.\Matthew Long

{An unsorted collection of thoughts}

Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Book Review : System Center Opalis Integration Server 6.3

Posted by Matthew on October 10, 2011

Introduction

Penned by an all-star cast of Microsoft Evangelists and community MVPs, System Center Opalis Integration Server 6.3 Unleashed is a dedicated resource for all things Opalis.  The book is published by Sams, and is available in physical (paperback) and Kindle editions.

Review

For those looking for a thorough and in-depth resource on Opalis Integration Server, this is definitely it.  The book starts out discussing the history and concepts of Opalis integration server, introducing the product to new users and relating users of previous versions to the current product with ease.

The book then goes on to discuss the Architectural design, installation, implementation and best practises when setting up Opalis in your environment, complete with design discussions and important questions that you should consider before touching the installer binaries.

Key foundation objects and common/advanced tasks are covered, always with examples, including Data Manipulation, Data Persistence, Scheduling, calling external systems error control and more.  The book is not afraid to point to community Integration packs to ensure that you can get the most out of your environment, and I’d be surprised if you’ve heard of them all.

The 3rd party integration packs included with the product are then discussed, with object listings and installation requirements.  This is followed by dedicated chapters for integrating Opalis with each System Center product, covering the installation of the IP and then their object uses.  Sample workflows are included with step-by-step construction examples.  It would have been nice if a bit more time had been spent with the 3rd party IPs, but the breadth of products available in this category would have easily turned this 500 page book into a huge hulking tome).

An entire chapter is then dedicated to Data Center scenarios and workflows, with many challenges to/for private cloud tackled and demonstrated.  While the challenges in this chapter are solved primarily to System Center products, you can easily see how they could be resolved with comparable technologies (Swap out System Center Service Manager for your own CMDB and Service desk product, for example).

Finally, the book discusses the Quick Integration Kit, and unlike many other resources I’ve seen out there actually covers the QIK/Opalis SDK.  This chapter is a good compliment to the QIK SDK documentation and if you are interested in IP development is definitely a must read.

The appendices are full of useful links to various online resources, many of which readers will already (or should) be familiar with.

Looking ahead – System Center Orchestrator 2012

The book is very careful with the topic of Orchestrator and does not attempt to muddy the waters – it is firmly an Opalis 6.3 book.  However nearly all the topics discussed and skills learned are directly applicable to Orchestrator and i’d still recommend the book to anyone using scorch as aside from the system requirements and Operators console, everything else is directly transferable (albiet with a slightly different dictionary – Policies are now Runbooks, Objects are now activities, etc).

Summary

In closing, I felt this was a good resource with lots of practical, helpful example workflows.  The subject matter is discussed in-depth and limitations with the product are addressed, with best practise being discussed throughout.  There are unfortunately some editorial errors in the book (in one case a displaced paragraph!) but the technical content remains error free.  This is a book I am glad to own and one I’d recommend to anyone interested in or working with Opalis 6.3 or the upcoming Orchestrator 2012.

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