Chapter 3: Network Architecture from our upcoming Presentation Server 4.5 book is now online

As of this month it's officially been more than five years since I've written a book about Citrix.

As of this month it's officially been more than five years since I've written a book about Citrix. (Before I had a blog even!) The Presentation Server 4.5 book that I originally thought would be out  in January 2007 is still a work in progress.

I've learned a lot about Citrix in the past five years. So much that I'm actually completely rewriting this book from scratch instead of trying to update or patch the old book.

The delay in this book was caused by the simple fact that I always had something "more urgent" on my schedule. The realities of running a business meant that I had to focus on writing and teaching and speaking and consulting since all of these things paid the bills. It was easy to put off the book because it was so far in the future.

But after months upon months of delays, I realized that I would never find time to finish this book--I needed to make time. So recently I sat down to get it done. Now I've cleared my schedule and am making it happen. I've reset the estimated publication date to April 2008.

However, one of the things I mentioned about this book to many of you before is that it's my intention to make this book absolutely 100% free and available online. Of course there will still be a paper version that you can buy in the book store or on Amazon or wherever, but the content will be online for everyone. I believe there are several advantages to doing this:

  • Readers of the website can leave feedback and share comments (both for catching any errors as well as suggesting new ideas.). This will enable us to incorporate these ideas and allow the book to represent ideas from the entire community.
  • Google will index the content, ultimately driving more users to the site and creating a larger community which can then share more ideas
  • Anyone unsure of whether they want to buy the book will be able to read it online first.
  • The website can always stay up-to-date, both for versions of the book and versions of Citrix's products.

It's possible that we'll lose a lot of sales because the content is freely available online. But it's also possible that we'll get more sales because more people will find the book who wouldn't have known about it otherwise. None of these is as important as creating a quality product, and putting the content online with comments and ratings will sure help with that!

To that end, we'll be publishing the chapters of the book bit-by-bit as they're written and created. You could almost think of this like a "realtime" book or a "beta" book. Last week we published some sections of Chapter 3: Presentation Server Network Architecture. (This is the chapter about farm design, data stores, zones, data collectors, etc.) I finished up this chapter over the weekend, so now it's completely available for you to read. (It hasn't been grammar checked and there are no diagrams yet, but the content is there.)

So if you're interested, take few moments to read Chapter 3 of our new book, and keep an eye out for future sections. We'll most likely add future sections of the book directly to the home page, so you will be able to read them just as you can read any article on the site today.

A few notes:

There are some strange formatting issues on the book page around the table of contents box. We'll try to get those straightened out this week.

Also, some people have wondered whether I'll continue to write this Presentation Server 4.5 book with Presentation Server "Delaware" due to be released in the May timeframe. The answer is "yes," I'm still going to do the PS 4.5 book. Remember that Delaware will only run on Windows Server 2008, and CPS 4.5 will continue to receive new features (via Feature Packs) over the next several years. My plan is to begin writing the Delaware book as soon as I'm done with the CPS 4.5 book, and I would envision that I'll keep both books current and available for the next few years.

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I think its a great idea Brian, i will still buy it in hardcopy, but it will be great to have it online for everyone interested to reference :-)


Brain, thanks for coming clean and telling us the full scoop about this book.  I'm bummed that I won't get my hands on it for a while, but then again I am also happy that you are doing this.  I have been eagerly awaiting more info on the book, and I'm glad to see that it is still being made.  In the meantime does anyone know of any other good 4.5 books out there that I could buy today, and read while I wait?

Grasshopper wisdom...



I'm in the same situation.  I'll happily read it online but I'll most likely purchase the book when it is available.  After sitting in front of the screen all day sometimes it is nice to change reading formats.  Plus its a little hard to dogear the computer.... ;^)


As far as any other Citrix 4.5 books out there I don't believe they exist.  Something that I just realized was that there were a couple of Citrix books that look very similar but are different.

There are the following:

Citrix Access Suite 4 for Windows Server 2003:  The Official Guide (Sep 2006)

Citrix Access Suite 4 Advanced Concepts:  The Official Guide, Second Edition (Jan 2006)

Citrix Access Suite Security for IT Administrators




I know you touched on the subject before but is there any chance of delivering it as a PDF?  To be able to print it off, search through it with Acrobat Reader, or have Microsoft Desktop Search index it would be beneficial.



I already have my order with Amazon for the paper version. Its great you are making it freely available online - but hardcopy is the best way for me!
The online free version will be web only. We will make a PDF available. However, that will be pay-for. Most likely you'll pay some price which will give you access to the most recent version of the PDF for up to one year, so you can "generate" a PDF at any time that will always be up-to-date. We'll also do something for people who buy the paper version of the PDF access for a year or something like that.

I guess you are suggesting i should stay in the grass?



Seeing as you are considering making a web edition of the book, wouldnt it be cool to just expand this "web book" concept to include the delaware improvements. I am thinking you could let others from your team do chapters and contribute in that way and as many others, you could release the book in 'editions'. So it would be like Brian Madden Presentation Server - Edition XX.

The web-book could be free or charged by subscription. Would be great with an ever expanding set of best practice/experiences which would be renewed as things changed.


Any chance of getting a a read-only PDF that would not allow for printing, but something that we could save off for offline access (i.e. laptops on the road, closed networks, etc.), as it is being written?  I understand for wanting people to pay for a version which could be dynamically generated adn then be printed, but what about a free pdf version that disallows printing?

The DRM in Acrobat is very easy to crack, so if we ever released a PDF it would be unrestricted. (i.e. allow printing, etc.) The reason we haven't released a PDF so far, to be totally honest, is because we don't yet have that feature finished in our web CRM system. So right now the only way to do a PDF would be to manually copy and paste all the various HTML sections into Word or something and then "save as" PDF.

There are PDF generating SDKs that you can buy to integrate into web apps, and that's what our plan is. It's just that for now we're trying to finish up the new BriForum website and the new store, then we'll look at the PDF thing


Yeah I think a lot of the words will be the same, but we'll probably have to "fork" the book when Delaware comes out. The reason is that since Citrix is planning on continuing to release Feature Packs for PS 4.5 for Windows 2003 well into the future, I think the products might diverga a bit in terms of what they can do and how they work. Also, of course, CPS 4.5 will only be for Windows 2003 and CPS Delaware will only be for Windows 2008, so a lot of the architecture and licensing stuff will be different.

Then again, a lot of the strategy chapters and WI stuff will be the same. What's cool with our content management system is that we can add the same piece of content into multiple book "packages," so we can use the same WI content for both books, while having separate Windows Licensing content.

I truly believe the Delaware book will not take too long to write.. I think going from Windows 2003 to 2008 will be the bulk of the work.


Well BRain, thanks foR still wRiting that book. I'll Read it online but will pRobably buy it when it comes available in the bookstoRe.

I'm wRiting capital R because the small R doesn't show when typing !? 


Looking forward to it.. one book or two books doesnt matter to me, just the thought of the information in one convinient location and updated as things progress sound excellent to me. :-)





it's great that you're making it free online, i'll still get my firm to buy one though!