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IT Architectures and Middleware: Strategies for Building Large, Integrated Systems (Unisys) Paperback – 6 Dec 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (6 Dec 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201709074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201709070
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,934,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The challenges of designing, building, and maintaining large-scale, distributed enterprise systems are truly daunting. Written for all IT professionals, IT Architectures and Middleware will help you rise above the obscuring conflicts of new business objectives, new technologies, and vendor wars so that you can think clearly and productively about the challenges you face.

IT Architectures and Middleware focuses on the essential principles and priorities of system design and emphasizes the new requirements brought to the fore by the rise of e-commerce and distributed, integrated systems. It offers a concise overview of middleware technology alternatives and distributed systems. Numerous increasingly complex examples are incorporated throughout, and the book concludes with guidelines on the practice of IT architecture.

Specific topics covered include:

  • Middleware technology, covering Distributed Transaction Processing, Message Queuing, CORBA, COM+ and EJB
  • Key principles of distributed systems: resiliency, performance and scalability, security, and systems management
  • Information access requirements and data consistency
  • Creation of a new presentation layer for existing applications
  • Application integration
  • Component architectures

Once you get your mind around the concepts, principles, and alternatives discussed in IT Architectures and Middleware, you can proceed with greater confidence to design complex enterprise systems.



0201709074B04062001

About the Author

Chris Britton is an independent consultant, specializing in IT architecture. He has worked in IT for the last twenty-seven years doing a variety of jobs—programming, technical support, system software design, program management, technical consultancy, and even marketing. More recently he has been spending his time developing an IT modeling tool.



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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Johnston VINE VOICE on 15 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those influential books which may make you start to think about problems in a different way.
A lot of books about architecture concentrate on simple examples and small-scale problems, and you get the feeling that's all the authors know about. Many books which do address large systems assume that you are building on a greenfield site, or can somehow ignore the legacies if you are adopting more modern tools for your new systems.
By contrast this is a book about the reality of mixed legacy and new technology environments, written by someone who clearly has real experience of large server farms, big databases, high transaction rates and, perhaps most importantly, important legacy systems with hundreds of thousands of lines of code written in COBOL . 
The book starts by discussing typical problems - things like adding new e-Business presentation layers to existing transactional legacy systems, and briefly summarises how a combination of good architectural practices and appropriate technologies can address them.
The following chapters present a brief history of large system architectures, including transaction monitors, message queuing and client-server approaches before moving on to object middleware with a discussion on CORBA, Enterprise Java and COM and its relatives. This is followed by a more detailed discussion of how different parts of systems can communicate, and how middleware can be classified. A great strength of the book throughout is that Tony is not obviously partial in the Java vs. Microsoft debate, and instead concentrates on their similarities and on strategies which should be able to work in both cases.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Nov 2001
Format: Paperback
In this book the author provides solid, pragmatic approaches to tackling the complexity of IT environments today. He shows how an architectural framework enables more rapid and cost effective implementation and integration of new systems and technologies whilst minimising risk. By following Britton's guidelines, any systems manager can be assured of greater success in adapting to the ever changing IT landscape. In addition to valuable advice, this book is also easy to read! I whole-heartedly recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
75 of 75 people found the following review helpful
A rare book that fully serves beginners & expreienced pros 4 Feb 2001
By Mike Tarrani - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is for two audiences: (1)Those who need a quick course in IT architectures in general and e-commerce architectures in particular, and (2)experienced IT architects who want to further their professional knowledge. I know this sounds like a near-impossible order for a 296 page book, but the author manages to pull off the near impossible.
My background encompasses both architectures and middleware, among other disciplines. By the time I had read 15 pages I was marveling at how well the author described complex concepts. My first thought was this book is one I would recommend to less experienced analysts and architects to kick-start their knowledge. By page 40 I was enlightened--and profoundly so--on the strengths and weaknesses of transaction process monitors vs. message queueing. I thought I knew a thing or two about these subjects based on my extensive experience with Bea's Tuxedo and more recent experience with IBM's MQSeries. After reading the brief but extremely well articulated section in the book I felt as though I really understood both approaches for the first time!
The rest of the book is a fast tour of object technology, architectures, database management and transaction management. It contains one gem of insight or knowledge after the other. While technical books are not usually "page turners" this one certainly is (that, or I seriously need to get a life). Even the short section on organizational and project management context contained great information.
To summarize: This book is well suited for both beginners and experienced professionals. The author covers a lot of ground in such a manner that the beginner can comprehend the complexities of IT architectures and the proper application of middleware. The experienced practitioner will find one thought provoking fact or insight after another that they may not have considered. The author has both wide and deep knowledge on a number of topics. He also has, in my opinion, one of the keenest minds in the industry. I hope he takes the time to write more books because I believe he made a significant contribution to the body of IT architecture knowledge with this book.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
An influential book abut the real problems of big systems 15 Feb 2002
By Andrew Johnston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of those influential books which may make you start to think about problems in a different way. 
A lot of books about architecture concentrate on simple examples and small-scale problems, and you get the feeling that's all the authors know about. Many books which do address large systems assume that you are building on a greenfield site, or can somehow ignore the legacies if you are adopting more modern tools for your new systems.
By contrast this is a book about the reality of mixed legacy and new technology environments, written by someone who clearly has real experience of large server farms, big databases, high transaction rates and, perhaps most importantly, important legacy systems with hundreds of thousands of lines of code written in COBOL . 
The book starts by discussing typical problems - things like adding new e-Business presentation layers to existing transactional legacy systems, and briefly summarises how a combination of good architectural practices and appropriate technologies can address them.
The following chapters present a brief history of large system architectures, including transaction monitors, message queuing and client-server approaches before moving on to object middleware with a discussion on CORBA, Enterprise Java and COM and its relatives. This is followed by a more detailed discussion of how different parts of systems can communicate, and how middleware can be classified. A great strength of the book throughout is that Tony is not obviously partial in the Java vs. Microsoft debate, and instead concentrates on their similarities and on strategies which should be able to work in both cases.
The core of the book starts with a discussion on the different types of "transaction" between a system and its clients (users and other systems), and how these relate to business processes. The following chapters then look at three key issues within this context: resilience; performance and scalability; and security and systems management. In each case there is a clear statement of the problems and objectives, followed by an assessment of the relative merits of various possible architectural solutions.
The final part of the book presents a process which should lead to system architectures better able to meet their non-functional requirements. Tony believes the core of the process is development of a good business process model, which then leads quite directly to an understanding of the system's components and their interactions. There's some very good advice on practical implementation approaches, and why process modelling gives better results than traditional functional analysis.
The final chapters also address key issues such as how to ensure data integrity and accessibility, and how to manage change through integration and designing for flexibility, before revisiting the process issues and summarising how the architecture should develop.
Published in 2000, this pre-dates Microsoft's .NET initiative, the emergence of vendor-neutral messaging standards and the real advent of web services. Each of these will have a major impact on the sort of systems and issues discussed in this book, and you may therefore also need to read some material more focused on these technologies and others, but that shouldn't detract from this book's value.
Overall this is an excellent book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone trying to understand the nature of large, integrated systems and their architecture.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A light lunch that left me hungry for more 3 Jun 2001
By Robert Hoeppner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To me, the book seems like a skeletal outline with emaciated meat on its bones. The pace is relatively quick. The style is conversational without being precious. The author occasionally does put forth some of his preferences for general architectural decisions, but there is no blatant favoritism toward one side of specific decisions like EJB vs .NET.
Occasionally in the earlier part of the book something would be mentioned as being more fully treated in the latter part of the book. And, in the latter part of the book, occasionally things would be mentioned as having been treated earlier in the book. Meanwhile, the pace went from topic to topic so quickly and concisely that I felt vaguely dissatisfied with the depth of coverage.
I can't say I had any moments of "aha! that's a good idea I never thought of before!" It all pretty much made sense, and it all pretty much contained what I've already been exposed to during ten years of software development. This might make for a good introduction for someone who hasn't thought much about architectural issues. It also might serve as a good quick review for someone returning to these issues after a prolonged absence. But, if you think you've already got a sense of the issues involved, you might get more out of books which go into more depth.
This is a good overview text. If you're past the point of needing introduction or review, you might not be fully satisfied. I would probably read other books by this author if they savored the issues in more depth.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Overview that clearly defines middleware 15 Dec 2001
By Linda Zarate - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The value of this book can be distilled into a succinct sentence: it describes middleware and how it's used as an architectural foundation, and provides guidance for when to use transaction-oriented and message-oriented solutions. While this sounds simplistic, consider how architects go about designing systems. They think in terms of their background and experience. An architect who comes from a data-intensive environment is apt to use a transaction monitor as a component of a solution instead of a message queuing manager that may be more appropriate. This book provides architects with a high-level view of middleware and how to select the most appropiate solution for a given design problem.
What I especially like about the book is the clear writing and well designed illustrations that combine to convey basic concepts and subtle nuances of transaction- and message-oriented middleware. If you are seeking low-level details necessary for the detailed design or build phases of a project this book will disappoint. However, if you are seeking clear and unbiased information on the strengths and weaknesses of various middleware solutions and how they serve as the foundation of distributed systems this book will almost certainly give you insights and knowledge that you can immediately put to use.
This book is a perfect complement to B2B Application Integration by David S. Linthicum, which goes into additional technical detail and covers broader issues of architecture with respect to heterogenous [legacy] system integration. Regardless of your technical environment, however, IT Architectures and Middleware is worthwhile for new and seasoned architects and IT managers.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Essential reading for sytems managers 16 Nov 2001
By Mr A McIntyre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this book the author provides solid, pragmatic approaches to tackling the complexity of IT environments today. He shows how an architectural framework enables more rapid and cost effective implementation and integration of new systems and technologies whilst minimising risk. By following Britton's guidelines, any systems manager can be assured of greater success in adapting to the ever changing IT landscape. In addition to valuable advice, this book is also easy to read! I whole-heartedly recommend it.
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