Sebastopol, CA--Sexiness often wins out over stability when it comes to capturing our attention, in matters of technology as much as anything else. Yet, when an organization is counting on you to provide consistent high-level network services, twenty-four hours a day, year-round, in addition to dealing with the changing demands of customers and management, taking extra security precautions, and scaling up to meet global demands, suddenly stability can look pretty darned appealing. Which is why the Solaris operating system from Sun Microsystems, with its reputation for being one of the most reliable and scalable platforms on which to build e-commerce products, has attracted an increasing number of network administrators and architects. But newcomers to Solaris frequently face the hurdle of finding out what Solaris offers. The Solaris 8 Administrator's Guide (O'Reilly, US $39.95) by renowned Solaris expert Paul Watters, is an independent and objective attempt to provide the answers administrators need.
"I wanted to provide a quick and easy-to-read guide to key topics in managing Solaris networks," Watters says of his new book. "Solaris 8 is being deployed in production by many organizations, and there are big changes that need to be factored into future designs. New features like IPv6 and IPSec receive a lot of attention, but in my experience, they are not core yet. Sometimes we need to focus on basic issues like routing and security as much as new technologies. In this book, I wanted to focus on networking issues with a succinct, hands-on approach."
The Solaris 8 Administrator's Guide covers all aspects of deploying Solaris as a network server, including both basic and advanced network services. The book is squarely aimed at supporting enterprise-level services, providing conceptual and difficult material that is absent from other manuals. The Guide is unique in that it does not cover historical services (which are not commonly found in modern environments) nor provide an in-depth history of Solaris or Unix, assuming that the reader can find this information elsewhere. Instead, the focus is on supporting relevant contemporary networking technologies, emphasizing practical issues like evaluating the security, scalability and reliability of specific packages.
"Security is understandably a very big issue right now," Watters says, addressing a critical concern of administrators. "In my book, security is the most important aspect of building networks around Solaris. Today we have remotely accessible multi-user, multi-process systems that were the stuff of science fiction not so long ago, and we have to be able to deal with the power that this level of access can give to rogue users. This calls for more resources, more training, better security software with penetration testing and intrusion development, and ultimately more investment in research and development."
Some network administrators may wonder about the future of Solaris in light of Sun's recent announcement, after the first round of Solaris 9 betas, that they were discontinuing the release of any more Solaris for Intel betas. Says Watters, "I'm sure that many administrators, architects, and developers wonder whether Sun will drop Solaris for Intel altogether, given the integration of Linux that features prominently in the features list for betas. Perhaps this just indicates that Sun is focusing on what they do best--build excellent hardware systems with a rock-solid OS."
Solaris 8 Administrator's Guide is aimed toward administrators of heterogeneous networks who want to make use of Solaris for routing, filesharing, PC support, and running enterprise services based on Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE). System administrators, designers, architects and developers involved with Solaris network services will benefit from reading this book.
Solaris 8 Administrator's Guide is also available on Safari Books Online
An article by the author, "How Secure is Solaris 8?"
Chapter 4, "Network Configuration" is available free online
By Paul Watters
ISBN 0-596-00073-1, 282 pages, $39.95 (US), $56.95 (CAN)
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