Although blogs are becoming a real medium of choice for learning, VMware books -- with all the depth they bring a subject -- still have an important place on an IT pro's reading list. Nowhere else can you get the deeply technical, nuanced detail that a good book brings to the table. For all the accessibility of online resources, there's still something to be said for having a tangible desk-side reference guide. That's why we asked our expert contributors about their favorite technical VMware books. The list includes some newer works on vSphere 5 and vCenter Orchestrator, as well as some handy reference books. What we didn't expect is that while some of their choices could be considered woefully outdated, they nonetheless still prove useful today.
After all that heavy reading, you might be looking for something a little lighter to open up at the end of the day, so we also asked them what they're reading for fun.
Mak King, virtualization and application expert
I've started to develop a trend over the past year of reading fewer and fewer books focused on one specific product or software version, and more on IT systems as a whole. In that vein, the last virtualization book read was Foundation of Green IT, by Marty Poniatowski. I like this book, since it has real-world case examples using Hewlett-Packard hardware, which I am familiar with. Another book that I tend to refer to often -- despite my edition being from the Pleistocene Epoch of 2004 (it is one of the few textbooks I actually kept from school) -- is Systems Analysis and Design Methods. Though it does not even mention virtualization, I have found it useful for understanding the complex product development process. Having a high-level view of what really goes into the successful delivery of a finished product is very valuable to help find ways to make virtualization technology carry its own weight in an enterprise. For day-to-day VMware books, I find myself using my older VCP Exam Cram: VMware Certified Professional from Elias Khnaser, since I have prodigiously highlighted it.
Finding the time for reading is pretty tough. However, I just had a delightful little vacation, and was able to do some recreational reading. The two books I am jumping between right now are Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that I bought used for $3, and Death in the Long Grass, which is about safari adventures and animals in Africa.
David Davis, virtualization trainer, vExpert (@davidmdavis)
- Mastering VMware vSphere 5 by Scott Lowe.
- VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman.
- The new VMware Press Books including Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0; Storage Implementation in vSphere 5.0, Automating vSphere withVMware vCenter Orchestrator and more.
I used to read many non-tech books, but the virtualization world has been hot these last few years and I haven't had any free time. I do, however, spend some time watching TV, movies, and running. I have recently gone back and watched a couple of my favorite TV series -- Alias and Firefly. I am also training for an upcoming marathon, which will be my third.
Brian Knudtson, solutions architect, vExpert (@bknudtson)
The most recent VMware-related book I read was Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman's VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive. A great book, but only if you're really into technical books. It truly is a deep dive.
I'm in the midst of three different non-technical books right now. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown (old school paperback, a format I still thoroughly enjoy but rarely have time for), Winter's Heart by Robert Jordon (audiobook) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (audiobook with my wife).
Sander van Vugt, independent trainer and consultant (@sandervanvugt)
I like the VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference. As a Linux guy that's into virtualization, I like to read how things can be scripted. This book is doing an excellent job in telling the reader how to manage VMware from the CLI, which actually means that it is about scripting VMware.
I don't read for pleasure often. I do travel often, so if I read, I'm trying to combine these two. So right now, I'm reading a travel guide about Iceland. The book before that was an in-depth book about Death Valley National Park. I like reading about amazing places in nature, because nature is so real and there's nothing virtual about that!
Mike Nelson, infrastructure architect and consultant (@nelmedia)
Even though it's old and out of date, VMware Infrastructure 3: Advanced Technical Design Guide and Advanced Operations Guide by Scott Herold, Ron Oglesby and Mike Laverick is one of the best VMware books. It still has yet to be bested by anyone out there who writes on vSphere. The writing is great and it is full of technical expertise. I'm now reading Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator by Cody Bunch. The jury is still out, but it looks promising.
I'm a big Lee Childs fiction fan and will read any book that comes out with Jack Reacher in it, but I just got done reading Born On A Blue Day by Daniel Tammet. It is a book about a boy's journey through autism, which my oldest son has.
My wife wanted me to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I looked through a couple of pages and said, "No way!"