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Book Review - Optimizing Network Performance

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2003 2:53 am    Post subject: Book Review - Optimizing Network Performance Reply with quote

Optimizing Network Performance with Content Switching

Authors: Matthew Syme and Philip Goldie
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR, July 2003
Book Specifications: Hard cover, 288 pages
Category: Networking
User Level: Beginner
Suggested List Price: $49.99 USA/ $75.99 Canada/ 27.99 UK
ISBN: 0-13-101468-4
Amazon.co.uk: Optimizing Network Performance with Content Switching
Amazon.com: Optimizing Network Performance with Content Switching

Info from the Back: "In Optimizing Network Performance with Content Switching, you'll learn the concepts, the background, and the architectures of content swithing, as well as how it works, and where and why it should be deployed to maximize the performance of your networks and servers. Fueled by increasing bandwidth and ever-richer content, this technology is fast becoming a standard in enterprise and ISP networks."


This book brings into perspective the reality and importance of content switching to the growth of the Internet. It's one of very few books written specifically with the subject in mind - the first of which I have come in contact. Syme and Goldie have written this book with the newcomer in mind. With its carefully thought out layout, and easy-to-follow examples, it serves as an excellent introductory text. However, the authors have written the text in a fashion that's able to capture - and keep - the attention of an intermediate network professional such as myself. In doing so, they have created a fairly comprehensive and free-flowing resource.

Content & Overview

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Content Switching

Chapter 2 - Understanding Layer 2, 3, and 4 Protocols

Chapter 3 - Understanding Application Layer Protocols

Chapter 4 - The Concepts of Content Switching

Chapter 5 - Basic Server Load Balancing

Chapter 6 - Content-Aware Server Load Balancing

Chapter 7 - Persistence, Security, and the Internet

Chapter 8 - Application Redirection

Chapter 9 - Firewall and VPN Load Balancing

Chapter 10 - The Architecture of a Content Switch

As I read this book, I found that the content is delivered in terms that can easily be understood by a beginner, but not so simple that the intermediate-level reader lost interest. The authors give an extremely effective overview of what defines content switching by relating it to how the Internet has grown over the past decade. Through their explanation of the technology, it quickly becomes obvious how important the subject is to the Internet's continued expansion. Diagrams and clearcut examples provide an efficient means to dismiss any ambiguities in the material. That said, you are able to grasp - with relative ease - the concepts of load balancing, redirection, and others.

Style and Detail

One of the most prominent features of this book, in my opinion, is the fact that the authors don't assume that the reader has the required knowledge and experience to jump directly into the heart of the material. Among other relevant topics, the OSI model, VRRP, and other application layer protocols are covered in a manner which is condusive to the reader's absorbtion of the information. This compliments the book's value as a more potent resource for the beginning to intermediate level readers. Although tangent topics are touched, the overall detail of the book is not effected. In other words, they are able to maintain the focus of the book with a decent amount of detail.


This book accomplished exactly what it was intended to do, bring focus to a relatively uncharted area of networking - content switching. It delivers very well on its outlined topics, and moves fluently from chapter to chapter. This text is perfect for those trying to gain a better understanding of what content switching actually means to the industry, and how it can be used to make existing networks more efficient. The fact that it is vendor-neutral brings even more value to it. By writing the book in this fashion, the authors have put more focus on explaining the concepts necessary to get a fairly good grasp on the material. I could find no real weak points to this book for these very reasons.

This book has earned a rating of 10/10 from me.

Keywords: Content switching, load balancing, application redirection, redundancy, network optimization

This review is copyright 2003 by the author and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.
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