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Book Review: Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid

The ambiguous title of this user-friendly book by Larry Loucks is cleverly crafted to pull in the widest possible audience, but muckrakers will be disappointed if they think Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid is about VMware making mistakes. As author and veteran virtualization pro Larry Loucks notes, "This book is all about identifying problem configuration situations on ESX server and helping you avoid common oversights and mistakes regarding ESX configuration."

Loucks know whereof he speaks. He has been in the IT business for 27 years, and is a former VMware Senior Consultant who has specialized in virtualization for the past seven years, which pretty well covers the modern history of this game-changing technology. In his words, "I have seen the same mistakes made over and over as companies attempt to virtualize their environments." Lucky for readers.

After an introduction that addresses the general subject of how not to virtualize your environments, Loucks works his way through eight, easy-to-read chapters that start with the most common approaches to virtualization, and goes on to cover virtual architectures, storage, networking, memory, managing processors, proper P2V migrations and odds and ends.

Along the way, he starts with the basics of topics such as thin provisioning, and then elaborates through the use of clearcut screen shots, mini case study examples, and concise conclusions that pull no punches, e.g. "Some say the solution is thin provisioning alerting you to know when a train is coming. I say stay off the tracks and avoid thin provisioning problems altogether by using thick provisioning."

The "How NOT to" theme rings throughout, as Loucks frequently puts on the brakes to break out helpful, summary lists that bring his topics into perspective. For example, in the chapter on virtual networking, he provides six plain-spoken no-nos, such as "tossing NICs in a server, associate them with a virtual switch and start piling on the functionality." He also throws in the occasional "TECH TIP," just to make sure that the reader does not wander off the chosen path.

Throughout, he starts each chapter with a brief introduction that covers the bare-bones basics. This is exemplified at the beginning of chapter 7, which covers proper P2V Migrations. He starts out by defining the topic, even though most readers will already be at least slightly familiar with it, and then moves on to some pretty deep diving. He never leaves the reader behind, and always uses a conversational tone that enhances and expedites the learning environment. After expounding in detail on a complex situation, he takes the pressure off by making folksy comments like "Don't worry about capacity planning...it'll all work out fine," and "Migrate critical apps and databases 'hot' so we can have fun with data loss, corruption and transactional inconsistency," It's like sitting down with a really good teacher on a one-to-one basis.

Loucks says he hopes the book will come out in an expanded second print run during Q3, 2012.

Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid
By Larry Loucks
111 pages, Brio Press

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 04/02/2012 at 12:48 PM


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