A detailed how-to on lower-cost computer-system organization.
Hughes is a specialist in the Virtual Memory System computer platform, a big-budget server system used by corporations, and here he demonstrates how to lower the cost of service-oriented architecture (SOA) by creating it in-house. SOA is structured so that companies purchase the basic platform and buy additional accoutrements, called services, during the life cycle of the computer system. In the first five chapters, Hughes passionately argues that this a la carte model, though practical, has been used to the advantage of major computer companies like IBM, which make dollars hand over fist on unwitting businesses. According to his history, modern-day computer-system providers haven't had such a market advantage since the '70s, the last time SOA was in fashion. The author recommends the first, largely non-technical chapters be read by business management, but his overzealous soapbox speech isn't likely to convert people not already in agreement, especially considering that they may have made these so-called unwise investment decisions themselves. Meanwhile, SOA implementers probably don't care about the bigger picture or, if they do, are not in the position to make management decisions within their company. The first five chapters could have easily been edited down to a precise introduction. Nonetheless, the book is meant for programmers–those actually setting up the business SOA–and the meat of the book is C++ programming language code. Thankfully, Hughes includes a CD with all pertinent code and extensive instructions. With The Minimum You Need to Know, Hughes is attempting two books: One, a scathing indictment of big SOA providers, and another, a precise overview of do-it-yourself SOA. Only one is really effective.
A solid primer despite its opening rant.