Mental Ward

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Virtualization Book Recommendations - Not

As part of my virtual education, I've been looking over a number of virtualization-related books. When I recently took the family out to a semi-nearby Borders store, I picked up a couple of tomes (I just can't help myself): "The Best Damn Server Virtualization Book Period", trading on the name of the sports show, and "Virtualization with VMware ESX Server." Two days later, I returned both books.

Why? Not because they're poorly written or incomplete, but rather because both are badly out of date. "Best...Book Period", while with a more recent publication date of November 2007, was the more disappointing of the two. The main reason is that a huge section of the book discusses Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. VS 2005 has been largely obsoleted by Hyper-V, meaning that almost a third of the book is useless for most of us. If you're still using VS 2005 (which just got an update), and will continue to do so, it's probably worth picking up. But I was hopeful that a book published at about the same time Hyper-V was released to beta would have more information about the new, and less about the old.

For the VMware-specific book, I should have checked the publication date more closely. After all, 2005 is the Jurassic period for virtualization. I have to say that I'm a little surprised Syngress, the publisher, would still be selling something so out-of-date. Take the third page of the book, for example. The authors note that by "the second half of 2005", ESX will support four-way virtual Symmetric Multi-Processing. You don't say!

Again, this is not a knock against the authors, their technical knowledge or writing skills. It also is very, very hard to keep current with virtualization, given how quickly the technology is changing; I don't envy book publishers in this space.

Maybe with revised editions, the books would be of more value. But if you're looking for books covering this space, I'd suggest looking elsewhere, at least until more current versions are available. Last week, I ordered "Mastering VMware Infrastructure 3" from Sybex. It was published this year, and covers the latest edition of VI. I'll report back on this after I've gone through it.

What books have you relied on to educate you on virtualization? What do you use as sourcebooks? Let me know.

Posted by Keith Ward on 05/19/2008 at 12:48 PM


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