Day Against DRM 2015 Campaign


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We can all appreciate those content creators that are willing to keep their work DRM free.  My thought on DRM-free is that, while the content is legally free to share, consumers are encouraged to pay for the content they deem worthwhile and, in doing so, they support the creators of the content and “cast a vote” for more, similar content.  One type of content that I’m happy to pay for is technical literature, especially that which focuses on my core competencies, namely VMware technologies, storage, and networking.  When I first started in this field, there were very few books from which to build my knowledge base.  Today, thanks to publishers like Packt Publishing, there are dozens of relevant books.

To celebrate International Day Against DRM, Packt Publishing, which produces DRM-free eBooks and videos, has a special offer.  All their eBooks and videos are on sale for $10 for today only, 6 May, 2015.  I have more than two dozen of their books, nearly their whole collection of VMware-related tomes, as a testimony to their usefulness and relevant content.  In addition, I even started writing a book for them on vCenter Server Heartbeat before VMware killed the product.  If you haven’t read a Packt title yet, I encourage you to take this chance to pick one up on the cheap and give it a read.  I’m confident you’ll be back for more.

Full disclosure: Packt Publishing has offered to send me a free eBook of my choice for helping to share this sale today.


Will Write for Fame and Fortune


I had the good fortune this past summer to be presented the opportunity to write a book.  I had been reviewing VMware-related books for some time already when a publishing company reached out with an offer.  I eagerly accepted and began writing in June.  In less than a month, I was done.  Not because I had finished setting pen to paper, but because my topic, vCenter Server Heartbeat, was put out to pasture…then shot.  VMware put the focus of my road to virtualization glory and stardom on its End-of-Life list and stopped selling vCSHB on July 2nd, 2014.  Soon after, my publishing company killed the book, too.

I was disappointed I wasn’t able to finish.  What I did complete, though, I’d like to share, with the hope that maybe someone out there is looking for an author and likes my work. Actually, you don’t even have to like my work to make an offer. I like the idea of writing a book, but articles work well, too, or even training materials. I would most like to write about NetApp – maybe an introduction or a design, installation, and configuration guide.  They have plenty of products that could be written about and besides vendor documentation, there’s not a lot of info in book form.  I especially like the idea of third-party training videos – I know there are several for EMC, but none for NetApp.  I think it’s time to change that. My other interests include VMware and Cisco UCS.

Chapter 1

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Chapter 2 (never finished)

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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


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.

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Book Review: VMware Workstation – No Experience Necessary


Book Cover: VMware Workstation - No Experience Necessary

Have you looked at VMware Workstation recently? The Workstation development team at VMware has been busy! Did you know you can let others access VMs in Workstation via a web interface? Do you need VNC access to VMs in Workstation? It’s there. You can also access VMs from across the Internet using TeamViewer. How about this for a cool POC: accessing VMs in Workstation via a tablet or mobile device. Need P2V or V2V? Workstation can play, too. All this can be done using VMware Workstation. But how do you do it? If you’re a developer or administrator and you need a better way to work, this book can help you get started with Workstation.

Although I received the free ebook of this title in order to do this review, I was eager to get the good word out on VMware Workstation anyways. I’ve used it for several years now. It, and VMware Player, were my introductions to virtualization back in 2010. They’ve helped me build a solid foundation in VMware virtualization as well allowing me to grow in my career. So if you’re a Systems, Server guy, or developer that hasn’t quite dived as deep as you would like into VMware and virtualization, get out your credit card and a hot cup of coffee, buy a license of VMware Workstation and this book, and settle in for some fun and learning.

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