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Summer reading assignment: Our best VMware performance tips

With the heat of summer on the way, it’s tempting to pack it in, but this summer take the initiative and read these tips to help your organization improve its VMware performance.

It’s hard to believe that we’re more than halfway through 2012, and if the workflow at your organization has been anything like what we’ve seen here in the first half of the year, you’re probably exhausted and looking forward to catching some rays this summer. But, with all the work that’s been keeping you busy, you might have missed some important tips from our expert contributors – tips that could help you improve VMware performance at your organization. Before you check out for an extended vacation, take a look at some of our most popular content for the year and catch up on what you may have missed.

So far, we’ve seen a lot of great content from our experts, ranging from advice on using Player 4 as a beginner’s introduction to virtualization to how using local solid-state storage can improve VMware performance. Maybe you missed Mike Nelson’s take on the recent updates to the VMware Labs site, or David Davis’s suggestions for preparing for the VCP exam. Check out these must-read tips and don’t miss your opportunity to catch up on the latest trends and get some advice that could actually help you do your job better. Here’s to hoping the cloud hype doesn’t carry over to your vacation and you see plenty of that big yellow vSphere in the sky.

How local SSD storage can improve VMware performance
Solid-state storage is beginning to make a splash in data centers, and thanks to a vSphere 5 update, there are a handful of cases where using a solid-state drive (SSD) for local ESXi storage can improve VMware performance. Although these uses are mostly for niche problems today, find out why one expert thinks local SSD storage will have a big place in future data centers to increase disk performance and reduce the demands on shared storage arrays.

Configuring VMware vSwitch security settings: Don’t trust defaults
Have you configured vSwitch security settings, or did you keep the defaults? It is important to know that VMware optimized default vSwitch settings for usability rather than security. In some cases, these default settings can slow performance or leave your infrastructure vulnerable to a denial-of-service attack. Learn how just a few mouse clicks can prevent or reduce the impact of a malicious attack.

Network configuration changes to improve VMware performance
If you’re looking to improve your network performance without spending a lot of money, take a look at these top five tips. In this article, Sander van Vugt shows you how simple configuration changes, such as enabling PCI pass-through, can improve network performance.

Sizing and troubleshooting a VMware lab
A VMware lab can serve many purposes, so it’s no surprise that the hardware requirements and expected performance of different labs vary greatly. What’s true of all labs is that slow VM performance can be frustrating. Don’t let your VMware lab suffer from crippling performance problems. Check out this two-part series on sizing VMware labs and troubleshooting performance problems.

In part one, David Davis describes how to correctly size a VMware lab for your needs, and offers and rough cost estimates for building gold, silver or bronze-tier labs. In part two, he tackles the problem of slow VM response, explaining what typically causes performance problems in a lab environment and points to third-party tools to help you troubleshoot.

Your guide to understanding ESXi 5
If you’re looking for more information on VMware’s decision to phase out ESX and standardize on ESXi 5, look no further than this guide containing expert advice for organizations looking to make the move. Here, you’ll find an overview of what’s new with ESXi 5, how to install it and even how to convince your boss to move on from ESX.

New VMware Labs content
If you’ve been busy, you might have missed an important update to the VMware Labs site. While flings – small, free, unsupported applications – are still the centerpiece of the site, VMware has added some great historical technical papers and helpful education material and courseware that can help IT pros learn more about virtualization. Check out Mike Nelson’s recommendations for the best free content he found on the revamped Labs site.

Answers to your disaster recovery questions
Have questions about creating a disaster recovery (DR) plan? Get your answers here. On this DR frequently asked questions page, we address some of the biggest stumbling blocks to building an effective VMware DR plan. Find out what options you have aside from Site Recovery Manager, what factors you should consider when building a remote DR site and more.

Player 4: VMware performance without the price
VMware Player is an underused application that both virtualization newbies and IT pros alike can use. Virtualization beginners can get a feel for creating and using virtual machines. But the real value in VMware Player is its ability to work – in some cases – as a free alternative to VMware Workstation. In this tip, learn what you can – and can’t – do with Player 4.

Must-read VCP exam prep
If you’re preparing to take the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) exam soon – or just want to know what you’re in for – be sure to check out this cheat sheet. There’s no excuse to be unprepared after reading this tip from David Davis, who outlines the exam format and even lists his top picks for VCP study material and preparation advice.

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