If you haven’t already seen or heard the marketing hype around Project California and Cisco’s entrance to selling servers with Unified Computing Systems(UCS), then you won’t need this book. For everyone else who needs to understand how the Cisco Unified Computing System goes together, then this book covers the full spectrum of issues that a designer needs know.
This book is clearly targeted at designers and architects who need to have a grasp of the UCS ecosystem and thus its covers server architectures, networking and hardware virtualization. Specific coverage of I/O adapters (since the UCS card I/O cards are specific) and the UCS Manager are valuable. I haven’t seen a lot of marketing material around these technologies as yet. (Hey Omar, what the hell ARE you doing?)
As someone who stopped doing servers when Windows NT 3.51 and Novell NetWare was the rage, I haven’t kept in touch with CPU, Memory and Bus Architectures. As I found out this week, if you are going to debate UCS with the HP server guys in your company you need to know something about this stuff. I felt that the information was well laid out, logical and carried enough technical detail to use as a customer and architect without requiring me to be a chip designer.
The book has a good content structure, I found it logical and progressed through the material. Valuable diagrams and lots of pictures of equipment meant I could visualize the technology better.
The section at the back on “Planning a California Installation” doesn’t feel complete to me. I think that there is lot more information to arrive on this and, frankly, I am sure the marketing teams will soon have lots of information to help you spend your money. So probably best to miss this section.
I also remain dubious about the future of FibreChannel, but remain hopeful that Cisco will announce iSCSI acceleration features on the UCS2100 any day now((Hey, I can wish can’t I ?)) and this book pushes FCoE heavily to connect to your existing FC SAN. There are solid discussions on FCoE and why you might want to consider it both as technology and a business plan.
The book is self published by an ondemand publisher lulu.com. It costs about GBP£21.00 or USD$35 and is possibly a little bit expensive, but all profits are donated Orangutan Conservancy as a carbon offset strategy. It takes three to five days from your order to print and ship, mine arrived in the UK less than ten days from ordering.
The printing quality is not quite to the standard of Cisco Press, but you will not be disappointed. Ondemand printing means you don’t have to wait another four months for the book to arrive, right now, that is more important. This book will give you a great head start on getting to grips with Cisco’s Unified Computing Strategy. I give it eight out of ten.
Project California at LULU.com
Printed: 292 pages, 18.91 cm x 24.59 cm, perfect binding, black and white interior ink