As more and more organizations are deploying or upgrading to Exchange Server 2013 I'm seeing an increased number of questions about which Exchange Server 2013 books are the best to read.
I haven't written any book reviews for Exchange Server 2013 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I prefer to actually read all (or most) of a book before writing an opinion about it. Secondly, book reviews are quite boring to write, and I suspect equally as boring to read. There is a standard formula to most book reviews and you really don't need me to tell you what the table of contents for a book already says.
What I think would be more useful is some ideas around which books suit which audiences, so that you can choose what will hopefully be the best book for your needs. There is no one book that is perfect or covers the entire product for all scenarios, so it is possible you will end up with two or three of them to get the coverage you really need in your job.
So here goes.
Deploying and Managing Exchange Server 2013 High Availability
This is an ebook written by Exchange Server MVPs Paul Cunningham, Michael Van Horenbeeck and Steve Goodman. As the title suggests this ebook is all about Exchange Server 2013 high availability, and starts off by explaining some high level concepts before diving in to the technical detail of each server role's specific high availability features and requirements.
Topics covered in this ebook including namespace planning, load balancing, database availability groups, and site resilience, as well as a whole lot more.
Found out more here.
Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out
Inside Out is actually two books written by long-time MVPs Tony Redmond and Paul Robichaux.
Writing about Exchange Server 2013 in enough depth as a single volume would simply be too big a task (and too big a book for us to have to handle, if you're one of those folks who still likes print books).
Let me just say that these two gentlemen are very well respected MVPs not only due to the length of their tenure, but also because of the depth of understanding they have of all things Microsoft Exchange Server, and their ability to communicate that through books and training sessions. So you can be confident that the Inside Out books are top notch.
I would recommend these titles to anyone who wants to learn not just step by step skills, but also gain a very deep understanding of the features of Exchange Server 2013 and some of the history and reasons that those features have developed the way they are today.
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out Mailbox and High Availability
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out Connectivity, Clients and UM
Exchange Server 2013: Design, Deploy and Deliver an Enterprise Messaging Solution
As I write this the book has two bad reviews on Amazon, which is surprising because this is an excellent book written by three people who are experts in the field (two work for Microsoft and one is an MVP and MCM).
I honestly think this was a simple misunderstanding about the purpose of this book, which is actually quite clearly stated in the Amazon blurb by statements such as “Focuses on the Exchange ecosystem rather than just the features and functions of the Exchange product” and “Focuses on scenarios facing real customers and explains how problems can be solved and requirements met“.
This is a book about designing and delivering a solution that meets business needs, not just about administering the system post-deployment (though you will clearly learn a lot about that anyway).
So I would recommend this title for those who will most likely be designing, deploying and delivering Exchange 2013 solutions for customers (just as the title suggests :)).
Exchange Server 2013 PowerShell Cookbook – Second Edition
This book is an update to the excellent Exchange Server 2010 PowerShell Cookbook, which I am a big fan of. Even as a second edition there is plenty of new content inside.
I would recommend this title to Exchange administrators who are proficient with Exchange but who stick primarily to the GUI admin tools, as well as administrators who are new to Exchange but smart enough to know that PowerShell is where the most efficient work can be performed.
Exchange 2013 Cookbook
Another “cookbook” style book, this time about Exchange 2013 in general rather than being focussed on PowerShell.
Full disclosure: I was a technical reviewer for this book. However I receive no compensation or royalties for book sales. On the other hand, it also means I have read every single word in the book 🙂
With MVP and MCM Michael Van Horenbeeck as an author you know the content in this book is going to be solid. The “cookbook” style involves demonstrating specific tasks and then explaining in more detail what has just happened. This makes it both a good front to back read as well as a good reference to dip into from time to time.
I would recommend this title for administrators (or “accidental administrators” as the book refers to them) who need a quick reference to help them with ad-hoc tasks, or for someone who is looking for a book that they can work through with a test lab to learn more about Exchange Server 2013 (though I can't vouch for it either way in terms of suitability for exam preparation).
A year into the release of Exchange Server 2013 we are now seeing a good number of solid titles available for those of us looking to study and learn more about the product.
What about other titles?
There are certainly more Exchange 2013 books available than just those listed above. Either I have not read them yet, or have read them and would not recommend them, or have decided they are not worth reading due to some other factor, and so I have not included them here.
If more good quality titles are released in future I will certainly update this post to include them.
If you'd like to share your own opinions or experience with any Exchange Server 2013 books please feel free to leave a comment below.