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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Business Data Communications (6th Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: David A. Stamper, Thomas L. Case
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Needs a to be updated

Used it as a text book, mainly a reference. With communications rapidly changing it must be difficult to continually update. It is a fair background book, but it doesn't offer much else

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Building Clustered Linux Systems (Hewlett-Packard Professional Books (Paperback))
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Robert W. Lucke
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Extremely thorough

This book addresses Linux clusters in an extremely thorough fashion. There is an excellent history and description of the problem to arrive at the definition of a "Linux cluster". The different types of clusters (high performance, throughput, availability) are well described so you know what the goal is of the cluster you will be working on. There are well-defined objectives at the start of each chapter. I also found the transition from theoretical to practical to be very good. I am impressed with this book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exams 70-292 and 70-296): Upgrading Your Certification to Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Dan Holme, Orin Thomas
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Nice book, but lacking important content

I went through the book, and felt well prepared for the exam. Then, I took the exam. I found that I got questions that I assumed were kind of tricky questions. I was asked quite a few questions that were in no way mentioned or covered by this book. Emergency Management Services is something new, that I had no clue even existed. This book uses the word emergency 3 times (found by searching the PDF version of the book) not once in an important context.
VERY LACKING in other areas also.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Cisco Access Control Security : AAA Administration Services
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Brandon Carroll
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A great read and reference for anyone implementing CS ACS.

Cisco Access Control Security will walk the reader through designing, installing and administering Cisco Secure ACS. I believe by reading this book the reader will help ensure a better design and implementation of their ACS solution. If you are just beginning to learn the Cisco ACS or if you have been working with it for years you will be able to take away valuable information from reading this book.

Networks today require more and more attention to security. With the implementations of dial-up, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Wireless and other methods for access network resources it becomes more difficult to protect the network. A large part of securing the network resides in Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA) and their associated protocols (RADIUS and TACACS) to name a few.

The author, Brandon Carroll, has done a fantastic job of organizing and presenting information that I feel will be valuable for both beginners and advanced network staff. If you require an understanding to how Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) and Terminal Access Controller Access Control Systems (TACACS) can be used in your AAA design, this book provides a detailed look at these protocols and their capabilities. It then goes into great detail providing a step-by-step guide to installing and configuring the Cisco Secure Access Control Server for Windows. Screenshots are provided to help you visualize the java-based web interface.

Brandon then provides some guidelines for deploying ACS for Dialup, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Wireless and other deployments in both small and enterprise environments. One area that was specifically important to me was distributed deployment for large enterprises. Reading this chapter made me realize several issues within the environment that I currently work; which we will now be able to address to prevent a catastrophic outage.

One of the great aspects of this book is that it makes a useful reference tool. In each chapter there are a number of web links which are related to the topic covered. These include links to standards boards covering the various protocols, specific hardware and IOS version configuration guides and links to Cisco's CCO for additional ACS documentation. The author uses screen shots of the ACS menus and configuration examples. This is extremely useful and allows for familiarity when actually sitting down to perform the first software install or configuration. The extensive screenshots and detailed RADIUS and TACACS Attribute-Value tables makes this a very quick read, even at over 400 pages.

For someone currently running Cisco's ACS software and are looking to upgrade to a newer version, this book will provide you with information covering the specific versions of ACS from version 2.0 to 3.2.

Recently Cisco has come to market with an appliance that provides a dedicated platform for the Cisco ACS software. The author focuses heavily on the ACS software and does not provide a lot detail on the Cisco ACS Solution Engine. There are enough differences between the two that I believe Brandon could have had a dedicated chapter on this. If you are searching for detailed information on the Solution Engine you will need to search Cisco's CCO.

Although the Solution Engine is not well covered; and as someone who primarily uses the Cisco ACS Solution Engine; I still highly recommend this book to anyone who is planning to or already has implemented the Cisco Secure ACS. This book has been valuable addition and a great resource.