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Dr. Tom Shinder's Configuring ISA Server 2004 [Paperback]

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Item description for Dr. Tom Shinder's Configuring ISA Server 2004 by Debra Littlejohn Shinder Thomas W. Shinder...

Dr. Tom and Debra Shinder have become synonymous with Microsoft's flagship firewall product ISA Server, as a result of Tom's prominent role as a member of the beta development team, and Tom and Deb's featured placement on both Microsoft's ISA Server Web site and Tom and Deb's book on the first release of the product "Configuring ISA Server 2000" dominated the ISA Server 2000 book market having sold over 40,000 copies worldwide, and the ISA Server community is eagerly awaiting Tom and Deb's book on ISA Server 2004, which is the dramatically upgraded new release from Microsoft.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   1024
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 7.01" Height: 2.05"
Weight:   3.22 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2004
Publisher   Syngress
ISBN  1931836191  
ISBN13  9781931836197  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Dr. Tom Shinder's Configuring ISA Server 2004?

good content poorly organized  Jan 27, 2007
Tom Shinder is the recognized non-Microsoft ISA expert. He wrote the seminal (if only) book on ISA 2000 and now has written on ISA 2004. He also runs a companion website.

A good 200+ pages is devoted to marketing rehash and comparison of competing products. While there is some discussion of relevant concepts, most of this would be better served as website content. The competition changes rapidly enough that any such information in print quickly becomes obsolete. This book is supposed to be about configuring ISA 2004, not in-depth reviews of the product space.

The book's presentation quality is poor. Type is uneven in places, page numbers are cut off, and there are spelling errors. The organization is deficient as well. I continually lost my way and had to flip back to the TOC (which at 22 pages is too large to be of much use), Preface, and chapter intros to recapture the author's chain of thoughts. For example, Shinder describes Chapter 4's objective as preparing the infrastructure before installing ISA 2004, yet the chapter is filled with multiple ISA installation/configuration screen prints and instructions. He also describes how the various ISA clients react with particular network configuration, yet he does not introduce the concepts of clients until a later chapter.

The book is redundant in its presentations, as a chapter will begin with an overview of a series of concept, discuss the configuration of each concept, then discuss the various installation and configuration items for each concept, rather than describing the entirety of each concept one by one. There are occasions where he neglects to give context, such that advice seems contradictory. The typical "quick install" section is hidden about 500 pages into the book, and there's duplicate versions.

Despite the previous criticisms, the content of the book is informational and friendly to those new to the product, giving step by step instructions. When one considers the book along with the companion website and the author's personal commitment to assist and provide advice - as well as the lack of other books on the subject - "Configuring ISA Server 2004" gets a high rating. I will be looking for the 2006 update.
Top Notch Reference Material  Jan 9, 2007
Great reference manual, easy to read, great examples. I use this as a reference book for quick settings changes and deployments. I highly recommend this book.
Definitive Guide for Beginners to ISA  Aug 28, 2006
I was totally new to ISA and came to know about this book from the ISAServer forum.

It not only gives in-sight into the inner workings of the product but also speaks about the philosophy and history behind the creation of this versatile tool.

Understanding, Installing and Configuring ISA is just a piece of cake with this book
The Best ISA 2004 Reference ever  Jul 10, 2006
Don't be fooled guys, even with the articles being available online you wont find such a complete explanation posted into the isa server's resource site. This guy writes ISA documentation for MS, so there you go, he is da man when it comes to the product and has been dealing with it since the beginning, ISA 2006 is still in RC and he already wrote a couple of articles regarding how to configure new features. Definitely, a must have if you are an ISA Admin or consultant looking for some information and advice to do the right setup for the given network.
Too Much, Too Soon?  May 22, 2006
Since the early ISA Server 2000 days, author Tom Shinder has been the undisputed king of the ISA Server world. (Small world, isn't it.) His great expertise is complimented by a nice professional writing style that can be understood by any serious system administrator. If ISA is a big part of your responsibilities, you will want to have this book.

However, if you just want to get ISA Server 2004 up and running for the first time, this 1,024-page book is too much. If you are sitting there with the CD in hand and want to be up and running in three or four hours, be aware that the first 300 pages are devoted to a discussion of new features and a lengthy defense and comparison of ISA to the lower-end firewall appliances (non-PC hardware with firmware). This was very interesting reading for me (with four years managing ISA on a small network with ten servers and twenty workstations), but it may be too much too soon if firewalls are not high on your list of interesting things.

I searched hard for other ISA books and bought "ISA Server Unleashed" as well. "Unleashed" is 552 pages and quickly gets to installation and then configuration, exactly what you may want to get up and running quickly. In addition to "Unleashed," there seem to be just two other books that may serve for installation guides. The first is Shinder's "How to Cheat at Installing ISA Server 2004" (according to another reviewer, a "just the facts" version of the larger book reviewed here). Lastly, there is the "Administrator's Pocket Consultant." (I have read only reviews for the "Cheat" and "Consultant" books.)

Don't misunderstand, Shinder covers just about everything before he is done; and if you want your ISA expert's badge, you need to have this big book. I'll use "Unleashed" during installation and use Shinder's book for guidance on best practices.

If your finances suggest just one book, do this big Shinder book if you have prior ISA experience. Otherwise check out the small number of other offerings. And don't forget to search for ISA Server and Shinder on the web. You'll find a website with many long articles by Shinder.

By the way, I share Shinder's view that ISA is a great product. My ISA 200 installation has run robustly for four years; but I was looking to offload to ISA some of the spam filtering burden that now rests on an Exchange Server plus GFI installation and decided to move up to the latest ISA version at the same time.

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