Book Review: Designing Storage Networks by Tom Clark

Title: Designing Storage Networks
Author: Tom Clark
ISBN-10: 0321136500
ISBN-13: 978-0321136503
Available from Amazon

When I first started learning about storage it was hard to find the right place to start.  I came from a Cisco-centric world, and I knew I wanted to learn the MDS switches, so I started with documentation there.  The problem with this approach is that you skip alot of fundamentals along the way.  I decided I need to get a book to use as a primer.  I actually ended up getting several.  Among all the books I got, I liked this one the best.  I really like Tom’s writing style and the order in which he covers topics.

Designing Storage Area Networks

The book takes you through learning about the various standards, SCSI protocol, and IP protocols.  It does have some dated parts, after all the book was written in 2003.  However, I find it still the best thing out there to learn about what it teaches.

Especially helpful were things such as principal switch selection, FC-AL initialization, FLOGI/PLOGI, public/private loops, and many other relatively elementary concepts.  Later on when I would go on to more advanced studies using The Fibre Channel Bench Reference and other texts, it all made sense thanks to a careful and complete introduction to technologies made possible by this excellent book.

For what it’s worth, I also own Tom Clark’s other book IP SANS: A Guide to iSCSI, iFCP, and FCIP Protocols for Storage Area Networks. I did not really care for it.  Its not necessary if you own this book as there is much overlap, and I found it a alot more basic, and I was looking for more of an experts introduction.

I recommend this book for someone who has limited experience in storage networks, and is trying to pursue storage networking.  I you have read this book and have any comments please feel free to contribute!

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