Book Review – Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments (VMware Press)

I recently received a copy of Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments by Sean Crookston and Harley Stanger (find it here on Amazon) and I wanted to share my thoughts.

Chapter 1: Laying the Groundwork

What a great start. This chapter covers the core competencies of vSphere 5. Not only is the functionality of these competencies discussed, but the design considerations are given as well. Good choice guys! Chapter 1 starts off with capacity planning (disk, network, compute, environmental) and was my favorite part of the chapter. Capacity planning is one of the most important steps that must occur prior to deployment and it can mean the difference between success and failure. Some other areas discussed:

  • Performance – storage performance; IOPS and throughput
  • Management – updates, monitoring processes
  • Designing – hardware, DRS, HA, vMotion, Storage DRS

Like I said before, a great start!

Chapter 2: Implementing the Solution

This chapter did not skip a beat. Chapter 2 picks up right where chapter 1 left off; with design. It goes through doing a final review of the design with the stakeholders prior to implementing. My favorite part of this chapter is the ‘Automating Implementation Tasks’. This chapter hits on host profiles, PowerCLI, vCenter Orchestrator and Auto Deploy (which is very cool). At the end of the chapter Harley and Sean go through how to verify the implementation, which I think is super useful and can be the difference between success and failure with regards to implementation.

Chapter 3: Operating the Environment

Chapter 3 has a lot of meat to it. It covers the gamut of operational considerations in a vSphere 5 environment, Some of the highlights:

  • Backups – this part covers snapshots and then goes into VMware Data Recovery, which is a free, and good on a small scale
  • Updates – we all hate updating and patching the infrastructure, but its got to be done, and VMware Update Manager is the tool for the job. Update Manager is well covered in this chapter and even covers the different upgrade paths when moving from earlier versions


Chapter 4: Managing the Environment

The second part of this chapter was one of the best in the book; performance management. The performance management section covered performance recommendations and how to plan for growth in the following areas:

  • Storage Performance Management – talks about VAAI primitives
  • Host Performance Management – gives you a good way to calculate resource pools and provides recommendations
  • Networking Performance Management – covers Network I/O Control (NIOC) and bandwidth management–among other things

This chapter also touched on the vCenter Operations Management Suite, which is a pretty fantastic product. If you don’t own it, or never used it. I would advise that you go to and download the trial version and check it out.


Chapter 5: Roadblocks to 100% Virtualization

A lot of books are out on vSphere 5, and the ones I have read are great. However, this is the first books that I’ve read that discusses roadblocks to 100% virtualization. I really like that they’ve put this in the book. This chapter discusses the roadblocks administrators and system engineers are facing, not only from a technical aspect, but from a political point of view. Things such as VM Sprawl is discussed, CAPEX/OPEX, business critical apps, the list goes on. This was my favorite chapter of the book.


Chapter 6: Full Case Study

This chapter helps you solidify what you’ve learned throughout the book From design and implementation, to managing the environment. The lions share of this chapter is focused on design, but one would argue that is one of the most important aspects of this process (if not the most important).

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