Whether you are a novice engineer looking to obtain your VCP or an experienced senior level virtualization engineer supporting customers this is a great read! I feel this book serves as a key reference tool from pre-sales/sales to administrators, engineers, and varchitects in the virtualized world!
Edward Haletky explains all the core components of VMWare's virtualization in an A-Z manner and covered many new features unlocked with vSphere 4.1. I have already adjusted design and service delivery plans, customer questionnaires, and configurations based on many commonly missed items by everyone involved the data center and virtualized life cycle.
All the key concepts, even those not always noticed or included in VCP training & boot camps are included in this book from Storage, Network, and Compute to Disaster Recovery planning and implementation. Honestly I enjoy the reference to real world scenarios given by the author, that are very on spot and key to understanding successful deployments of a virtualized infrastructure.
Let me start with saying I've read the first edition of this book and Ed's Security book and found both to be excellent.
As this book was a second edition, I focused my reading on those updated areas and there were a few. As always Ed provided a good balance between detail and real world examples/implementations that carry the weight of his experience with VMware on the whole.
I'd recommend this book for those getting into their first few ESX/ESXi implementations, and to supplement the official VMware courseware with real world examples.
I commend Edward Haletky on his second edition. This should definitely be a VMware book to add to the library.
I agree with the first two reviews, the hardware and VMware integration covered is outstanding, including BladeSystems, SANs, etc. The book goes into detailed ESX version comparisons, an excellent real-world step-by-step installation in Chapter 3, detailed chapters on Storage and Networking, Monitoring, Configuration, Clustering, tons of Best Practices, and more.
The book is loaded with appropriate real-world screenshots and diagrams to solidify chapter content, without overdoing it. Great resource!
I purchased this book to learn more about backing up and copying virtual disks from my ESXi server. So chapter 12 "Disaster Recovery, Business continuity and Backup" really did it for me. The experience and utility of the Kindle version specifically, saved me the shipping time. I obviously had the book in minutes, and had information that I couldn't have easily located by just Googling my question. (Specifically command line utilities that I wasn't even aware existed) The book overall looks VERY thorough, and specifically the chapter I was focused on, details a level of preparedness that shed some light for thoughts on new areas for me. Not having to lug around a giant reference book also saves my back. Thank you to the author for a great job, and the publisher for making this available in this format!
Haletky writes for quite a specialised audience - systems administrators of a data center that deploys ESX. What is striking is the demonstration of the tight interaction and integration of hardware and software, distributed across the center's network. It's not about the relatively simple tasks in managing a hypervisor on a single machine to switch between operating systems. Essentially only one chapter, 10, discusses the latter.
Whereas take, for instance, chapter 7, on networking. It talks about issues like the different types of [physical] switches you might or should use in building a network around VMware's vSwitch. Security is a key aspect of this chapter and its implementation seems quite extensive. Longstanding ideas like Access Control Lists can be run under the current context of having several computers hosting virtual machines. Firewalling is also possible, with the ability to allow access by a sysadmin and users to specific computers and VMs.
Your overall network can also have a private vMotion network. It is an out of band network devoted to management, where copies of a VM can be shifted across hardware hosts. A decision was made by the implementers to do this unencrypted, which necessitates a private channel [wire] and switch, to block against possible unknown and hostile programs that could copy the transferred code.
One take home message from the overall text is that while VMs can certainly give greater hardware usage [fewer idle machines], you do need to invest in extra hardware like switches [and in this book's methods] to defend a network of VMs.