Book Review: IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design

Last week I ordered my copy of IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design.

The authors, John Arrasjid VCDX001 (@vcdx001), Mark Gabryjelski VCDX023 (@MarkGabbs), and Chris McCain VCDX017 (@hcmccain) have provided a fantastic book which can be used for reference, and as a guide, to developing an enterprise class datacenter infrastructure design. They also provide a tremendous amount of insight into the process of developing a design suitable for VCDX submission.

IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design is well written and an easy read. I read it cover to cover over a couple nights. I found myself marking multiple pages to refer back to. It is packed with a great deal of useful information for both the seasoned Architect and those who are looking to gain a bit more insight on the process for creating a high quality design. The book focuses on enterprise class, but the design process can easily be (and should be) applied to any size or type of datacenter design.

In the beginning of the book the design methodology is outlined and there are tidbits of knowledge and perspectives on Art of Infrastructure Design which the authors collected from enterprise design architects and nearly all the current VCDX holders. Here is my contribution as it appears in the book:

IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design covers the design methodology in depth, from developing the conceptual design by identifying the design requirements, constraints, documenting assumptions, and calling out risks, to forming the logical design, and finally creating the physical design. The book provides some great examples for documenting requirements based on customer inputs and current state assessments.

Throughout the book there are VCDX Notes which offer some useful nuggets of knowledge on how to apply the topics to a VCDX design and defense. Man to have had access to this a couple of years ago. Definitely some helpful tips for anyone pursuing VCDX. There are also exercises at the end of each chapter which not only provide a review of the chapter, but also a way for you to start thinking, and questioning the decision you make when applying the books concepts to your own design.

Two complete sample designs, a virtual server infrastructure design and a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) design, are included in the book. Not only do these designs cover two different infrastructure types, the designs also showcase different styles which can be used to document a design. For example the server infrastructure design example uses ordered list when documenting the conceptual design while the VDI design uses tables to document this information. Each sample design highlights the importance of providing justifications for design decisions and mapping these back to the requirements.

Finally the book wraps up with analysis of the design and presenting and defending the design. The information on analysis of the design and creating and defending the design will definitely be helpful to VCDXs preparing to defend.

As I said I have read IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design cover to cover marking a ton of content throughout the book to refer back to. With the VCDX tips, the sample designs, the tips for analysis, and the guides for preparing a presentation to defend the design, this will definitely become a go to reference for architects preparing to defend VCDX.

I can wrap this review up in one word “AWESOME!”

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