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VMware vSphere 5 Building a Virtual Datacenter (VMware Press Technology)

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Title:              VMware vSphere 5 - Building a Virtual Datacenter
Authors:        Eric Maillé, René-François Mennecier
ISBN-10(13):  0321832213
Publisher:      VMware Press
Published:     August 30, 2012
Edition:         1st Edition
Language:     English

Reviewer: Arani Mukherjee

star-4 

VMware vSphere 5 - Building a Virtual Datacenter

These are challenging times for every industry and especially for IT. Every day IT managers are facing an uphill task to deliver a high level of service against the mounting odds of cost and shrinking budgets. Virtualisation is able to address all such issues and give added benefits of modernising the infrastructure.

VMware has been the trend setter in everything to do with virtualisation. Some of the key aspects it delivers are cost reduction, improved SLA, flexibility, operation efficiency, automation and standardisation. This publication from VMware Press uses VMware vSphere 5 to demonstrate how, as an IT Manager, one can use this in a datacentre environment. Full credit goes to both authors who have taken care to carry out a full analysis of all the product in their entirety, ensuring readers would be able to derive the full benefits.

The book starts from the standpoint of the physical infrastructure and takes the journey through migration into a fully managed virtual datacentre.

Following the hallmark of all VMware Press publication, this title starts with an introduction to all the issues that most datacentres face. It goes on to unravel the various functions and features of vSphere 5 and explains how it helps to overcome those issues. We are given a quick tour of the various phases of migration in the formative chapters. Further on, the entire vSphere 5 and its components are described in great detail.

Then it moves on to explore the storage side of a datacentre. Various storage options i.e. local, centralised, networked, are visited. A qualitative analysis has been done so that a datacentre manager can make an informed decision about which one to adopt. The virtual machine file system or VMFS is of particular interest, as this would be something very new and revolutionary for all datacentres.

Then it goes on to discuss the actual implementation of virtualisation on servers and its associated networking. We are given a ringside view of what a hypervisor is and how, through ESXi (a VMware hypervisor), a virtual environment is managed. Important issues like managing the network and applications like SQL, Exchange, SAP, etc are also discussed from a deployment and management point of view.

Key services provided by a datacentre are availability and disaster recovery. The title now talks about how, by using vSphere 5, we can implement a very high level of availability and deliver a business continuity in a scenario of any failure. This is in essence one of the key factors that can make or break the reputation of any datacentre.

In a port disaster recovery situation backups are of utmost importance. This book explains this need, the objectives and its impact in a clear and concise way. Various methods of performing backups have been explored together with a troubleshooting section.

Now that we have a fair idea of what vSphere 5 is and what it has to offer in terms of virtualisation, the books starts explaining how to actually implement it. This obviously includes installation, configuration and connection methods. Once that is confirmed, it shows how to manage the virtual environment.

The penultimate chapter is a brilliant case study that goes through the various phases of a virtualisation project. This can literally be used as a trajectory or a project plan by a datacentre manager who wants to migrate into the virtualisation environment.

Conclusion

I am an ardent follower of VMware products and vSphere 5 is one of the most used tools in all of my virtualisation projects. This has nothing to do with blind faith or brand loyalty emanating from no discernible reason. I have found all VMware products very reliable and efficient. They are easy to use and help in utilising the features to derive maximum benefits. This book is a testimony to my claims, and I would recommend this title as a ‘how to’ guide or manual for a datacentre manager who genuinely wants to improve efficiency (both commercial and operational) and reliability.

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