Last weekend I received Larry Loucks book “Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid” and finished it up the other night. The book was released in September of 2011 and I have had my eye on it for a few months hoping it would be released as Kindle version, to no avail. The book is a quick read, partially to Larry’s writing style and the other to the fact the book is 108 pages cover to cover.
In the book, Larry covers common misunderstandings and misconfigurations he has encountered in his years as a consultant and working with customers, either troubleshooting an existing environment or setting up a new one. The book consists of eight chapters covering his adventures with half of the chapters based on the core four (cpu, memory, networking, and storage), and accounting for the lion share of the content. The remaining chapters cover VMware vSphere concepts, physical to virtual migrations, your path to virtualization and a “catch all” chapter discussing free hypervisors, monitoring and affinity/non-affinity rules. As these chapters are rather short it covers enough of the foundations to get you moving in the right directions.
Each of the core four chapters as well as the chapter on P2V migrations begin in the same manner, giving a brief overview of how that feature/resource is used or schedule in an ESX(i) environment. These concepts are then put on display via examples and scenarios of “What NOT to do” and “What TO do”. The examples/scenarios are covered first as the “What NOT to do” and are explained as why someone may configure or design something in that fashion. The “What TO do” sections flip the scenarios to the correct way and again offers the reasons to the why.
For me, I found the chapter on CPU usage and scheduling the most beneficial. Here Larry covers how ESX/ESXi schedules CPU resources for virtual machines across physical CPU cores with single and multi vCPU virtual machines. Along with scheduling, “CPU Ready Time” is covered in scenarios where a physical host may be oversubscribed for CPU resources.
One drawback I have with the book is that it appears to be based on vSphere 4 or possibly 4.1. It does get into some discussions around “ESX Classic” that going forward with vSphere 5 are no longer true or valid since VMware has standardized on ESXi.
With the information provided you get both VMware design elements as well as troubleshooting knowledge that comes from someone who has years of in the field experience and depth of knowledge. Overall I enjoyed reading the book and think Larry has put together a book that can be useful to someone just starting down the path of using VMware virtualization or even someone with a few years of experience under their belt.