A Rare Look at Windows Storage

If you need to dig into the guts, this book may be for you. Then again, maybe not.

Look around the shelves of your local mega-bookstore and you'll see dozens of books on Office, HTML, even SQL Server. But you'll have to look high and low to find anything on storage, especially Windows storage. That's why I was so excited to see Inside Windows Storage. And at less than 400 pages, it is (relatively) easy to consume.

The depth of a book is not defined by the number of pages, but I did discover that Inside Windows Storage has a limited, but still useful role. Most of its pages dive into the deep down underpinnings of Windows storage, the type of materials that developers care deeply about, and those installing and managing storage could really care less about.

While it carries a 2004 copyright notice, Inside Windows Storage felt out of date. The title talks about "Server Storage Technologies for Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Beyond." However, the first major section focuses on Windows NT storage underpinnings. This was useful as it covered Windows storage fundamentals such as device drivers and I/O, but this all should have really put in the context of Windows 2000/2003. And the author never quite made it to the "beyond" part. Windows 2000 and 2003 coverage concluded the book almost as an afterthought, and Longhorn, with a dramatic new approach to storage and file systems, was never even mentioned.
At least there was some discussion of new technologies, such as Infiniband, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel over IP, but I was looking for more leading edge material.

I would also have liked to see discussion of newer storage architectures and the benefits (uptime, performance, RIO, ease of manageability). The book spends it pages defining Windows storage, but doesn't really focus on how to develop a storage plan, and implement that plan.

I sound pretty negative, but there is a huge upside to Inside Windows Storage. The book does a fine job explaining Windows storage concepts such as NTFS, which persist through Windows 2000 and 2003. And you will learn a lot you didn't know about Windows storage.

With such a shortage of storage books, this book might be well worth it, and at less than 400 pages, with large readable type, you can make it through Inside Windows Storage fairly easily.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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