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Category Archives: Books

Deploying the VMware Infrastructure: interview with co-author John Arrasjid

This slim (85 page) and inexpensive ($20) new book,  Deploying the VMware Infrastructure, gives an overview over the both VMware’s product portfolio as well the current practice of virtualization. It was written in a collaboratiion between employees both at VMware and VAC partner INX — John Arrasjid (VMware), Daniel Conde (VMware), Karthik Balachandran (VMware), Gary Lamb (INX) and Steve Kaplan (INX). Some of the authors will be signing books Wednesday at noon at the VMworld Bookstore.

I asked co-author John Arrasjid a few questions about the book. John leads our BC/DR professional services practice and has seen the inside of quite a few data centers.

Why did you write this book?

We continue to get questions for an all-in-one reference that covered a description and use for each of our products and details on use cases, ROI, and core VI3.5 implementations. We are constantly being asked for a single place to go other than a website for this type of information. It has two purposes: knowledge transfer for those to virtualization, and how additional VMware technologies can fit into a VMware Infrastructure deployment. After teaching tutorials on VMware technology since about 2005 (USENIX, LISA, VMworld, LinuxWorld, etc.) I started to talk to a number of publishers about the concept. USENIX saw a fit right away given the demand for more information on virtualization technologies. We worked out the content, solicited contributors, and completed the book. This is not a deep dive, it is a technology overview with coverage on the areas we get the most questions about.

Who’s the audience for this book and why should they pick it up?

Part of this answers is in the previous question. Individuals new to virtualization, VMware technology, or the suite of products will benefit.

It’s a technical book, but would my boss understand it?

Your boss is part of the target audience.

Technical books are supposed to be thick! What gives?

All details on installation and configuration can be found in manuals or specific technology books like the Advanced ESX Configuration guide by Harold and Oglesby. We did not want to repeat material that was already available in detail on the configurations. We wanted to focus on the areas that are available but in many places on the web and in manuals so that it was all in one place and written in a language that would appeal to those with and without skills in our technology.

You pack a lot of content into 85 pages. What topic was the hardest to leave out?

Details on some of the newest technologies like VMware Site Recovery Manager, Lab Manager, Software Lifecyle Manager, Stage Manager, and ACE. We cover an overview on each of these areas except for B-hive. All have a big play in an enterprise deployment but this booklet needed to be short to fit the Short Topics in System Administration guidelines. Consider this as focused on the core areas that we deploy: ESX Server, VirtualCenter Server, and VDI/VDM. This covers the server to the desktop in enterprise deployments.

I’ve never bought a book from Usenix & SAGE – will it be available in all the normal places?

Typically USENIX and SAGE have done distribution through their online presence. Digital Guru runs the VMware bookstore and is offering the booklet for pre-order now and will be carrying copies at the VMworld conference.

OK, I read the book and want to get my VCP. Now what should I read next?

You’ll need your training on VI 3.5 and to pass the VCP certification exam. Study the class materials, study the labs, and get hands on! Once you have the VCP you can then move on to the next step which is the VCDX certification. This is the VMware Certified Design Expert and is designed for those architecting VMware Infrastructures.

Fender or Gibson?

I’m a Gibson player but my main axe is a Carvin Custom Shop. That’s what I use when I play with Elastic Sky, or with The Hypervisors, the two VMware bands. Here’s a question for your readers: Do you know the tie-in between Elastic Sky and VMware?

Interview: VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise author Edward Haletky

I recently sat down (at my keyboard) to talk (via email) with Edward Haletky about his new book, VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers. For more info about Edward, see his bio or his VMware Communities page, where he is a Virtuoso and a User Moderator.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? How did you come to write this book?
When I started visiting customers to discuss, review, and install VMware
ESX Server with them, I would write them a document that covered the
discussions and configurations used at the customer site. It got to the
point that I would use the document as basis for a custom document for
each customer; I would drop a section, add a new one, increase another,
and remove from a different section. Eventually I had enough information
to generate a framework for a book and took that step. It has been a
crazy ride since then.

Who is the audience for your book — what role, what level of experience? Is the book useful if you’ve never touched ESX before? Is the book useful if you already have your VCP?

The book is designed for everyone. It can be used by the seasoned
Administrator as a reference, or by the beginner as a primer.

The book’s title is "VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers". Security seems highly emphasized. Can you discuss why you felt this was important enough to put in the title?
When I started discussing security and ESX it was with early versions of
ESX v2. I was speaking a VMTexas on the subject and had an audience that
was quite large for the small conference. The discussion was supposed to
be for 1 hour, it lasted close to 3. People were hungry for information
on how to secure their ESX Servers. I still find that is the case, and
while more and more people understand how to do this, the general ESX
Administrator is not a Security Administrator and can miss very simple
things that could cause havoc. With the advent of VI3, I found that it
was still very important regardless of the vast improvements to
security. Virtualization has moved from the dark recesses of the data
center to a critical central role within a data center, with that comes
an increase in the need for security awareness.

One of the more popular books in the ESX 2.5 timeframe was Oglesby &  Herold’s "ESX Server: Advanced Technical Design Guide". How does the scope of your book compare, and will it be of interest to people who already have other ESX books?
I actually have that book and I consider my book complementary to their
books. It duplicates some coverage but I try to look at things from a
different perspective and really go into best practices for each aspect
of implementing VI3. The Virtualization Administrator needs to be a jack
of all trades covering hardware, networking, security, storage, etc.
This book gives them a primer on how these aspects of virtualization
touch on a VI3 server. The book can also be used by the Security
Administrator, Storage Administrator, Network Administrators, etc. to
get an understanding of Virtualization so that they can contribute to
the successful implementation of Virtualization within the data center.
All the teams need to work together and understand every aspect of
virtualization in order to have a successfull implementation.

What’s the biggest mistake that people encounter when planning or rolling out their virtual infrastructure?
The biggest mistake I find is that people do not plan enough. I give
examples through out the book that relate to this. I think people need
to plan, plan, and then plan some more. It is very easy to get started
with ESX, but to do it well takes good planning.

Where do people see the biggest advantage or ROI after rolling out their virtual infrastructure?
Outside of the Power consumption and space issues, I find that the
biggest ROI is in uptime and redundancy. With multiple VI3 servers  it
is possible to handle most general failures with an ease that is
incredible. vMotion, Storage vMotion,  HA, and DRS have changed the
world as we know it. It is possible to keep machines running for longer.
Last but definitely not least full VMDK backups have greatly reduced the
time necessary to restore VMs to new servers during Disasters.

Although your book is mostly about planning and implementing the technology, you have a chapter on one topic I’d almost define as a use case: Disaster Recovery. Why did you include this (as opposed to VDI or even Server Consolidation) and what’s been your experience with how virtualization
enables disaster recovery?

I covered Disaster Recovery and Backup because I think this needs to be
planned into VI3 before it is rolled out. The Virtualization Servers are
too important to just add this as an after thought. Good DR planning
requires integration at almost all levels of VI3 roll out. This could
affect the Storage devices used, the need for more software, networking,
and how VMs are laid out. The chapter goes through common disasters and
how virtualization can be used to mitigate the risk, as well as the
myriad of ways disaster recovery backups can be made using the
technology available. DR is too important to leave as an after thought.
While it is the last chapter of the book, it is an important
consideration when planning your Virtualization roll out.

Does the book include anything on ESX Server 3.5 or 3i? What do like or dislike about the newest versions of VI?
The book unfortunately does not cover VI3.5 but the website for the book
does cover the necessary changes to the book for VI3.5 and 3i. This is a
work in progress. I have no real issues with VI3.5 other than MSCS is
not yet supported and that hardware requirements have changed pretty
drastically requiring more firmware updates. But I do have issues with
3i, as there is no current way to implement security auditing, and
monitoring of the system.

You include some thoughts on the future of virtualization. Care to share some of your thoughts?
I think that the Quad Core CPU has changed virtualization, in the past
we often had CPU related issues, that are now no longer prevalent due to
the introduction of the quad core. A Quad Quad-Core box with 256GBs of
RAID Memory is a monster virtualization box. When that goes to Quad
8-core, it will be even better. The main concern now, is that people are
running out of memory long before they run out of processor. Before it
was CPU, now it is memory and disk IO. I see a time when it is possible
to do more than DRS, when it will be possible to change nearly every
aspect of a VM without the need to reboot the VM. I look forward to that
as it will aid in load balancing resources amongst all VMs on a single
host. An example is the ability to add memory to the VM without a reboot.

Thanks, Edward!

Sample chapters from VI3 Advanced Technical Guide

Mike Laverick writes at RTFM Education: Vi3 Authors release sample chapter.

Myself, Ron Olgesby and Scott Herold have released a FREE sample chapter of our eagerly expected book. The PDF is free, and a hard-copy can be bought for a nominal fee. Remember this is not the full book just a free sample chapter. Enjoy!


It’s actually 3 chapters, VirtualCenter and Cluster Design, Recovery and Business Continuity, and Installing ESX 3.x. The hard-copy is $6.73 to cover the cost of printing the 110 page excerpt, which will take 3 weeks to arrive in your mailbox.

Good bedtime reading and a good way to prep for VMworld.

The site for the book is www.vi3book.com.

RapidApp’s Quick Start guide to ESX 3.0

At VMworld 2006, one of the hottest items on the expo floor was a little booklet that RapidApp was giving away at their booth. It’s now available in electronic or dead tree version. Link: RapidApp’s Quick Start guide to ESX 3.0

VMTN Forums regular Jason Boche gives it two thumbs up:

This book is a fantastic resource for those with moderate to expert
experience (the more, the better) with VMware VirtualCenter 1.x and
VMware ESX 1.x/2.x. I planned much of our corporate VI3 implementation
based on this book. The Quick Start Guide is not a replacement for all
of the VMware .PDF documentation of which there is easily over 500
pages, maybe over 700. This book is also not an Advanced Technical
Design Guide. It’s a quick and dirty substitute boiled down to 171
pages for those who can hit the ground running with VMware, and it will
fit in your back pocket. As with any first edition, I cannot say this
book is without some spelling/grammar mistakes and more importantly a
few technical inaccuracies, but they are few and far between and I look
forward to them being corrected in the 2nd edition. I obtained a copy
of this book at VMworld 2006 but that copy is nearly worn out so I
purchased an additional copy. I highly recommend this book. Two thumbs

[via DABCC]

New Book: Professional VMware Server

New Book: Professional VMware Server by Eric Hammersley (Wrox), $26.39 at Amazon

What you will learn from this book   

  • Steps on how to install and configure VMware Server
  • Tips to follow when creating development base images
  • Methods on how to organize your image libraries and prepare them for use
  • Best practices for using VmCOM, VmPerl, and the Programming API
  • How to integrate VMware Server into your existing environment and automate its functionality
  • Ways to leverage VMware Server to provide banks of testing machines on demand


Who this book is for   

book is for software developers, lead developers, and software testing
engineers who want to integrate VMware Server into their existing
systems in order to create and test applications on various platforms.

[via virtualization.info]

New Book: VMware Server and VMware Player

Dennis Zimmer’s new  book covering VMware’s free virtualization products is now available: VMware Server and VMware Player. The way forward for Virtualization. It’s an update and translation of his original version in German. More information can be found at his site VMuser.com, including a table of contents, an index, and three free chapters on Virtual Networks, VMware Tools, and VMware Server.

Via virtualization.info — check out the virtualization.info bookstore for information on this and other books. See also the list of books that were at the VMworld bookstore.