Amazon Reader Review ( :

* * * * * Updated 3 1/2 Years Later, January 20, 2001 Reviewer: Mike Tarrani from Tustin, CA USA

I first reviewed this book three and a half years ago. It is time for an updated review to reaffirm this book's value nearly four years after it was first published.

First, since this book was published there have only been two (that I know of) books that address the topic of mission critical systems management: Blueprints for High Availability: Designing Resilient Distributed Systems and High Avaliability: Design, Techniques and Processes.

Second, after reading the other two books this one continues to have a solid place - it fills in gaps of the other two.

Third, Mission Critical Systems Management contains the best approach to service level management from among the three books in this category.

The key strengths of this book are its straightforward approach to designing, deploying and maintaining highly available systems on a 24x7 basis. The author chronicles his own approach to doing this, which lends authority and credibility to the book. The service level agreement format provided in the book continues to be one of the best I have come across. And the approach itself is sound.

There are no discernable weaknesses. Three and a half years ago I gave this book 4 stars because it cited specific products. I am giving it 5 stars today because in retrospect this complaint is irrelevant. What counts is the fact that a technology book written nearly four years ago is as valid and valuable today as when it was first written.

Bottom line: Mission Critical Systems Management contains a good balance of process and technical detail, and provides a clear path to achieving 24x7 operations. It fills the gaps of, and augments, the two other books on the subject: High Avaliability: Design, Techniques and Processes (process-oriented) and Blueprints for High Availability: Designing Resilient Distributed Systems (technology-oriented).

If you haven't read this book because of its age, read it and marvel at how timeless the contents are. If you read it when it first came out, re-read it and discover how prescient the author was when he sat down to write it.
Amazon Reader Review ( :
* * * * * Expert advice on how to double support quality and productivity, January 25, 1999. Reviewer: A reader from New York, USA..

Tired of continued turnover of skilled systems personnel? Confused by the haphazard introduction of new technologies, such as Windows NT?

In this new extraordinary book you can learn both the practical skills and cultural context needed to deal with growing complexity of systems support in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Specific to distributed computing systems, this first-of-its-kind idea book divulges knowledge accumulated over years of practical experience in the arena of performance, availability and cost reduction.

Like a modern-day Frederick W. Taylor, Lirov believes that systems support can be rigorously quantified and improved through disciplined planning and execution. He pulled together a team of experts first to elevate systems support at Lehman Brothers to the best service on Wall Street, and then to share t he acquired grasp of this tremendously difficult subject with the readers. Abandoning the traditional approach of focusing on a single support discipline, Lirov paints a panoramic view of an all-inclusive support process.

In his lucid foreword to the book, Kevin McGilloway, CIO at Lehman Brothers, emphasizes the criticality of matching technical solutions with cultural change. The topics span the entire gamut of support disciplines encompassing all aspects of systems, database, and batch administration, including contributions from experts at such leading edge institutions as Hewlett-Packard and Cray. The ideas, described in comprehensive detail, transcend the Intranet and apply to systems management on the Internet. These ideas also encompass multiple systems platforms, especially, UNIX and Windows NT. The book's only drawback is that it stops short of offering more detail on cross-platform systems management.

With dozens of practical examples, this is an advanced level text, geared towards IT managers, systems and database administrators, and graduate students. If you are in the trenches, battling to manage distributed systems of unprecedented complexity, this book can save your career -- and your sanity.

Amazon Reader Review ( :
* * * * * Sets a new standard in systems management, October 20, 1997. Reviewer: A reader from Rutgers University - New Brunswick.

This book explores the monumental task of supporting today's heterogeneous distributed computer systems. The new methodology introduced in the book is based on accountability and automation and has been key to effecting spectacular improvements in both support quality and personnel productivity at Lehman Brothers.

The production of this seminal text involved a team-oriented approach. Written with colleagues from leading investment, industry, and academic institutions such as Salomon Brothers, Sun Microsystems and MIT, the work's subject reflects its team-oriented authorship.

The book's uniqueness lies in its lucid treatment of a subject which is inherently behind-the-scenes. In a brilliant foreword, Kevin McGilloway, CIO of Lehman Brothers, articulates the fundamental reality of systems support where "no news is good news", and yet no modern trading can be conducted without the computer. In what he describes as the "change culture" of Wall Street, where profit depends on market dynamics, computer systems must enable traders to capitalize on the continuous evolution of markets. This dynamic marketplace tolerates nothing less than zero downtime.

The book shows how to meet the ultimate challenge of balancing change with perfect availability of the computer/communications infrastructure.