Book Review: Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator Cookbook

I am having the chance to review another Packt Publishing book about System Center component. As you can see from the post title this book will help you get started in the Orchestrator world. Authors of the book three very well know community members – Samuel Erskine (MCT), Andreas Baumgarten (MVP) and Steven Beaumont.

The book consists of 9 chapters which total 318 pages. The first two chapters deal with installing and designing Orchestrator. From them you will learn the architecture of Orchestrator, how to install it and how to plan Orchestrator for high availability. The third chapters takes to the heart of Orchestrator – the runbooks. Not only you will understand what is runbook but also you will learn how to plan them, document them and make them. Planning and documenting runbooks is significant part of creating them so this is important chapter. Next five chapters cover five different integration packs – Active Directory IP, Configuration Manager IP, Operations Manager IP, Virtual Machine Manager IP and Service Manager IP. These five IPs are probably the most used one also and definitely one of the first tasks that you will want to automate will be related to them. The good part about these chapters is that they provide very detailed steps on how to create more than a dozen runbooks covering different scenarios. You can use the instruction to create these runbooks in your lab environment by using minimum resources. The runbook examples are very close to real scenarios because not only the activities in the integration packs are used but also PowerShell. In real world PowerShell is leveraged a lot for accomplishing more advanced tasks. In the last 9th chapter are covered some advanced techniques like child runbooks, error handling, logging and looping.

As summary if you would like to learn Orchestrator this book is definitely a source for learning that you should consider. It will give you the initial knowledge and the advanced one you can have with creating more and more runbooks. If you like the book you can find it in one of these stored:

Book Review: Windows Server 2012 Unified Remote Access Planning and Deployment

This is another book review. Windows Server 2012 Unified Remote Access Planning and Deployment book is about technologies I do not have so much experience with – DirectAccess and VPN. Even though I specializing in System Center and Hyper-V it is good to have broader knowledge at least on some basic level. Technologies like DirectAccess and VPN are deployed event in the Cloud.

First I will start that is a small book but it understandable that it covers only one feature in Windows Server 2012. Before starting to read this book I recommend to have basic knowledge on Windows Server, Active Directory, Certificate Services and Networking. The book starts by introducing you to DirectAccess, how it works on general level and what are the requirements for it. It doesn’t rush you directly in the technology instead it explains very well every technology that is built into DIrectAccess. This very good if you have only some basic knowledge on Windows Server, Active Directory, Certificates services and Networking because explains you technologies like IPv6, DNS, ISATAP, DNS64, NAT64, 6to4, Teredo, IP-HTTPS, Group policy and PKI. In next chapters the book continues by introducing you to the architecture of DirectAccess and how to prepare your environment for implementing it. This is followed by installation and configuration of Unified Remote Access role. The last chapters cover some advanced scenarios as well as troubleshooting tips.

In summary the book is very easy to read and provides very good picture of Unified Remote Access role in Windows Server 2012. I recommend this book for engineers who have the task or consider deployment of DirectAccess in their environments. The book is suitable reading for those who have implemented Direct Access in Windows Server 2008 R2 in the past and want to know what have changed in 2012 and how they can migrate to the new version. If you think that this book is for you can grab it on one of these stores:

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cookbook – Book Review

After reviewing the Packt Publishing books for two of the components for Microsoft Private Cloud – Configuration Manager and Service Manager now it is a time for a third component – Hyper-V.The book from Packt Publishing about Hyper-V is titled Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cookbook. The book is authored by a well known MVP Leandro Carvalho.

The book consists of 9 chapters and about 300 pages. The chapters will walk you trough all the basic features of Hyper-V 2012 and to some of the advanced ones by also noticing what have been changed since the last version.. As every Cookbook from Pack Publishing Hyper-V features are presented as min-guides that you can follow in order to test the product my yourself. Of course before actually buying the book I suggest to prepare some test environment where you can follow the guides from it. That way the book will be more effective to you. I have tried most of the features in the new Hyper-V server but by reading the book I’ve managed to try a feature called Resource pools that I just haven’t paid so much attention before. As Windows Server 2012 heavily relies on PowerShell every example in the book that is executed trough GUI there is an separate example how to achieve the same trough PowerShell. So if you are not so PowerShell knowledgeable you can learn some tricks how to perform certain tasks for Hyper-V.

As a summary I can recommend this book to every beginner who has less or no experience with Hyper-V. Also if you are on some beginner or medium level with Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 and you want to learn and test the new features in Hyper-V 2012. You Can find the book in several online stores:

More about the book you can find by clicking on the image below: