Book Review: The Cloud Computing Bible

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Cloud Computing BibleBy Barrie Sosinsky

Cloud computing is one of the buzzwords that has taken the Internet by storm in the past couple of years, and it seems to show no signs of slowing down. There are a great deal of different cloud services out there and it seems that new ones are popping up every day. The urge to get involved in cloud computing is huge, especially for the IT cost savings and ease of use it can potentially provide, but for someone just wading into the cloud computing foray, all of the different services, acronyms, and applications involved in cloud computing can be extremely daunting and make even the bravest of us take pause.

It is precisely this case that Barrie Sosinsky is attempting to address with his book, The Cloud Computing Bible. True to its name, the book attempts to gather everything possible about cloud computing into a neatly organized book. Sosinky attempts to explain everything around cloud computing and how it applies to you and your business: he goes into detail about what cloud computing is, how it works, and all of the myriad pros and cons associated with it including security, infrastructure, applications, and more. Ostensibly, by the time you’ve finished with The Cloud Computing Bible, you’ll be an expert in cloud computing and able to make informed, competent decisions when it comes to integrating it with your own business.

How does Sosinsky stack up his delivery with his stated goals? Well, for starters, the book is fantastically detailed. Sosinsky doesn’t skimp on any part of the cloud computing model, and his attention to detail is nothing short of phenomenal. Absolutely everything you could think of is covered in here: Sosinsky talks about everything from abstraction to partitioning to virtualization and back again. He even covers using the big three web services and how to incorporate them into your cloud computing solution: Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all get great, detailed writeups in the book, including all the services they provide as well as how to use those services effectively when planning a cloud computing environment for your business. Every chapter is backed up by graphics as well, and charts, screenshots, and diagrams clearly show the pros and cons of each different method or service being looked at in any given chapter.

The technical parts of the book are of the great level of quality what you’d expect from Sosinsky, who has a strong background in networking and infrastructure. What may surprise you, however, is that the book not only also explores the business side of the cloud but also addresses it in the same detailed, thorough manner as the technical side. Sosinsky leaves no stone unturned when it comes to methods for incorporating cloud computing into your business, and he goes through the entire process of assessing the value of different strategies for cloud computing. He explains concepts such as ROI, licensing models, calculating cost of different loads on different web services, TCO, and more: once you’ve gotten to the end of The Cloud Computing Bible, you can rest assured that you have a thorough understanding of what cloud computing entails for your business on both the technical and financial ends; Sosinsky’s chapters are loaded with incredible amounts of data and I would be quite surprised if you came out of the book not knowing whether or not cloud computing would be a benefit or a hindrance to your particular company and scenario.

The first criticism of the book is a light one, but it needs to be said nonetheless: the book is more focused about building your own cloud computing platform either as a private infrastructure boost or as a public offering. It does not include a survey of “out-of-the-box” solutions such as Dropbox or SkyDrive, nor does it go into established commercial cloud solutions for things like email or document sharing. The part it pays more attention to is the aspect of cloud building using Amazon or Google services to roll out your own cloud computing solution: whether that’s helpful for you and your business or whether you were looking for a book that was more commercial-product oriented may determine if this book and its focus are right for you and your business.

The second criticism of the book undoubtedly has to come from its proposed reading level. It purports to be for beginners who have never been exposed to much IT before, but the book does assume a great deal of technical information that a reader only passingly familiar with IT might be completely unfamiliar with. To that reader, some of the passages might read as a list of acronyms that leap across the page; I, at least, would reclassify the book to note that there are quite a few passages where some prior background in IT would be very helpful. Additionally, I know Sosinsky’s capable of the explanation, because the financial and administrative parts of the book do have the requisite hand-holding someone unfamiliar with business terms might need. As it stands, an IT manager transitioning to a more managerial role would have an easier time with the book than a manager or executive looking to shore up their IT knowledge about cloud computing.

The Cloud Computing Bible does live up to its name: with it, Barrie Sosinsky has managed to create a book that addresses the cloud computing question from both sides of the fence: technical and organizational. His analyses are detailed, thorough, and will most certainly leave anyone with a better understanding of what cloud computing is, how it works, and whether or not it will aid them and their business. The only cons the book truly has is that it’s clearly written from an IT focused viewpoint: the book definitely tends to assume that the reader has a bit more technical than the back cover implies is required. Nonetheless, The Cloud Computing Bible is a great book and a very informative one: whatever density it acquires on the IT side is well worth working through if you want to get a clear idea of whether or not cloud computing is the right solution for you!

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