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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Enterprise Service Bus
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Chappell
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Looks promising

Chappell describes a highly promising but still speculative technology for connecting together enterprise-wide computations. It can also potentially be used to span different companies. Some of you may groan. Haven't we heard this already, several times? Remember the toutings of CORBA, Java's RMI, JMX, JMS, and the nascent Web Services?
Well, ESB draws upon often bitter lessons learnt with these earlier endeavours. CORBA was widely found to be too complex. RMI works only for tightly coupled systems, which do not scale well. So that became one reason for JMS, because it enabled loose coupling. But JMS is too low level. Web Services may indeed be promising, but face a danger of overspecifying a standard before enough practical experience is garnered.
ESB tries to subsume the best ideas from the above, and from other efforts. It promises loose coupling and an incremental rollout, amongst other things. The incremental ability may be key to getting a small scale project approved and implemented, due to its minimal investment.
You could think of ESB as taking the ideas of the JMX management console a step further. Plus, ESB can use JMX as a subsidiary technology.
Chappell also offers nice visual component schematics that could be used to represent and perhaps even assemble an ESB network. If this indeed is possible, it would be tremendous. Akin to the 1980s, when MicroSim offered a graphical version of Spice, with electronic parts availabled from a menu.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective Java Programming Language Guide
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Joshua Bloch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the Best Java References for Effective OOD

This book has proved to be one of the easiest to read out of the Java books I own and have read. Bloch does an excellent job of defining a straightforward methodology to OOPing. This book is probably not for a beginner in Java, but rather for someone with 1 - 2 years Java under their belt and serious about true OO.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Joe Celko's SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Joe Celko
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have...

Joe Celko is a very interesting author. His approach to teaching by using puzzles gets the mind thinking. He does not keep you guessing too long. I like his sense of humor as well.
I consider this book a must-have for all Database Administrators and developers...

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Cisco Catalyst QoS: Quality of Service in Campus Networks
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Richard Froom, Mike Flannagan, Kevin Turek
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Dry, but Useful...

Vital Statistics:I am reviewing Cisco Catalyst QOS: Quality of Service in Campus Networks (ISBN: 1-58705-120-6). The book is 400 pages in length and is divided into 2 sections, Fundamental QOS Concepts and Advanced QOS Concepts. It includes coverage of QOS functionality on 2900, 3500, 4000 & 6500 series Cisco Catalyst Switches. The book states that it is intended for network engineers who work with Catalysts and seek a deeper understanding of QOS. Add CCNP level switch understanding to that list, at the very least. The book's authors are Mike Flannagan, Richard Froom, and Kevin Turek, all CCIE-level engineers who work directly for Cisco in Research Triangle Park. Notice the presence of "authors", "engineers" and "research" in one sentence... a fearful combination to say the least. Buckle up, kids, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
My Reading Experience:I set out to read this book as an attempt to get an understanding of QOS for my CCIE studies. Oops, Rich didn't read the fine print. This book isn't really so much a book about QOS concepts in general as it is an implementation guide for utilizing QOS on a Catalyst network. Works out okay for me, though, because my company runs 4000 and 6500 series Catalysts and the information will prove quite useful as we roll out QOS. For my CCIE studies, however, I will still need to pick up a book that is somewhat more general, like maybe the Cisco DQOS Exam Certification Guide or Cisco IOS 12.0 Quality of Service. Luckily for me, the book spends the first 2 chapters teaching the underlying QOS concepts for the features that are discussed in the remainder of the book. After the first 2 chapters, the Fundamentals section is finished up with a 2-chapter overview of the QOS support on the various Catalyst platforms.
Part 2 of the book presents QOS implementation on the various Catalyst platforms. I believe the intention of the authors was for the reader to only read the specific chapters in part 2 that pertained to the specific equipment they'd be using. I say this because the chapters repeat a lot of the same information. From the standpoint of this being an implementation guide, it's good that each chapter stands on its own and you don't have to read the entire book to get an understanding of QOS as it applies to your particular Catalyst platform.
The thing that makes this book unique, and the thing which I liked most about it, is the in-depth coverage of the Catalyst 6500 series. There is a chapter dedicated to 6500 by itself, which shows both hybrid and native commands for all the QOS functions. There is also a chapter that focuses on the 6500 MSFC and Flexwan modules. The last time I checked, there was exactly one book that I knew of that had any info about the 6500, Cisco LAN Switching (CCIE Professional Development series). Since my network uses 6509's with MSFC2 and FlexWAN cards, I found those chapters to be extremely useful and will be using them to implement QOS.
If I seem wishy-washy about this title, it's because I am. My recommendation depends upon what you want to accomplish. If you want to learn QOS concepts, I'd recommend reading something else, like the Cisco DQOS Exam Certification Guide. If you're actually implementing QOS in a Catalyst network, I'd recommend this book. The writing is just a little too dry and the examples are a little too abstract. I would have liked to have seen more real-world examples in plain English. Using my 5-ping rating scale, I'll give Cisco Catalyst QOS three pings - two for the beginning of the book, and one for the 6500 coverage.