Exchange Server 2003: Just the Facts Ma'am

Delta Guides tell you only what's new

Don Jones is a long time MCP Magazine columnist who is writing a new beta test column for REDMOND Magazine, which will debut in October. But Don does far more—he teaches, speaks, writes books and invented the eminently useful Delta Guide series. The idea is more than clever. It assumes the reader is an expert in one version of a software package but isn't up to speed on the latest rev. The Delta Guide covers only what's new. The result is a book like Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Delta Guide that can weigh in at some 150 pages; pretty paltry for a tech book, but let's dig in and see what this Delta Guide by David McAmis has to offer.

Right off the bat the book warns those new to Exchange to look elsewhere. Fortunately I had just tackled a couple of monster Exchange tomes, so I was pretty prepped for the Delta approach. The Delta Guides don't flow as smoothly as fuller books and, instead, jump from quick topic to quick topic. But that's OK, the reader here just wants to know what's new, and how to exploit the good stuff.

Even though the book is a fast read, the editors paid attention to organization, and crafted 12 simple, self-contained chapters, including architecture, administration and security. The table of contents takes it further and really breaks it down. Want to find out how to move a mail box? Forget about the index. The TOC will point you just as quickly to page 63.

The Delta Guide starts by helping you choose the right version of Exchange. Then it walks through basic configurations and architectures, and then explains installation. Diving deeper, later chapters tackle new features such as anti-virus and OWA.

I always like an assertive author and would have liked a deep analysis of Exchange databases, and how storage groups support some serious server consolidation. Nonetheless, there were loads of info on clustering and designing a configuration for maximum uptime.

Thousand-plus page books are well and good, but when you just need to know what's new, the Delta Guides are the place to go.

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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