New book review for The Cloud at Your Service: The When, How, and Why of Enterprise Cloud Computing, by Jothy Rosenberg and Arthur Mateos, Manning, 2011, reposted here:
Potential readers of this text, especially those familiar with Manning, might be interested in knowing that in their preface, the authors indicate they "had to convince Manning to publish a book that wasn't aimed squarely at programmers. When we told them the book had no source code, that didn't compute. We held firm, arguing that a huge need exists for a book that tells it like it is for the enterprise IT worker. The cloud will eventually have its greatest effect on the largest of organizations. But they're precisely the organizations that have the most trouble changing. We wanted to talk directly to you about how to undertake this shift, what it will mean to you and your organization, and how to proceed in a sane and reasonable manner."
The authors are correct that this need exists, and after reading what they have to offer here, this space will continue to need additional contributions for quite some time. As a consultant leading a virtualization project this past year, a prior reading of this text would have helped prepare me for some of the discussions that ensued with client personnel. While technical texts such as "VMWare vSphere 4" by Scott Lowe (see my review), significantly increased my confidence at a product level, the periodic conversations surrounding what can be seen as a possible next step following virtualization, use of a cloud, could have benefited from materials like the authors provide here, because quite simply there are very few product neutral, cloud focused texts.
The authors actually do provide some source code, however minimal, in this text, but it is mainly confined to what Amazon provides with its cloud API. Some code snippets from competitors such as Microsoft are also provided for contrast, even though the authors indicate throughout the text that Amazon leads the pack and predict that Amazon will continue to lead in upcoming years, mainly because Amazon got to the starting line earlier due to providing to the public what it first had utilized solely for internal solutions. The first few chapters, entitled "What is Cloud Computing?", "Understanding Cloud Computing Classifications", "The Business Case for Cloud Computing", "Security and the Private Cloud", and "Designing and Architecting for Cloud Scale", together with the concluding chapter, "The Future of the Cloud", were well done, but chapters "Achieving High Reliability at Cloud Scale", "Testing, Deployment, and Operations in the Cloud", and "Practical Considerations" feel at times rushed or out of place.
The target audience of this book is probably greater than what the authors surmise, which is to say that regardless of whether protential readers are managers or programmers, anyone interested in quickly getting up to speed with some of the core tenants of cloud computing can probably benefit from this book. As a consultant architect, I especially appreciated the persistence of the authors throughout the text of focusing on the five main principles that define cloud computing (pooled computing resources available to any subscribing users, virtualized computing resources to maximize hardware utilization, elastic scaling up or down according to need, automated creation of new virtual machines or deletion of existing ones, and resource usage billed only as used). In addition, the authors present the high-level business and architectural cases for cloud computing well.