Sebastopol, CA--"Computer networks are like any complex engineering
project," states Kevin Dooley, author of Designing Large-Scale LANs (US $39.95), the latest book in O'Reilly's popular networking series. "A small network can be slapped together quite successfully with
minimal experience," he explains, "But a larger network requires
careful thought and planning. As with many types of engineering
projects, this planning and design phase is best served by an organized
and disciplined design philosophy."
Dooley's approach to designing a network is careful and deliberate, and
geared toward open industry standards, rather than focusing on any
given vendor's equipment. "I've used equipment from most of the major
vendors," Dooley explains, "and I believe that every individual piece
of gear has its pluses and minuses. I prefer to use the gear that is
right for the job, rather than expressing a blind devotion to one
vendor or another. So, this book is vendor neutral."
Designing Large-Scale LANs describes the guiding principles involved
in putting together a stable, reliable, and manageable large-scale
network. A network designer who understands these principles can use
the "best of breed" approach that Dooley espouses, which will result in
optimal network performance and lower costs. A vendor-neutral approach
also prevents an organization from being inextricably tied to a vendor
when competing products become available.
Dooley begins by showing network architects the questions they need to
ask to determine network specifications based on business requirements.
The book then explores philosophically and technically how to design a
network that meets those specifications, covering everything from
security, bandwidth and scalability to network reliability, which
includes backup, redundancy, and points of failure. Specific
technologies are analyzed in detail: network topologies, routing and
switching strategies, wireless, virtual LANs, firewalls and gateways,
security, Internet protocols, bandwidth, and multicast services. The
book also discusses proprietary technologies that are ubiquitous, such
as Cisco's IOS and Novell's IPX.
Designing Large-Scale LANs is a hands-on set of rules, guiding
principles and useful tips for people who build networks. Although the
book is particularly relevant for network designers and architects, it
will also be useful for network-operations people who need to
understand the overall logic of their network and engineers who need to
think about upgrading parts of an existing network in a logical way.
Designing Large-Scale LANs
By Kevin Dooley
ISBN 0-596-00150-9, 385 pages, $39.95 (US)