VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center

December 11th, 2008 by jason Leave a reply »

I just finished reading VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center by David Marshall, Stephen S. Beaver, and Jason W. McCarty (ISBN: 978-1420070279).  If memory serves me correctly, one of the authors billed this book as “The 101 things you need to know about VMware ESX”.  I think that is a fairly accurate description.  Translation:  This is not your 800 page Advanced Technical Design Guide deep dive, however, it’s going to give you most, if not all, of the essentials using no-nonsense straight talk.  From an audience perspective, I felt it is a beginner to intermediate level book which talks in moderate detail about each of the integral components of VMware Virtual Infrastructure.  Some sections go into more advanced discussion, but not so much to the point that the book will lose the reader’s interest or accelerate beyond the intermediate level which I think is important.

It was a good read and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Some chapters were difficult to take a break from reading.  It’s one of the few books available that cover ESX 3.5 which is the current version.  One of the sections I liked is at the very beginning where they discuss the history of virtualization.  I picked up quite a bit of background information from this chapter and learned where the roots of virtualization are.  It’s hard to believe virtualization as a concept has been in existence for nearly half a century.  Another chapter I picked up quite a bit of background knowledge on is the Automating and Extensibility where they talk about the VI SDK, VI Perl Toolkit, VI Toolkit for Windows (Powershell), CIM, etc.  I’m not much of a developer and frankly these had been areas I have avoided looking into out of lack of interest.  Again, the detail level didn’t convert me into a successful developer or scripter, but it lays down a nice foundation or primer on which to build knowledge.  VMware Virtual Infrastructure beginners will enjoy the back sections of the book where several 3rd party complimentary tools are discussed as well as the appendices which contain useful charts of information such as TCP/UDP port usage, Windows to Linux command conversion chart, plus log file location and discussion.  Technically speaking, the content of the book was dead accurate.  I had only a few sections marked up with wording changes I would have made to alleviate confusion plus a bulleted list that had been copied and pasted twice.  I’ve checked with the authors to see if they are set up for taking comments and making an errata resource available.

I wouldn’t be completely honest with the pool of talented authors whom I know and respect if I did not mention that at 237 pages, I felt this book was a bit on the pricey side as I paid the full $59.95 plus tax at the VMworld 2008 bookstore.  You can find it at Amazon.com for a good discount and free shipping.

For those that are attending the 12/19/08 Minneapolis area VMware Users Group meeting (VMUG), I’ll be raffling off two copies of this book which were generously donated by the authors.



  1. Martijn says:

    This book isn’t the best money can buy. Rather go for the http://www.VI3book.com

    Maybe that’s why you get if for free 😉

  2. andrewstaflin says:

    Did you hear about VMware FT? I just read a bit about it on http://www.virtualizationteam.com/virtualization-vmware/vmware-esx-40-ft-fault-tolerant-sneak-peek.html Would u think that would replace VMware HA? I had seen a video even of FT on that link. Is it available yet?

  3. jason says:

    Yes I’ve heard of FT and no I don’t think it’s designed to replace HA. Fault Tolerance (FT) (formerly known as continuous availability) is more of a hot online DR type solution whereas HA is a limited downtime solution where VMs are recovered in the same Datacenter.

  4. jason says:

    @Martijn, what free items are you referring to? I purchased both this book and the VI3 book from Oglesby/Herold/Laverick. I know their VI2 book is a free download – is that what you are referring to?

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