There are handful of books on SCCM 2012, all of them good in their own right, but what I love about this book is its practicality. The book is not about giving you a history of SCCM, or explaining the inner complexities of features, or in deriving much of its content from blog posts that are curated together in a mildly organized fashion. The book is about giving you an efficient primer of how to install and put SCCM 2012 and many of its most commonly used features into production in your environment.
One of my biggest criticisms of some of the other System Center books is that there is a tendency to gloss over huge pieces of relevant information–like how to install SQL for example. All too often there will be a Step One- find a SQL DBA and have them install SQL properly for you. This is great, but not everyone has a competent SQL DBA. Kent is not afraid to get his hands dirty with SQL, and gives invaluable best practice advice like setting min and max values for memory consumption in SQL Management Studio as well as sharing his entire SQL Configuration.ini file so that you can setup your SQL server exactly as he does for his clients. (Granted the storage/hardware that you run it on will vary and this must be kept in mind, but this type of instruction is sadly lacking from most of the large orange books that while I find useful are often more suited to killing scary insects.)
The key to understanding this book is it teaches, where other books tell. I don’t want you to tell me how awesome SCCM can be, I want to be taught how to put in into production so that I can tinker with it and learn and then I can take a deeper dive at a later date with a thicker book.
I used this as a guide to setup SCCM 2012 SP1 with SQL 2012 SP1 so I had to be a little creative at times on the SQL side, but for the most part it still serves a great introduction to SCCM 2012 and SCCM 2012 SP1.
I am also very excited to learn that the SP1 2nd edition to this book is due to be out anytime now.