Book Review :: Designing and Developing Scalable IP Networks

Scaleable Networks

Designing and Developing Scalable IP Networks
by Guy Davies
Hardcover: 302 pages
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN-13: 978-0470867396

3starsDecent information with a hefty price tag…

The title of this book “Designing and Developing Scalable IP Networks” would lead one to believe that reading this book would give the reader special insight into certain architectural approaches that would enable the network designer to build very large and expansive networks. And while the book certainly did provide some useful information, I found it lacking somewhat in details. The author does not delve into the minutiae of the various protocols, such as message types, protocol interaction, etc. Instead, the author assumes the reader already has a solid understanding of the basic principles of IP networking and the protocols associated with IP routing and switching. The author states early on that the book is meant to “examine the architectural and design principles that can be applied to designing and building scalable IP and MPLS networks”, however after a thorough reading I did not find that I was substantially more educated in the subject matter. And herein lies the crux – this book, which is priced in at a whopping $130 – is far more expensive than other texts of a similar nature, some of which cover far more expansive material and cost considerably less. Furthermore, the book is too light on details to be sufficiently useful to someone who is new to the industry and looking to gain a better understanding of what is required to build large-scale networks, and is unlikely to provide the experienced network architect with useable knowledge beyond that which he or she may already possess.

That being said, there is decent treatment of MPLS and Generalized MPLS, MPLS VPNs, QoS, and IPv6. And there certainly are a few good nuggets of information to be found throughout the book. For example, there is very good information on route-reflection, such as the pro’s and con’s of using the same cluster-id on a pair of route-reflectors running in a pair. It also examines practical deployment information for such mechanisms as graceful-restart, citing the fact that enabling BGP graceful-restart without enabling a similar mechanism in the IGP is likely to reduce the benefit of enabling such a mechanism in the first place. And while this is one of the few texts that I have seen on the market that broaches the subject of graceful-restart, I welcome the author to include more information on this subject in subsequent editions.

All in all I would say that this is a good desk side reference if one wants a text which covers the main protocols and mechanisms in use in large Service Provider networks, but if you are looking for a text which will enable you to build large-scale networks you might be somewhat disappointed in the treatment, especially considering the hefty price tag of this item.