Monday, September 17, 2007

Review: Apple Training Series: Mac OS X Server Essentials


Review: Apple Training Series: Mac OS X Server Essentials

Peachpit's "Apple Training Series" is generally an outstanding product line. However, there are two distinct branches to the line: knowledge and certification. This book isn't designed as much to teach you about OS X Server (Tiger edition) as it is to prepare you for a certification exam. Nothing wrong with that, it just not terribly practical for real world operations. While I haven't taken the certifcation exam, I suspect this book prepares you well for the exam since it's the "offical" curriculum of the Apple Training and Cetification program.

Similiar to other test prep books, there are goals and reviews. In particular, the book breaks down the learning into chapters with time estimates, which is helpful in preparing your learning process. The included CD has sample files to go along with the detailed and expanded exercises. The book takes you through the basics of setting up a server start to finish along with giving an overview of the rich feature set found in OS X Server.

Unfortunately, simliar to other test prep books, the book doesn't arm you with the skills necessary to properly maintain and configure a Tiger server in the real world. There is no troubleshooting guide nor much practical advice on do's and don'ts of server setup. After reading this book, I'm relatively confident I could pass the exam, but I do not feel confident I could configure or maintain a Tiger server. Nonetheless, this book is a good first step in learning OS X server. You need no prior knowledge to start using this book and to at least get a test server set up.

Overall this is a good book for beginners and/or persons trying to get certified on OS X server. The book level from Peachpit says "Intermediate/Advanced". I disagree; this is strictly for new users. If you will be maintaining a OS X server, look elsewhere for a support guide. Anyone who's setup a OS X server will be annoyed by this book.

Pros: Clear examples and easy to follow guide for beginners
Cons: No troubleshooting nor practical guidance after initial setup

Two out of five dogcows

Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right