If the end of 2012 means a quick breather for your VMware shop -- with major upgrades or migrations on hold until the New Year -- take a few minutes to catch up on our most important VMware tips and guides. VMware ESXi storage, security and networking, among other topics, topped our readers' must-know lists in 2012.
12. Get a competitive Advantage from VMUG
VMware User Group (VMUG) membership is free, but contributor Mak King found that the additional cost to become a VMUG Advantage member can pay for itself. If getting more value for your investment tops your New Year's resolutions list, consider the savings offered by the VMUG Advantage membership.
11. Lock down the VMware ESXi hypervisor and hosts
VMware ESXi runs on bare metal, so it is natively secure. But if you're not implementing the new VMware ESXi firewall and other security mechanisms, just how safe are your VMware ESXi hypervisor and hosts? Take a few minutes to learn about ESXi security.
10. Best practices for vSphere networking
You can create a virtual network that interfaces with the physical network as long as you follow best practices with VMware vSphere. Learn the right way to configure a vSphere virtual network with physical interfaces and virtual switches.
9. Go beyond VMware Site Recovery Manager
For many readers, it's time to consider the bevy of third-party disaster recovery (DR) tools beyond VMware Site Recovery Manager that can provide effective disaster recovery. Have more questions on DR? Check out the FAQ for DR planning questions, on the list at number 6.
8. Keep your VMware ESXi hosts on schedule
It's tricky to configure ESXi host time, but keeping the VMware network on one time is critical to synchronize servers with the services on which they operate. Implement Network Time Protocol synchronization on your VMware ESXi hosts using the vSphere Client.
7. Aggravation-free vCenter Converter migrations
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone is a free VMware tool for virtual-to-virtual (V2V) and physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration. Once you know how to navigate and use VMware vCenter Converter, V2V and P2V migrations become a lot simpler.
6. Design your VMware disaster recovery bunker
The world will supposedly end this month, but that's no excuse for a bad DR plan. A VMware DR plan involves tool selection, political considerations and understanding your environment's technical requirements. Start from square one with this VMware DR plan FAQ.
5. Are you a VMware snapshots all-star?
It's time to test your mastery of VMware snapshots. Poor snapshot management can lead to mistakes and wasted storage. Take the VMware snapshot quiz to see how well you really know snapshots.
4. VMware vSphere + Citrix XenApp + XenDesktop = happy virtualization
VMware admins are experts on vSphere server virtualization. But what happens when you add Citrix XenDesktop desktop virtualization and XenApp application virtualization to the environment? Citrix XenApp 6.5 and XenDesktop 5.5 can work in the existing VMware infrastructure. Here's how.
3. The best free tools from VMware Labs
Even by VMware's own admission, its virtualization can be a pricey prospect. That doesn't mean you can't get a free gift this holiday season. Check out the top five free VMware Labs tools and improve your vSphere management without spending a cent.
2. VCP exam prep
The VMware Certified Professional (VCP) exam tests your skills with a set of questions around VMware ESXi, vCenter Server and vSphere. Get answers on test preparation, length, format and content, as well as some thoughts on what level of VMware certification you should pursue.
1. Reduce shared storage with SSD for VMware ESXi
Combine cheaper solid-state storage drives (SSDs) with recent VMware SSD updates and you've got a compelling case for making local storage part of ESXi virtualized data centers. Learn how implementing SSD can wipe out performance bottlenecks in VMware vSphere 5 and View.
This was first published in December 2012