Book Review: Maximum vSphere

Maximum vSphere is a new book by Eric Siebert, writer and purveyor of VMware information at vSphere-land.  Not only that, Simon Seagrave of TechHead fame contributed two chapters and VMware’s John Troyer provided his individual style to the Foreward — be sure not to miss it.

For those in a hurry, here is the executive summary: buy the book, it is an excellent practical guide and reference.

The cover promises Tips, How-Tos, and Best Practices for Working with VMware vSphere 4 — and the Maximum vSphere delivers on all counts.

vSphere accommodates a wide range of business requirements and therefore often provides various ways to meet those different needs.  Siebert uses a consistent approach throughout to clearly organize and present options faced when making decisions; storage technologies, networking hardware, monitoring tools, and many other areas are examined — clearly articulating advantages and disadvantages of one choice over another so readers can better understand broader implications.

One of the first things that I noticed, and liked, was the robust table of contents in addition to a useful index.  When using a reference like this, it is always better to be able to quickly locate applicable sections.

The overall flow of the book is great — but I suspect that most readers will skip around and focus on specific areas of interest.  Interestingly, Siebert did not start out with a long, drawn-out tutorial on installation in chapter one.  Instead, he chose to describe what is new in vSphere 4 — very useful for VI3 administrators looking to get up to speed quickly.  Don’t fret, installation and upgrade do receive ample coverage later in the book.

It was interesting to see a large section at the end devoted to building your own vSphere lab — very useful for experimenting and learning the features.  Siebert even discusses one of the very popular topics here at VCritical, running ESX on ESX.

Siebert covers the whole range of VMware vSphere, from ESX and ESXi to vCenter Server to vShield Zones and beyond.  My impression is that even the most virtualized vSphere administrator would learn a few things from Maximum vSphere.

Unfortunately, there is a serious error on page 31:  it’s Elastic Sky, not Electric Sky.  How that passed technical review, we may never know. 🙂

At well under 400 pages, Maximum vSphere is not huge by technology-book standards — but it is chock full of content, especially considering the conservative use of product screen shots.  Check it out.

Disclaimer: The publisher provided a review copy of the book, but did not influence the content of this article.

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