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One good book for the bookshelf

Aug 13, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Why you should read Dilip Naik's "Inside Windows Storage"

Last issue, I admitted that hardware and discussions surrounding hardware (such as “storage issues”) had a tendency to make my eyes glaze over and my attention drift. So a book entitled “Inside Windows Storage” would usually get placed immediately on the “donate these to the library” stack when it shows up on my doorstep.

I say “usually,” but this one showed up within an hour after someone asked about the Windows Server 2003 Distributed File System (DFS) and the Offline Folders technology (see the previous issue of this newsletter for that discussion). So I sat down and decided to read what the author had to say about DFS.

Dilip Naik, the author of “Inside Windows Storage” (subtitled “Server Storage Technologies for Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003 and Beyond”, sexy, eh?) is, perhaps, my direct opposite. This guy is really into storage! He wrote code for CIFS/SMB (Microsoft’s implementation of the Server Message Block protocol, which was renamed the “Common Internet File System”, and which other vendors refer to as SAMBA). He also wrote the documentation for the Windows NT Installable File System kit. He spent more than 12 years at Microsoft, mostly involved with file systems. I would have had terminal ennui, but he seems to thrive on it.

Anyway, in looking up references to DFS in the book, I began to admire the man’s writing style – he does write well. I’m not saying John Grisham or Stephen King should be worried, but Naik did entice me into reading a fair amount of text about storage and storage systems. That’s a major accomplishment.

For those of you interested in storage and file systems, the list of topics covered should have you salivating, including:

* Direct-attached storage, including the new Windows Storport driver model.

* Fibre Channel storage-area networks.

* Network-attached storage, including the Windows NT network stack and an overview of CIFS.

* Backup and restore technologies, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Volume Shadow Copy Service.

* File systems and disk virtualization, including a detailed overview of NTFS as well as a study of Windows cluster file systems.

* Storage management, including the new Windows Virtual Disk Service.

* IP storage and InfiniBand.

* High availability, including RAID mirroring as well as multipath I/O solutions.

Now I’ll admit that the book won’t be on my “beach reading” list. But I was fascinated by the glimpses Naik provides of the historical development of storage services as well as the interesting look at future areas. I read those parts, I understood what he was saying (OK, sometimes I needed to check an online glossary) and my interest was piqued.

This is a fascinating book and as far as I am aware, it is the first that’s devoted solely to storage in a Windows environment, and one that probably deserves to be on your “useful information” bookshelf. You won’t read it from cover to cover, at least I hope not, but you will use it as a reference a lot more than you think. The Sunnyvale Public Library isn’t getting this one from me quite yet.