Review: Mastering VMware vSphere 4 – Scott Lowe

MasteringVMwarevSphere4 At the end of August, Sybex published the first book authored by Scott Lowe, National Technical Lead at ePlus Technology, and one of the most popular experts in the virtualization community.
His must-read website has been named Top Virtualization Blog of 2008 by and he even presented as speaker at our own Virtualization Congress 2009.

Scott’s book, Mastering VMware vSphere 4, is a generous 700-pages tome that gives a lot about planning, installing and configuring the newest VMware virtualization platform.

One of the biggest challenges in writing a technical book about a product like this one, is writing something that can complement the official documentation and that is worth reading. And it may be a real hard challenge when the product documentation is as rich and extensive as the VMware’s one. 
This book accomplished the task by including tangible proofs of the Scott’s first hand experience in many chapters (mostly the ones about planning).
It’s not an architectural reference guide, it’s not meant to be, but it still provides guidance.

The heart of this book are Chapter 5, Creating and Managing Virtual Networks, and Chapter 6, Creating and Managing Storage Devices.
Both cover very complex and critical aspects of the virtual data center and both are amazingly extended beyond vSphere.
Chapter 5 for example includes a section dedicated to the installation and configuration of the first virtual switch for vSphere: the Cisco Nexus 1000V.

Chapter 6 instead…Well, Chapter 6 is almost an entire book about storage. Alone, it is worth considering Mastering VMware vSphere 4, even if the reader already has other manuals on the subject.
This chapter was authored by Chad Sakac, Vice President of VMware Technology Alliance at EMC, another top virtualization blogger included in our 2008 nomination.
If the reader has a limited knowledge of enterprise storage, well before a limited understanding of how vSphere uses and manipulates storage arrays, this 100-pages chapter includes an exceptional primer.

Like for every great product there’s always room for improvements.

In same parts, mostly in the initial chapters, the absolute beginners may find themselves a little confused because the book makes some assumption about the readers knowledge about the VMware world. Of course this is not “Introduction to Virtualization and VMware” so it’s completely acceptable.

More than that, some chapters may be greatly extended, like Chapter 13, Securing VMware vSphere, and Chapter 14, Automating VMware vSphere. When the book spoils the reader with Chapter 5 and 6, then the reader expect the same level of in-depth analysis everywhere, and mostly about critical topics like security and automation.

Hopefully, Sybex will work on a bigger and better second edition soon.
Meanwhile Mastering VMware vSphere 4 is a book that any VMware administrator should consider for his bookshelf.
You can check it at the Bookstore (powered by Amazon) or directly at