Exchange 2013 achieved RTM status in October 2012 but it39s only now that a reasonable set of books covering the latest version of Microsoft39s enterprise email server have started to appear This might just mean that sufficient knowledge about the new software exists to allow deployments to begin in earnest or that the writers were clever enough to wait for Microsoft to release updates for Exchange 2013 like CU1 to allow coexistence alongside Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007

Exchange 2013 achieved RTM status in October 2012 but it's only now that a reasonable set of books covering the latest version of Microsoft's enterprise email server have started to appear. This might just mean that sufficient knowledge about the new software exists to allow deployments to begin in earnest; or that the writers were clever enough to wait for Microsoft to release updates for Exchange 2013, like CU1 to allow co-existence alongside Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007.

Exchange 2013 books gradually appear - deployments must be starting

The batch of new Exchange 2013 books that have recently appeared or will soon be published must be a sure sign that the product is entering a period when deployment activity intensifies. Authors have had time to digest the changes that Microsoft has made in Exchange 2013; Microsoft has had the chance to sort out some of the bugs that existed in the RTM release and improve the product functionality. All in all, the stars are aligning to allow deployments to ramp up. So what books have attracted my attention?

First up, there’s “Microsoft Exchange Server 2013: Design, Deploy and Deliver an Enterprise Messaging Solution” by Nathan Winters, Nicolas Blank, and Neil Johnson. Nathan and Neil work for Microsoft in the U.K. and Nicolas is an Exchange MVP based in South Africa. This book “focuses on scenarios facing real customers and explains how problems can be solved and requirements met” (some convoluted English there…), promising to cover both on-premises Exchange 2013 as well as Office 365. Sounds good. I haven’t seen a copy of the book as it’s due to be published on July 29, but knowing the authors, I am sure that they will do a fine job.

Nathan has been busy recently because he has written Mastering Microsoft Lync Server 2013 with Keith Hanna, released on June 4. 2013. It's pretty impressive to have two books appearing in two months!  

May 22 saw the publication of “Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 PowerShell Cookbook: Second Edition”. The first edition (for Exchange 2010) was written by Mike Pfeiffer, then an MVP and now working for Microsoft. Mike is joined by Jonas Andersson to create this edition and if (as I am sure it will) this book lives up to the standard of the Exchange 2010 version, it will be a splendid addition to a bookshelf.

In September, “Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2013” is scheduled to appear. The lead author is David Elfassy, another Exchange MVP. I believe others are contributing chapters to the book but this detail is currently available. According to its marketing blurb, this book promises “Like the earlier editions, this comprehensive guide covers every aspect of installing, configuring, and managing this multifaceted collaboration system”. Certainly, the previous editions in the Mastering Exchange series have both sold well and satisfied readers and I’m sure that another good book will appear.

Already available, “Exchange Server 2013 Step by Step” is a self-published book by Raihan Al-Beruni. I think writing and publishing a book on your own is a very laudable achievement. However, based on my own experience, I think that it must be very difficult to produce text that is both technically accurate and interesting. Those of us who are fortunate enough to work with publishing houses like Microsoft Press appreciate the support that we get from series editors, copy editors, technical reviewers, indexers, and publishing specialists, all of whom come together to create a good-looking book. True, even books by the best publishing house can contain errors, but generally it’s easier to publish a better book when you have support. In addition, the packages offered to authors by self-publishing companies such as Amazon’s CreateSpace tend to favour text-heavy books rather than the graphics that are often required to illustrate technical points. Although I dislike books that include masses of screen shots to bulk out their pages, some screen shots and other illustrations are usually required. It’s good to see self-published books about Exchange appear but I fear that this is not the one that proves that they can make an impression.

The grandfather of Exchange 2013 books is “Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Unleashed”, which appeared soon after the product achieved RTM status in October 2012. The fact that this book was published then tells its own story. I think that it is impossible to tell the full story about an application server when you base everything on beta code and write without real knowledge of how the server works in production. In addition, much has changed since RTM as CU1 has appeared and CU2 is on its way, not to mention the release of Exchange 2010 SP3 and Exchange 2007 SP3 RU10. For these reasons, I cannot recommend the Unleashed book to you.

Other books will appear soon. Sigi Jagott and Joel Stidley are working hard on Exchange 2013 Best Practices for Microsoft Press and Paul Robichaux and I are plugging away on our two-volume Exchange 2013 Inside Out set, which we embarked upon after concluding that there is too much technology in Exchange 2013 to be adequately explained in a single book. At least, a book that won't break your toe if you drop it. In October we hope to see my svelt 800-page Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out: Mailbox and High Availability and Paul's ultra-portable 600-page Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out: Connectivity, Clients, and UM that includes the positively best chapter you will ever read on the topic of Unified Messaging. Both books will be as up-to-date with Exchange cumulative updates as is humanly possible.

We hope that these books are worthy additions for your consideration. At least, that’s the plan…

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna

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