10 Years, $10, 10 Days at Packt Publishing


Packt Publishing is celebrating 10 years publishing its technical tomes and they’re inviting everyone to celebrate with them.  While this post is coming out at the tail end of the promotion, you still have time to get in on the action.  It’s good until July 5th.

You can buy as many books as you like for $10 each.  Check out their deals here:

http://bit.ly/1t0pcav


Initial thoughts: VMware vSphere 5.x Datacenter Design Cookbook


I was recentDatacenterDesignly given the privilege to review Packt Publishing’s recent book about vSphere design.  I was immediately pleased to see that recent VCDX (graduate? achiever?) Hersey Cartwright of #vBrownbag fame was the sole author.  I always appreciate knowing what I’m about to put in my brain came from a trustworthy source.  I see in his author bio, though, early in the book, that he’s “only” recognized as a VCAP, not a VCDX (VCAPs are all-stars to begin with, dont’ get me wrong).  So he must have at least started working on this before he achieved rock-star status.  I couldn’t help but think as I read on how much writing this book must have helped his VCDX attempt. 

I’ve read a lot, I mean a lot, of VMware books and articles and blog posts – just about everything I can get my hands on – and everything in this book I kept nodding along with. There were many times Hersey would broach a subject and I’d immediately look for him to cover those oh-so-important caveats.  Sure enough, he covered them.  I was very happy to see that we were on the same page.

So with respect to design books, this is essentially the 3rd of its kind I’ve read.  The first, of course, was the Sybex vSphere Design (both editions), then I was very pleased to read VMware Press’s Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments, which, while not strictly design-focused, hit on many design features nonetheless.  Each is excellent and I recommend them.  What makes Hersey’s different is that it’s short and to the point (vSphere Design is over 500 pages).  This book is under 250 pages but packs in the relevant information you need be a good architect or designer.  Most importantly, let me emphasize this

Hersey doesn’t give you a fish in this book.  He teaches you to fish.

What I mean by that is in each section, he’s not simply listing the answers you’re looking for to design a redundant virtual network or to build reliable storage – he couldn’t possibly.  What I feel he does throughout is explain the concepts and then teaches you to ask better questions that lead to a good design.  That’s not quite anything like what I’ve read in any other VMware book.  I don’t feel Hersey wastes a sentence.  An additional feature of this book, that also makes it unique from others I’ve read, is that it discusses how to build documentation to support a vSphere design.  It’s not coincidence that Hersey mentioned each type of document that is likely needed in a successful VCDX defense.  Congratulations, Hersey – you’ve made a one-of-a-kind book. Thanks for sharing.


Initial thoughts: VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials


VMware vCenter Operations Manager EssentialsI recently had the opportunity to review this title by the good folks at Packt Publishing.  They provided me with a free e-copy for this review.  It was good timing, too, because a new project of mine involves more in-depth work with vCOPs than I’ve had so far.

My experience with vCOPs has been a couple installations and initial configurations for clients.  I have not customized vCOPs greatly and have mainly used it’s default capabilities to glean health, performance, and capacity metrics for reporting purposes.  So far, the topics I’ve found most useful include the troubleshooting performance sections in Chapter 4.  This is where many people will find value in vCOPs.  In addition, Chapter 5, covering capacity planning, is another area in which I’ve spent most of my time.

For someone like me who has dabbled in vCOPs, I’ve found this book useful more as a reference than one I need to read cover to cover.  I imagine, though, for those new to the product, the chapters on installation and initial configuration will be worth your time.

I also encourage you to visit Lauren’s blog, check her out on the twitters, and support her book. 

Book: VMware vCenter Operations Manager Essentials

Blog: AdaptingIT.com

Twitter: @malhoit


An Open Thank You to Pluralsight


This post is almost a year overdue.  I apologize to Pluralsight and the company formerly known as Trainsignal (whom Pluralsight acquired last year – I’ll refer singly to Pluralsight for the remainder) for the lateness of this post.

Thank you.  For the second year in a row, Pluralsight continued its over-the-top generosity by supplying those recognized as 2014 VMware vExperts with a free, yearly subscription to their immense IT and development training courses.

Thank you.  For the second year in a row I was blessed to be recognized as a vExpert for my contributions to the vCommunity and I received Pluralsight’s complementary subscription.

Thank you.  Many of us in IT know that our currency, the value to ourselves, our career, our clients and companies, is knowledge.  We value knowledge to a high degree.  Our livelihoods and those for which we work, to a large degree, rely on how well we know our craft.  Pluralsight’s gift of a free year of their premium IT training is incredible.  I value it so much because of the usefulness and success I’ve found with it.  Training in IT is crucial if you want to stick around very long.  One has to make it a priority if they want to succeed.  Pluralsight’s gift is like handing an IT guy a link to success.  Here you go – do great things.

Thank you.  Pluralsight, I know you didn’t have to do this. It means a lot to me that you think highly enough of this group of evangelists to give freely of your time and efforts in producing the highest quality training.

Thank you.  From a very grateful IT guy.


Getting Started with EMC Storage


EMC LogoSo I’ve been asked to get up to speed on EMC.  We’re really a Flexpod company, which includes Cisco, NetApp, and VMware, but we’re finding clients in our Dallas / Fort Worth market that are already EMC customers and would like to stay that way.  Many times, it makes more sense for these shops to stick with EMC.  One reason for this is that we find small to mid-size shops that already have the technical expertise to manage an EMC environment are sometimes reluctant to defenestrate the platform on which they’re most comfortable.  Selling them a NetApp would not be setting them up for as much success as we would if we left them with hardware already in their management comfort zone, assuming the sale met their needs in the first place.

And so here I am, ready and raring to learn EMC.  I’m already a NetApp dude and have a firm grasp on storage fundamentals, but this will be my first foray into EMC.  While I’m already using my google-fu to find training aids, I’d love to hear the recommendations from the vCommunity on how best to learn EMC products.

I’m already tracking on Joe Kelly’s Pluralsight training which I’m sure I’ll lean on heavily.  I also know that Nick Weaver has a simulator out there.  What other free learning tools would you recommend?


Book Review: Implementing VMware vCenter Server


Book Cover: Ipmlementing VMware vCenter Server

I was recently given the opportunity to review Packt Publishing’s recent release of Implementing VMware vCenter Server: A practical guide for deploying and using VMware vCenter, suitable for IT professionals.  At first glance, I wondered how an entire book could be written about vCenter alone.  While reading it, though, I was pleasantly surprised time and again when I saw how much good information was shared.  This book is an excellent primer for those new to vCenter and really, VMware in general.

Read the rest of this entry »


Reviewing NetApp Shelf Faults


imageWith the arrival of Spring days away, I’m getting the fever to get moving and share some great content.  I’m excited to be putting out some NetApp-related posts that I think people will find useful.  I’ve installed several new NetApp systems for clients recently and these posts should help them start managing, monitoring, and configuring their systems correctly from the start.  Or perhaps you’ve had NetApp in your environment for some time but have had questions about getting insight into your systems or some “best practices.”  These posts should get you started and answer some of those questions.


A coworker recently received an alert from NetApp AutoSupport and he didn’t know what to do with it.  Since the alert itself wasn’t detailed enough to take action, I thought I’d share this for those who also receive these less than ideal alerts.

Read the rest of this entry »


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