, and in general get a real feel for managing storage in a Unix environment. But alas, that isn't the case. Unix Storage Management deals mostly with the higher-level details of understanding how storage works, determining what kind you need, and then working to integrate that storage into your network.

This isn't to say that the book doesn't do a good job of introducing the reader to the major components of modern Unix storage systems. Indeed, technologies covered include RAID, SANS, NAS, and backups, to name just a few. Kampa and Bell actually do a good job of introducing this material, but they do not treat the subject matter in great depth. Essentially, after reading the text, readers will have enough knowledge to do more research and know what they are looking for, but they doubtless would not be in a position to actually implement a solution in a demanding environment.

The target audience for this book, whether intentional or not, are IT managers and those that want a broad overview of how storage systems work. Administrators that are in the trenches would also enjoy skimming this book if for no other reason than to remind themselves of the technologies available for them. Also, most administrators will look favorably on the chapter "Performance Analysis", which does a rather good job of detailing the process of collecting and analyzing performance information on storage systems. All in all, this is not a bad book as long as you aren't expecting to walk away with guru-like powers over Unix storage systems.


[BIO] Dustin Puryear, a respected authority on Windows and UNIX systems, is founder and Principle Consultant of Puryear Information Technology. In addition to consulting in the information technology industry, Dustin is a conference speaker; has written articles about numerous technology issues; and authored "Integrate Linux Solutions into Your Windows Network," which focuses on integrating Linux-based solutions in Windows environments.

Copyright © 2003, Dustin Puryear. Copying license http://www.linuxgazette.net/copying.html
Published in Issue 88 of Linux Gazette, March 2003

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