Network Warrior by Gary A. Donahue

Upshot: And you may find yourself…in a machine room or data center. You will need this book. Pros: If you just passed your CCNA exam, or have started working with enterprise level Cisco kit, there’s a lot here for you. Cons: If you DON’T work with Cisco kit, why are you here?

For anyone not acquainted with data-centers & network operations, Network Warrior by Gary A. Donahue shows you how the other hardware half lives. When the author says ‘you should have passed the CCNA’ he’s very serious. There are NO EXPLANATIONS of basic Cisco terms. If you are not versed in TCP/IP and SOME Cisco kit, you will be spending a LOT of time in Google. And probably asking yourself why you bought this book.

Those cautions aside, there are gems of ‘best practices’ for non Cisco or smaller network techs here: Amid the Cisco jargon you will find practical advice even for your small business or SOHO LAN, like in Ch. 27 ‘Basic Firewall Theory’, or Chapter 29 on different flavors of 802.11x WiFi and how to secure it. The author even introduces IPv6, with one of the most straightforward explanations I’ve read yet.

But what really makes this book worth it are the backstories & practical advice from a veteran to new engineers on how to handle failure scenarios, as well as the politics involved in maintaining large networks.

In fact, everything from Chapter 39 (‘Failure’), Chapter 40 (‘GAD’s Maxims’) to Chapter 41 (‘Avoiding Frustration’) would be welcome in any IT, infosec or dev reference.

In short, I would somewhat recommend this book for non-CCNA folks interested in Network Engineering or Infrastructure. But I would highly recommend Network Warrior for the audience for which it was intended.

Disclosure: I received the eBook download from O’Reilly for review purposes. I’m not a CCNA but have been around. Did I mention Geek of Various?