You choice of reference book for Windows Server 2008 is increasing rapidly. With this variety comes the difficult decision of which one to purchase. So let me tell you my views of O’Reilly’s Definitive Guide to Windows Server 2008.
I have to say that when this book turned up I was slightly surprised to find it was a lot smaller than it’s Windows Vista counterpart. I could understand 100-150 pages smaller, but 300 pages smaller made me wonder how deep the content would go. There is no questions that the range of topics covered is fairly comprehensive the depth is no in the same league as say the Administrator Companion from Microsoft Press. What this book will do is take you through the most prominent features of the product, there is a basic section on deployment, but nothing on imaging or WDS. The File Services and DNS chapters are very comprehensive in their coverage and the step-by-steps are good.
The chapter on Active Directory covers the basic installation and management of Users and Groups, Operations Masters and a good section on Replication. The Group Policy section goes into the basic’s as well, this will get you going with Group Policy, but consider the Group Policy Resource kit for the in-depth look at this topic.
Each chapter is a good introduction, there are snippets in each that caught my eye and I liked, there are certain chapters that I wonder they added them, for example the Hyper-V is very light. I, like many people I imagine, are waiting to see the Hyper-V Resource Kit, especially as there is only one reference I’ve read that has any depth on Hyper-V and that book isn’t published yet and I’ve not seen any links to it.
As I write these reviews I have to balance the fact that these later titles are not breaking new ground for me as the earlier ones did. I’ve read a number now and so the challenge each time for each publication is to surprise me. So taking this into account here, this is a typical O’Reilly publication. Well written and laid out and cover the material. My disappointment was that I was expecting more from this especially after reading the Vista version. You can usually set aside an O’Reilly publication from the pack, their books on DNS and Active Directory are excellent references, this one is in the pack, along with the Unleashed Series from Sams and also their Teach yourself Windows Server in 24 hours publication. My final word is the same as my review of the aforementioned Sam’s Teach yourself publication.
“This is a good training guide for people coming in who need to get familiar with the main concepts. If you are looking for a reference book for Windows Server 2008 however, this will not meet your needs”