The team of authors who wrote this book have two things going for them - in-depth knowledge of performance analysis, and, most importantly, the ability to impart that knowledge in a crystal clear manner.
I like the way this book starts out, showing the contrast between a bricks & mortar store and its online equivalent. This introduces the basics - throughput, transaction, page and user rates, response times and states. More than an easy to follow introduction, it contains all of the key elements of performance analysis, doled out in easy to understand chunks, and sets the stage for the rest of the book.
Every facet of a typical environment is covered, including Java server performance factors, external and internal factors related to networking, load balancers, protocol behavior, and Java internals. The chapter on performance profiles of common web sites is especially useful. Different site types are characterized in a set format that shows caching potential (of the site type), any special considerations, and specific performance testing considerations. This allows you to go directly to the type of site you are going to test, get the relevant information, then proceed to conduct the testing, which is covered in subsequent chapters.
The chapters on testing begin by showing how to develop the test plan, associated test scripts, and select the right tools to support the testing. The areas covered in these chapters are comprehensive. Actual test execution and results analysis are covered in equal detail, using examples and scenarios. One especially useful chapter is 13, Common Bottleneck Symptoms, which is useful to track the cause of observed results that do not match expected ones during testing.
This book goes beyond testing, though - it also covers capacity and performance planning, which is normally a discipline onto itself. Again, excellent advice and coverage of key points. The appendices are an invaluable collection of templates, worksheets and checklists.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It exemplifies top notch writing, is well illustrated, and is technically accurate, and based on proven approaches.