Throughout the holidays I had a little downtime and what better way to fill it but with some new learning.  I've had a copy of Scott Lowe's Mastering VMware vSphere 5 laying around for a few weeks and with my intents to start ramping up my VCP 5 studies I thought I would would dive right into it.

Now, I've never had the opportunity to read Scotts precursor 'Mastering VMware vSphere 4' bur from the reviews that I have read it was a smashing success.  I can honestly say that Mastering VMware vSphere 5 is the same.  A whopping 768 pages covers everything vSphere 5 has to offer and is laid out in such a fashion that it is understandable to the newbie to virtualization, yet still dives technically into subjects to provide that level of interest to an expert.  By that I mean Scott not only covers off the basics of virtualization, the basics of vSphere technology and the initial setup of common components, but he takes you deeper into the products by explaining many advanced features and how to configure them (using not only the vSphere Client but the vMA command line as well).  To top it off he does this in a fashion that is understandable and applicable to me as a vSphere Admin (If you have ever seen any of Scotts' presentations you will know what I mean).

Mastering VMware vSphere 5 covers everything you need to know to install, configure and manage a solid vSphere 5 environment covering off every aspect of the journey.  The chapter layout says it all…

  • Introducing VMware vSphere 5
  • Securing VMware vSphere
  • Planning and Installing VMware ESXi
  • Creating and Managing Virtual Machines
  • Installing and Configuring vCenter Server
  • Using Templates and vApps
  • Installing and Configuring vSphere Update Manager
  • Managing Resource Allocation
  • Creating and Configuring Virtual Networks
  • Balancing Resource Utilization
  • Creating and Configuring Storage Devices
  • Monitoring VMware vSphere Performance
  • Ensuring High Availability and Business Continuity
  • Automating VMware vSphere

For anyone looking to achieve VCP 5 status (like myself), each and every chapter contains a section at the end titled 'The Bottom Line'.  The Bottom Line contains key takeaways from the chapter and then asks you questions under a Master It heading.  To me this is a huge selling point of this book as it triggers you to think back on what you have just read, answer questions, and apply it to certain scenarios that you are presented with.  A great way to help you retain and apply knowledge!

Honestly I sat and read this book from cover to cover which I rarely do with technical books.  But that's not to say that it isn't referencable in any way.  In the few short days I've had it on my desk at work it is already peppered with post-it notes, bookmarks, and torn pieces of paper with chicken scratch and design ideas scribbled all over. This book provided me with a great resource to help with the install/upgrade and management of my vSphere environment and an excellent piece of study material to help complement all of the documentation on the VCP 5 exam blueprint, and a great technical overview of some of the functions of vSphere that I haven't had the chance to explore myself.  So, if you are looking for any or all of those things I would most certainly recommend picking up a copy of Scott Lowe's Mastering VMware vSphere 5.  The book is available directly from the publisher both in e-pub format as well as paperback.  You can also find it on iTunes, Barne's and Noble, and Amazon.  Also Scott has a fantastic blog where you can read more of his words, and don't forget to follow him on Twitter.