Book reviews and update

azjagazjag Member Posts: 579 ■■■■■■■□□□
Hey everybody,
I’ve been so wrapped up in my new position that I didn’t make time for my favorite forum. First off, the job is great. It is a one man shop with 50 physical servers (down from 63 and shrinking), 90 virtual (up from ~70 and growing =) ) on 14 hosts, and about 1200 users spread across 6 locations. They experienced explosive growth over the last 3-4 years and the admins before me did their best to keep up. Sadly it feels like they watched the environment but didn’t manage it. Lots of tribal knowledge went with them as figuring out the environment has been clumsy and addressing Band-Aid’s seems to cause an outage or break something. It has been a long journey and even included working on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day to make major modifications to the environment. Think cable rats nest in 4 datacenters, 7-10 year old servers, serious “WTF” design implementations, and test software on production equipment. Next time I will ask to tour the datacenter prior to accepting a position so I have a better idea of what I’m getting into.

Aside from working 60hr weeks I’ve been reading lots of VMware books. Thanks to the kindle app on the iPad this has made lugging 400-900 page books a lot easier. I am working towards taking the VCAP-DCA in July and have been reading and working in the labs quite a bit. I would like to share with you some of the books I’ve been reading.

Just about everybody knows about “Mastering VMware vSpere 5 by Scott Lowe. I keep a copy of this on my desk to reference and loan out as needed as well as owning the kindle edition. Highly recommend this book.
Mastering VMware vSphere 5: Scott Lowe: 9780470890806: Books

Administering vSphere 5: Planning, Implementing and Troubleshooting by John Hales, Brian Eiler and Steve Jones is an essential edition to the beginning and intermediate levels. I have this on the kindle only as I didn’t want to commit to carrying around a 930 page book. This book, as the name implies, goes through the planning, implementing and troubleshooting aspects of the vSphere product. It includes walkthroughs and lots of pictures as well as explaining the options on every feature. If you are starting out on vSphere I would pick this one up first and read through it then pick up Scott Lowe’s book.
Administering vSphere 5: Planning, Implementing and Troubleshooting: John Hales, Brian Eiler, Steve Jones: 9781435456549: Books

Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0 by Mostafa Khalil is great book for those managing storage environments or wants a deeper understanding of the different ways you can implement storage in vSphere. As with all the books I mention, the first few chapters are introductions, the history of the technology and how it got to where it is now and what to look for in the future. I was able to skim through the first few chapters of this one to get to the really good content. At 700 pages this one is also on my kindle. I found it a valuable reference when upgrading the FC and iSCSI SAN’s at 3 of my datacenters. This book alone caused me to re-evaluate the current design of the storage architecture at one of my datacenters and work on Christmas day to implement those changes. I would recommend this book for people with a little more experience and exposure to different environments as it will add to your understanding of this expansive subject. Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0 (VMware Press) (9780321799937): Mostafa Khalil: Books

VMware vSphere 5.1 Clustering Deep dive (Volume 1) by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman is another great read if you are looking to understand the inner workings of the clustering feature of vSphere. VMware vSphere 5.1 Clustering Deepdive (Volume 1): Duncan Epping, Frank Denneman: 9781478183419: Books

Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments by Sean Crookston and Harley Stanger. I had high hopes for this book but was a little let down. At 256 pages it is the smallest book in my library and was not worth the $35 price in my opinion. A lot of the information can be found in the books I have already mentioned or with a Google search. There are a few good nuggets of information spread throughout the book, but not enough to make up for the lack of content on the given subject. Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments (9780321820471): Sean Crookston, Harley Stagner: Books
Currently Studying:
VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA) (Passed)
VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Design (VCAP5-DCD)


  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Great review! I can vouch for the Deepdive book, it's just that and a great reference book. You've just convinced me to buy Mostafa Khalil's book, I had been putting it off for a while and it should be a great addition to my vSphere reading material.

    Are you intending to sit the DCA or the DCD?
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >>
  • azjagazjag Member Posts: 579 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I'm looking at taking the DCA exam in July and the DCD within the next 12 months. I want to take the Optimize and Scale course prior to sitting for the exam but have to save up the money. VMUG discounts and side work are helping to make that a reality.
    Currently Studying:
    VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA) (Passed)
    VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Design (VCAP5-DCD)
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