This blog post is a long time coming !! This is a culmination of information I seem to consistently send out to customers and prospects that I meet with on a day to day basis. Usually I send this information in a REALLY REALLY long e-mail but I thought now I can simply send them a link 🙂 Keep in mind, this is far from a comprehensive list but it is a good start. It covers the various types of VMware Admins I speak with. Some are new to VMware and are just trying to get their bearings straight and others are HARDCORE 5+ year VMware admins but no matter what they are always looking for more information about making their environment (or themselves) better and more knowledgeable about this chosen profession. With that said, here is some of the information I’ve shared over the last few months.
First things first, no matter how long you’ve been in the virtualization space, there are some resources that you just need to take a moment and review. The hope is that maybe 1 or 2 of these resources will be “new” to you. By the way, I didn’t really know about any of these resources until I started in on Twitter. For those of you that don’t understand, or realize what a valuable resource Twitter can be, let this list of resources be further justification of it’s use and your active participation on it.
With that said, here is my list of:
Top VMware Resources.
I’ll lead off the list with the one thing every VMware admin should have no matter how long you’ve been in the industry. To put this into perspective, I’ve heard from more then a few VCDX’s (VMware Certified Design Expert – VMware’s UBER top certification) that this is a “go to” book(s) for them so let that be your first hint that you should seek this out!!
One of the conversation I typically have with some of the more advanced vSphere customers, and even those that are new to VMware, is around advanced features like HA and DRS. Throw in all the new stuff with vSphere 5 and you REALLY have to understand the differences between what WAS in vSphere 4 and what IS in vSphere 5. Especially if you don’t plan on going to vSphere 5 anytime soon. One of the most enlighten conversations is around how vSphere 4’s HA works. Specifically, the first 5 Hosts that come online are labeled “Primary” and the rest of the nodes are marked as “secondary”. Why is this important? Think about Blade chassis, think about split cluster configurations where some nodes are in 1 rack, and other nodes are in a separate rack (or even in another building in the same campus). You can really get yourself into a situation where all of your primary nodes are sitting in one chassis, 1 rack, or in one building. Without a primary node somewhere else, the Secondary nodes will have no one to promote them incase of an outage. Frank Denneman (Killer Blog Site here: http://frankdenneman.nl/ ) and Duncan Epping (Killer Blog site here: http://www.yellow-bricks.com/) wrote the “bible” of VMware HA and DRS for both vSphere 4 as well as vSphere 5. I’ve recommended this book to numerous people as the end-all-be-all place to really understand how these 2 things work. Again if you are going to be on vSphere 4 for a while then you really should get their VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS Technical Deepdive book. It’s available in paperback as well as Kindle editions. If you plan to roll out vSphere 5 then you can get their VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive both in Paperback (Black and White and Color Editions) as well as Kindle Edition. Go get these books !!! (Wait until you are done reading this blog post 🙂 )
One of my favorite resources is the VMware Community’s website http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/ and more specifically the KILLER Weekly Podcast they put on. You REALLY should bookmark/subscribe to it. http://communities.vmware.com/groups/podcasts I would even encourage you to be an active participant. Each week John Troyer (@jtroyer) puts together a “who’s who” of speakers for this podcast. In just the last few weeks they’ve covered the following topics:
Just looking at the list above can give you an indication of some the great FREE information that is available to you !! Like I said, you should really participate in this as well. Check out the VMTN website for more details on how to do this.
For those many, many EMC + VMware customers 🙂 here are a few resource you should be utilizing. First one should be the “Everything VMware on EMC” community site. The vSpecialist group that I belong to spend a lot of time, as well as others here answering all sorts of EMC + VMware questions. I would highly encourage you to check it out, and participate !! It’s a great place to just check out questions on things like “How to collect, process and federate esxtop storage adapter data“) In other words, how can I make sense of ESXtop data relative to my Storage array !! While you are on the communities site, check out Dave Henry (@davemhenry) comprehensive blog there as well. If you want to keep up with events, various real-time information then bookmark his blog site !!
Probably one of the most visited sites related to EMC + VMware would be Chad Sakac’s (@Sakacc) blog site VirtualGeek.Typepad.Com . If you are looking for demos, whitepapers, best practice guides, future features/functions or just want to see what EMC is up to in regards to VMware then you want to bookmark his site.
If you are new to VMware or just want to get more education around it then you should really check out TrainSignal.com I highly recommend that you check them out for all of your IT Training Resources. As part of the vExpert program I’ve had access to reviewing some of the content and I’ve always come away super impressed. David Davis (@DavidMDavis) and TrainSignal have a really nice, comprehensive training program around VMware. Some of the VMware specific ones I like best:
Last, but certainly not least, if you missed my comment at the top, Twitter should be at the top of many peoples lists as top VMware resources. The amount of simply brilliant VMware and IT resources that are active on twitter is just phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong, there are some “time suck” aspects of Twitter but the amount of good information simply out ways the negative at this point. If you are new to Twitter, I highly recommend that you download/install TweetDeck. This software does a pretty good job of giving you tools to help sift through some of the less interesting parts of twitter 🙂 Simply download tweetdeck, sign in and setup searches for things like VMware, vSphere, EMC, NetApp, HP etc etc. You can then start “following” people that interest you. Don’t follow everyone, make sure they can add value (technical or interesting/funny) but doing searches can help you find those types of people to follow. You can also check out fellow vSpecialist Bas Raayman’s Twitter list of EMC vSpecialist’s here.
So there you have it, my short list of VMware resources. Notice I left off a specific paragraph around “Bloggers”. Truthfully, there are just SOOOO many really great bloggers that had I included it in the list, it would be CRAZY long. My recommendation is to use Twitter to find your own list of bloggers. Duncan’s, Frank’s and Chad’s blog’s are a great start not to mention the communities pages above.