Microsoft Press/O’Reilly have just published the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Best Practices (also available from Amazon.co.uk) book by Siegfried Jagott and Joel Stidley. I had some involvement in this book as I was the technical editor for roughly half the chapters, a task that filled many interesting hours over the last few months.
This is a good book, probably the best that is currently available for Exchange 2010 at present. The only quibble I have with it is the title and that’s simply because I think “best practice” in any discipline is dreadfully difficult to capture because best practice evolves over time based on knowledge, experience, and personal insight. Writing down best practice for a technical topic is even harder because of the time delay between committing the original words to paper (or into a Word document) to when someone actually reads the text. Software changes through bug fixes and updates and it’s influenced by evolution in other components such as hardware and other software. For example, a lot has been made about the improvements in I/O performance that Microsoft has made in Exchange 2010, and rightly so because those improvements make a real difference. However, it’s only now that the hardware vendors have introduced products that really take advantage of the new I/O profile and the products that are available now offer new possibilities and potential over those that were available when Exchange 2010 first appeared in October 2009. Best practice in storage design has therefore had to evolve too and the recommendations that might have been given in late 2009 might not necessarily be 100% effective today.
It’s a real challenge to set out to write a book that claims to capture best practice. Siegfried and Joel have done well by not attempting to be all things to all men. I also like the way that they mix and match commentary from others who know Exchange well into the different chapters. Their coverage of best practice is practical and based on real-life experience of working with Exchange 2010 so it’s a valuable asset to anyone who is considering an Exchange 2010 implementation today.
Have fun reading about best practice – but be ready to figure out what best practice really means to your own deployment (everyone is different) and be prepared to evolve the way you think about best practice for Exchange 2010 as Service Pack 1 appears and we gain real-life experience of how this version of the software functions in production. Nothing is perfect and we learn something new every day…