I have just about finished ploughing my way through a review copy of the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Best Practices book that O'Reilly kindly sent me, and although I still have a couple of chapters to read, I thought I'd write a brief note on what I think of it.
In all, I think this is an excellent book and there are many reasons for this. First, the book was written for Exchange 2010 SP1, which is obviously a good thing as quite a lot has changed with this release as opposed to the RTM release. I personally don't tend to get the first Exchange books available as they can sometimes be based on beta code, which of course can change before the product ships. That's not to say that things don't change before SP1 ships, because they sometimes do. Also, this book contains many sidebars that not only include "notes from the field" insights from experienced professionals, but also include inside track information from members of the product group. These contain invaluable informaton.
The book is comprehensive in its approach, starting out with an introduction to Exchange 2010, followed by useful information on planning and delivering an Exchange 2010 implementation project. It then moves onto the environment considerations, such as Active Directory, certificates, namespace planning, networking, and so on.
Part two of the book is focussed on designing Exchange 2010, and uses a chapter per Exchange 2010 role such as the CAS, Hub Transport, Mailbox and Edge Transport. These chapters delve nice and deep into the topics and give you food for thought. For example, do you want to understand (or refresh your memory) on Autodiscover and the AutodiscoverSiteScope parameter? The CAS chapter is the place to be. Additionally, there are detailed chapters on compliance, unified messaging, federation, high availability, backup/restore and hardware sizing. Finally, other important topics are covered such as upgrading from legacy Exchange and troubleshooting.
I found this book to be very much in the style that I like and I must say I've picked up quite a few useful tips along the way. The book is literally packed full of best practice information, hence the book contents do the title justice. If you don't have a copy of this book, hang your head in shame!
Next up is Tony Redmond's book, Exchange 2010 Inside Out which should be another great read. I've got all of Tony's Exchange books somewhere, including his original Exchange 4.0 book.