Feb 27 2014

How you can help support vSphere-land and top blog voting

There is a ton of work that goes into maintaining my websites, I have to gather and sort through lots of links and information, organize it and publish it. In addition the annual top blog voting contest is no small effort either and involves a ton of work collecting data, building forms, processing data, updating websites, building surveys and much more. From start to finish this usually takes at least 30-40 hours of my time.

So as a small favor in return I would appreciate if you checkout the companies that sponsor my family of websites that help make all this possible and also give them a follow on Twitter.


Zerto provides enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solutions for virtualized infrastructure and cloud. Zerto won Best of Show at VMworld 2011, as well as 2011 Product of the Year Gold Award because our software, Zerto Virtual Replication, is the industry’s first hypervisor-based replication solution for tier-one applications. Zerto Disaster Recovery solutions replace traditional array-based BCDR that was not built to deal with virtual environments. Zerto recently launched a new version (3.1) of Zerto Virtual Replication that you can find out more about here.


Infinio Accelerator lets you separate performance from capacity. For a fraction of the price of hardware-based products, Accelerator offers a software-only solution that extends the performance life of the NAS you already have. Accelerator is a virtual appliance that uses server-side caching to minimize the I/O traffic load on central storage. Infinio Accelerator won a “Best of VMworld” award, being named a Finalist in the Best New Technology category. I recently recorded a webinar for Infinio on right-sizing storage for virtual environments that you might find interesting. They also have another webinar available on 5 ways to get better performance from NAS-Backed VMs as well as a great technical video series on content-based caching.


Unitrends, a leader in enterprise-level data protection, offers the #1 all-in-one backup solution for virtual, physical and cloud. Building on over 20 years of industry firsts, Unitrends continues to lead the market. Unitrends is used by IT professionals for backup of their virtual and physical servers and for performing disaster recovery to remote locations or to private or public cloud. Unitrends not only continues to set the standard in virtual and physical server data protection, but its US-based support team boasts a 99% customer satisfaction rate, further reinforcing its reputation for quality. Unitrends recently acquired PHD Virtual, another leading backup company for VMware environments and is kicking off a fundraising effort to support the Special Olympics.


StratoGen is a leading VMware hosting provider with award winning cloud platforms in the US, UK and Asia. From single virtual machines to dedicated private clouds, StratoGen delivers a powerful yet cost effective cloud hosting solution. The StratoGen Cloud is engineered from the ground up to be extremely dynamic and resilient, allowing you to add more servers or resources instantly. StratoGen hosted VMware services include a 100% uptime service level guarantee. The StratoGen Cloud can be seamlessly integrated with any on-site VMware infrastructure you may have, offering a “single pane” management console for both your hosted and on-site resources. StratoGen offers a wide range of hosted solutions for VMware environments including Hosted Desktops, Disaster Recovery, VMware Image Hosting and VMware Hosting.


SolarWinds mission has been to provide purpose-built products that are designed to make IT professionals jobs easier. SolarWinds was built by network and systems engineers who know what it takes to manage today’s dynamic IT environments. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager delivers integrated VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V capacity planning, performance monitoring, VM sprawl control, configuration management, and chargeback automation; all in one awesomely affordable product that’s easy to download, deploy, and use. SolarWinds believes you should try their software before you buy and we offer free trials that deliver full product functionality. Be sure and try out a free trial of Virtualization Manager so you can find out what you’re missing that vCenter Server can’t provide.

VM Turbo

VMTurbo delivers an intelligent workload management solution providing service assurance and infrastructure efficiency for cloud and virtualized environments. With an emphasis on prevention, VMTurbo delivers an intelligent and automated control plane for cloud and virtualized datacenters. It closes the loop between collecting data and controlling the environment – enabling administrators to automate management of dynamic virtualized environments to ensure service levels, while maximizing efficiency. Easy to deploy and simple to administer, VMTurbo Operations Manager assures application performance, operational efficiency and optimal resource utilization. VMTurbo recently released a new version (4.5) of their Operations Manager product and offers a free 30-day trial so you can experience first-hand a smarter approach to virtualization management.


Veeam is Modern Data Protection that is built for Virtualization and the Cloud. Their customers understand that virtual environments bring unique challenges. That’s why more than 73,000 customers chose Veeam to protect over 4 million VMs. Our powerful, easy-to-use and affordable solutions help solve virtualization challenges – making Veeam the perfect fit for the modern datacenter. Veeam Backup & Replication delivers innovative VMware backup, Hyper-V backup, recovery and replication. This #1 VM Backup solution helps organizations meet RPOs and RTOs, save time, eliminate risk and dramatically reduce capital and operational costs. Veeam has won 55 awards including Product of the Year for 2013 that serve to validate their success in the virtualization industry. Be sure and download their free tool for VMware and Hyper-V backup and also check out the Veeam Community podcast.


Feb 25 2014

The importance of securing your virtual world


Information security breaches are in the news a lot these days, but for many companies security doesn’t get the attention it deserves, until something bad happens. Let’s face it, implementing better security in a data center is a pain in the ass and inconveniences everyone from administrators to end users. Better security doesn’t make anyone’s job easier and as a result everyone tends to be resistant to it. But the reality is that unless you want to end up in the newspaper headlines you have to do it, and not just make a half-ass effort at it, you need to do it right and you also need to stay vigilant at it. Security isn’t something you do once and you’re done, it’s an ongoing job that requires discipline, time and effort to do.

Implementing virtualization makes security a more difficult job, not only do you have to secure the physical side of your data center but you also have to secure the virtual side. In a traditional non-virtualized environment implementing security was much simpler, adding virtualization to the mix makes it much more difficult and complicated as there are many more attack vectors that you need to protect. You would probably notice someone carrying a physical server out of your data center, but in a virtual environment whole servers can leave your data center in someones pocket, without them even entering your data center.

I did an article a while back for Tech Target, “How To Steal a VM in 3 Easy Steps” that described a simple scenario on how someone could make copy a VM and carry it home with them on a flash drive. From there they could easily power it on in their own environment and access the OS,  applications and data on it. To prevent this you need to start by following security best practices for virtualization and make sure you understand where the weak points are in your virtual environment and secure them properly.

The ESXi hypervisor has good built-in security but it’s easy to change settings to make administration easier that results in weakening it and opening up attack points into your virtual environment. VMware has just updated their Security of the vSphere Hypervisor white paper which provides a good overview of the security things that you need to know in vSphere, definitely give this a read. There are also a number of very good 3rd party virtualization security products from vendors like Catbird and HyTrust that can help provide an additional layer of security and monitoring to improve the security of your virtual environment. Also check out some of the security resources below:

Feb 23 2014

Your ad here, sponsorship opportunity on the vSphere-land websites

I limit the number of sponsors that advertise on vSphere-land and have one advertising slot currently open. Most of my sponsors are long term repeat sponsors so I don’t often have open slots but I currently have one due to one of my long time sponsors ending blog sponsorship’s after they were acquired. Their loss is your gain, I have one slot open if any companies are interested in sponsoring the vSphere-land family of websites. For more information and rates please see this page and contact me at esiebert7625 at yahoo.com.


Feb 22 2014

Voting now open for the 2014 top VMware & virtualization blogs


There are over 300 blogs dedicated to VMware and virtualization, here’s your chance to pick your favorites and determine the top blogs. The last voting was a year ago and new bloggers are springing up every month. When casting your votes please keep the following in mind about the blogs.

  • Longevity – Anyone can start a blog but it requires dedication, time & effort to keep it going. Some bloggers start a blog only to have it fall to the wayside several months later. Things always come up in life but the good bloggers keep going regardless of what is happening in their life.
  • Length – It’s easy to make a quick blog post without much content, nothing wrong with this as long as you have good content in the post that people will enjoy. But some bloggers post pretty long detailed posts which takes a lot of time and effort to produce. The tip of the hat goes to these guys that burn the midnight oil trying to get you some great detailed information.
  • Frequency – Some bloggers post several times a week which provides readers with lots of content. This requires a lot of effort as bloggers have to come up with more content ideas to write about. Frequency ties into length, some do high frequency/low length, some do low frequency/high length, some do both. They’re all good and require a lot of time and effort on the bloggers part.
  • Quality – It all comes down to whats in the blog post regardless of how often or how long the blog posts are. After reading a blog post if you come away with learning something that you did not previously know and it benefits you in some way then you know you are reading a quality post. Good quality is usually the result of original content, its easy to re-hash something previously published elsewhere, the good bloggers come up with unique content or put their own unique spin on popular topics.

So please take all this into account when casting your votes, here are some more details on the voting:

  • You can pick 10 of your favorite blogs and also rank them in your order of preference after you pick your 10. The results will be weighted with #1 ranking getting 10 points and #10 rankings getting 1 point. Point totals will be tabulated and from them the top 50 will be determined.
  • Blogs are listed on the ballot  in alphabetical order, the current top 50 blogs are highlighted with their current ranking in parentheses, the current top 10 are also bolded so they stand out. So please go through the whole list when making your choices (Duncan ended up on the bottom).
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. I did cut down on some of the categories this year to keep it simple. The categories are independent of the general voting so first pick and rank your top 10 overall favorite blogs and then choose your favorite blog in each category.
  • Voting will run until 3/17, afterwards the results will be determined and announced on a special live podcast with myself, Simon Seagrave, David Davis, Rick Vanover and John Troyer.
  • Duplicate vote protection is enabled, we’ll be using geolocation, IP addresses & cookies to protect against duplicate votes. This isn’t Chicago, please be honest and fair when voting, any suspicious votes will be tossed.
  • If you are not familiar with a blog you can click on it in the survey to view it or use my vLaunchpad to see links to them all. Try not to pick blogs based just on names but also take content into account. There are a lot of good blogs currently not in the top 50 that deserve to be there.

This year we will be doing drawings for some great prize giveaways courtesy of Veeam that include Nexus tablets, iWatches, headphones and more. Anyone that votes for the top blogs is eligible to win one of the prizes. In addition any blogger that makes the top 50 blog list is eligible to win prizes. Winners will be determined by a random drawing and announced on a special live results podcast after the voting ends.


So what are you waiting for, head on over and take the survey to cast your ballot and reward the best bloggers for their hard work and dedication by letting them know that you appreciate them.


Feb 02 2014

VMware tells its partners – No Soup For You


In case you hadn’t heard, VMware has become the soup nazi at their annual Partner Exchange (PEX) conference telling both Veeam and Nutanix and probably more I’m sure, thanks but no thanks, we don’t want you at our partner conference. While it’s understandable that VMware would not want vendor’s like Microsoft, Oracle & Citrix at their conference, they’ve started excluding more vendors that have any type of conflict of interest with VMware products.

VMware walks a fine line these days as they compete with just about any vendor that makes software products for the data center and they also compete with most hardware vendors as well. When it comes to hardware VMware prefers you to buy dumb hardware and let their software layer handle the intelligence of the hardware. The reality of it is, VMware really competes with almost every hardware and software and even cloud vendor out there, some more so than others but the way it is, it’s VMware versus all comers for world domination in the data center.

This wasn’t always the case, a long time ago in a data center far far away, server virtualization was in its infancy and VMware was a little known company that was selling a disruptive technology that would go against the grain of the traditional data center. Back then VMware sold very few products, basically a hypervisor (ESX) and a server to manage it (VirtualCenter). As server virtualization took off and started to become more popular a huge 3rd party ecosystem grew as vendors sprung up to fulfill the needs caused by this new and unconventional shift in the data center.

There were needs in almost every area including security, backup & recovery, management, automation, monitoring and much more. These 3rd party products complemented VMware’s hypervisor and made it stronger and just like Apple and their dominance with 3rd party apps, was a combination that was hard to beat. Then as virtualization took off VMware started branching out, making acquisitions to expand their line-up to fill in the gaps that 3rd party products used to fulfill for them.

If you look at the sponsor list for PEX this year and take out the big five that VMware can’t afford to exclude, the rest looks almost like a line-up for a minor league baseball team. It’s a shame that VMware would start shutting the door as they have many great loyal partners that have helped carry them over the years. I know PEX is a different type of conference and you have both partners and re-sellers there but if VMware is tightening down on who can be at PEX, are they going to start doing the same thing at VMworld?

It’s a shame that Veeam won’t be at PEX this year, they are one of the companies that rode the coat tails of virtualization and have become a huge success as a result. While it’s VMware’s conference and they have every right to pick and choose who can be there, it’s definitely a sign that VMware has gotten to the point that they really don’t need to rely on their partners as much as they have in the past.

Feb 02 2014

Nominations for the 2014 Top Blog voting categories are now open!

It’s time to do the annual top blog voting, last year we had over 1,300 votes that shaped the top 50 list that is published on my vLaunchPad. Just like last year in addition to the traditional top 50 voting I’m opening it up to allow voting in specific categories as well to help distinguish certain types of blogs. To do this I have created a survey to allow you to nominate your blog or website for one of the categories that I have defined if your blog fits one or more of the categories, if it does not then don’t nominate it as all blogs on the vLaunchpad will automatically be included in the general top blog voting.

This survey is not the general voting poll for the top VMware/virtualization blogs, this survey is only to nominate your blog for certain categories if it fits. Once the nominations are collected I will open the polls for voting for the top blogs where voters will be able to rate their top 10 blogs and also vote in each of the categories.

You should only nominate your own blog/website, these nominations will be used to populate the category choices when voting opens. If your blog doesn’t fit one of these categories then do not nominate itall blogs on the vLaunchpad will automatically be included in the general top blog voting. If your blog is not currently listed on the vLaunchPad use this form to let me know. The categories that can be voted on are:

  • Best Storage Blog (Must have good percentage of posts be Storage related)
  • Best Networking Blog (Must have good percentage of  be Networking related)
  • Best Cloud Blog (Must have good percentage of  posts be Cloud related)
  • Best VDI/End-user Computing Blog (Must have good percentage of  posts be VDI/EUC related)
  • Best Scripting Blogger (Must have good percentage of  posts be Scripting related)
  • Best News & Information Website (No blogs)
  • Best podcast (Audio or video podcasts)
  • Best official VMware Blog (Blogs part of VMware’s website)
  • Best Videos used in a Blog (Must have produced a good percentage of videos)
  • Best New Blog (Blog started in 2013)
  • Best Independent Blogger (Can’t work for VMware or a hardware/software vendor)

So head on over to the survey and nominate your blog or website, the survey will be open until 2/12. Once it closes I will use the nominations to build the survey for the top blog voting which will begin shortly afterwards.


Jan 12 2014

Last call for blog-o-hol before top blog voting begins


I’ve added about 50 new blogs to my vLaunchpad but I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed. Every year I get emails from bloggers after the voting starts wanting to be added but once it starts its too late as it messes up the ballot. So if you’re not listed on the vLaunchpad, here’s your last chance to get listed. Please use this form and give me your name, blog name, blog URL, twitter URL & RSS URL. I have received a few entries after I updated it that I need to add, they are Horizon Flux, Virtually Benelovent, Filip Verloy, Virtualization Express and Mike Tabor. So hurry on up so the voting can begin, the nominations for voting categories will be opening up very soon.


Dec 30 2013

The history of the top blog voting over the years

Before we kick off the next round of top blog voting I thought I’d post a retrospect on how the top blog voting started and also comparing the voting results over the years.


2008 – The beginning

Many years ago I used to do a lot of top 10 lists on specific topics such as “The Top 10 things you must read about Storage for vSphere” that would list the best documents and blog posts to read on the internet that are related to that topic. One day I decided to do one on some of the best VMware related blogs on the internet, back then blogging was nowhere near as popular as it is today and the number of blogs devoted to VMware & virtualization was in the dozens instead of in the hundreds as it is today. I put together my first top 10 list on VMware blogs back in 2008, here’s what the original one looked like on my old vmware-land.com website:


2009 – The first public voting

In 2009 I decided to open it up to have others decide who the top VMware bloggers were by having a public voting form where they could choose their favorite bloggers. Again back then their were nowhere near the blogs that there are today so I only published the top 10 results. We had a total of around 350 people voting for the first year.

2010 – Blogging starts to get popular

In 2010 the voting became a lot bigger as blogging was starting to become more popular. On the ballot that year were 66 blogs so I expanded the top 10 to the top 25 so more blogs could be recognized. The number of people voting for the blogs doubled with over 700 votes cast. Instead of just publishing the results of the voting I put together a presentation to announce the winners.

2011 – The top 25 blogger countdown with Casey Kasem

In 2011 more and more blogs showed up to raise the total on the ballot to 115. This time we had almost 900 votes cast and to do something different and a bit more fun than just posting the results we announced them on a video podcast (vChat episode) with Simon and David and also John Troyer as a special guest. I also wanted to be able to give something back to the blogger community so as an added bonus I was able to get Stephen Herrod to record a special video to recognize the blogger community and their contributions to VMware.

2012 – Putting bloggers into categories

In 2012 the blogs continued to pile up with jumping to 187 and the number of people voting climbed as well with almost 1200 votes. As the top 25 doesn’t change all that much from year to year I wanted to do more to help recognize some of the bloggers that might get lost in the numbers. For the first time I started having specific voting categories for areas like storage bloggers, independent bloggers, podcasts and more. This helped refine the results beyond the simple voting positions to highlight bloggers in different areas. Also due to the sheer number of bloggers I also started publishing the top 50 blogs on the vLaunchpad instead of the top 25. Once again we recorded a vChat episode with John Troyer to announce the results.

2013 – Holy crap there are a lot of blogs

In 2013 the number of blogs increased to 243, that’s an amazing number, where else have you ever seen that amount of blogs dedicated to a specific technology or product. It really validates both the passion for the technology and the community that VMware has built around themselves thanks to people like John Troyer. This year the number of people voting continued to climb to around 1300. Once again I included categories in the voting results and we also announced the results on a vChat episode.

2014 – You’re going to need a bigger boat

For the upcoming voting we once again have a lot more blogs, I added at least 50 new ones recently to the vLaunchpad which should push the number of blogs to vote for close to 300. With the big increase in blogs I may have to increase my top blogger list on the vLaunchpad from the top 50 to the top 100. We’ll be starting up soon in a few weeks so stay tuned.

#1Yellow BricksYellow BricksYellow BricksYellow BricksYellow Bricks
#2Scott Lowe blogVirtual GeekVirtual GeekScott Lowe blogFrank Denneman blog
#3Virtual GeekScott Lowe blogScott Lowe blogNTPro.nlScott Lowe blog
#4NTPro.nlNTPro.nlNTPro.nlVirtual GeekNTPro.nl
#5RTFM EducationRTFM EducationRTFM EducationFrank Denneman blogVirtual Geek
#6VM/ETCVirtualization EvangelistFrank Denneman blogRTFM EducationVirtually Ghetto
#7Virtualization EvangelistVM/ETCvSphere-landVirtu-alMike Laverick
#8Gabe's Virtual WorldGabe's Virtual WorldVirtualization EvangelistVirtually GhettoVirtu-al
#9Virtualization ProVirtual Storage GuyVirtu-alVirtualization EvangelistCormac Hogan
#10Mike D's BlogVirtu-alGabe's Virtual WorldvSphere-landvSphere-land
#11Virtualization ProThe SLOGThe SLOGVirtualization Evangelist
#12vCriticalHypervizorVirtual Storage GuyWahl Network
#13VMware TipsVMGuru.nlvReferenceVirtual Storage Guy
#14Frank Denneman blogTechHeadLucDMy Virtual Cloud
#15The VM GuyVirtual Storage GuyGabe's Virtual WorldLucD
#16Planet VMvCriticalNickapediaESX Virtualization
#17The SLOGPivot PointMy Virtual CloudDatacenter Dude
#18VMGuru.nlVMware TipsTechHeadStephen Foskett
#19Mike D's blogvReferenceVMGuru.nlGabe's Virtual World
#20HypervizorVM/ETCESX VirtualizationA vTexan
#21TechHeadLucDChris ColottiLong White Virtual Clouds
#22vReferenceMike D's blogVMware TipsKendrick Coleman
#23Pivot PointESX VirtualizationPivot PointTechHead
#24TechnodroneNickapediaBrian MaddenDerek Seaman's Blog
#25Chris WolfVirtually GhettoStephen FoskettBrian Madden

Dec 25 2013

Merry Christmas to all – top blog voting starts soon


Another year, another Christmas, another top blog voting coming soon. One of the best Christmas commercials of all time is the Corona Beer commercial, so simplistic but also so effective. Who wouldn’t want to be in that quiet & tranquil scene: on the beach, at night, beer in hand with a palm tree lit up with holiday lights.

I’ve just updated the vLaunchpad with over 50 new blogs and will soon being doing the nomination poll for specific categories in the top blog voting. So stay tuned!


Dec 02 2013

Webinar: How much is enough? Right-sizing your storage investment

I recently wrote a white paper for Infinio on this topic and am also doing a webinar that is based on the white paper. If you don’t know about Infinio you should definitely give them a look as they have a clever solution for solving storage performance challenges in vSphere environments. The white paper should be available very soon on Infinio’s website and you can sign-up now for the webinar on 12/18. I look forward to seeing you there and I’ll also being doing a more detailed post on their solution soon.


Nov 20 2013

Exterminate, exterminate, exterminate


What techie geek doesn’t love Doctor Who, I’ve been watching it since Tom Baker was the Doctor. Well if you do as well check out this latest promotion from Unitrends which caught my eye. Looks like the folks at Unitrends went on a shopping spree at ThinkGeek and they’re giving away some cool Doctor Who gadgets for simply downloading a free trial of Unitrends. I’ll readily admit that I own 2 sonic screwdrivers myself, the 10th Doctor’s and the 11th Doctor’s, mine isn’t a remote though which would be a nice upgrade. So head on over to Unitrends website and sign-up and hopefully you’ll win some cool Doctor Who swag to get prepared for the upcoming 50th anniversary show.


Oct 26 2013

Coming soon: Top vBlog 2014 edition


This year the top VMware & virtualization blogger voting will be bigger and better thanks to Veeam. We’ll be doing random prize giveaways both for bloggers that make it into the top 50 and for the voters as well. I’ll randomly pick 3 blogger names and 4 voter names to win prizes which include a Mac Mini, iPad Mini, HP MicroServer, Beats headphones, Roku and a Wii U.


I’ll kick it off in December with a call for nominations for the specific blogger categories and the voting will open up in January. Every year I get some blogs that complain that they were not included in the voting. I make every effort to add any blog that I might notice that isn’t listed but I can’t catch them all. So to make sure your blog is included in the voting form it must be listed on my vLaunchPad site. Please go there and check and if it isn’t please use this form to let me know. Please include your name, blog URL, RSS feed URL and twitter URL. It may take me a bit to get your blog added, I only update it every few weeks, so keep checking back to see if it is listed.

So bloggers if you haven’t blogged much this year you better get blogging as this is an opportunity for you to not only get some great recognition for all your hard work but also win some great prizes. Special thanks to Veeam for making this possible and if you’d like to show your thanks as well click on the below link and check out their great products.


Oct 21 2013

Top 10 things you must read about vSphere 5.5

There has been so many documents, white papers, videos and blog posts posted about the vSphere 5.5 release that it’s hard to keep up with them all. I have almost 500 links gathered in my vSphere 5.5 Link-O-Rama and it is still growing. With so many links it’s easy to miss some of the really good ones so I thought I would put together a top 10 list that highlights the ones that you don’t want to miss.


1 – The official VMware What’s New in vSphere 5.5 white paper series

Traditionally VMware releases a slew of What’s New white papers to support a new vSphere release that cover specific areas (i.e. storage, platform, networking, etc.). These white papers cover the new features and enhancements in a lot more detail than their standard one page overview document that covers them at a high level. With the vSphere 5.5 release they only released one initially (platform), then followed up with two more that cover specific storage features. Despite not having as many white papers for this release you should still give these a read as they provide good in depth information written by the VMware technical experts that will help you better understand the changes and new things in vSphere 5.5:

2 – Duncan’s VSAN & vFRC posts

Despite being released as a beta feature, Virtual SAN (VSAN) is still one of the most popular features in vSphere 5.5. VSAN has attracted a lot of interest and people are hungry to know everything they can about it. Well Duncan Epping over at Yellow Bricks has written 14 blog posts on VSAN to help feed that appetite. Another great new storage feature (that you can use now) in vSphere 5.5 is vSphere Flash Read Cache (vFRC), Duncan has also written some must read posts on that as well. So if you want to benefit from Duncan’s inside knowledge and experience with VSAN & vFRC make sure you follow the Yellow Brick road and give these a read:

3 – Chris Wahl’s vSphere 5.5 Improvements series

Chris Wahl has been rising fast in the blogosphere rankings (currently #12) by creating tons of great high quality content and he doesn’t disappoint when it comes to writing about vSphere 5.5. Chris has written a nice detailed multi-part series that covers many different topics in vSphere 5.5 and will give you a great overview of the many improvements in vSphere 5.5:

4 – Derek Seaman’s Installing vSphere 5.5 series

Derek Seaman is another blogger that has been quickly climbing the blogging ladder and made it into the top 25 last year. Derek appears to be trying to out do himself from last years epic 13-part blog series on installing vSphere 5.1 with a new 16 part (and counting?) series on installing vSphere 5.5. This series will guide you through all the different steps of installing vCenter Server and it’s various components and help you avoid any gotchas that you might encounter. Derek spends a lot of time covering SSL & SSO which can always be very challenging and frustrating to implement properly so I highly recommend you give it a read before trying to install or upgrade to vSphere 5.5 yourself:

5 – Cormac Hogan’s VSAN series

If you don’t know Cormac Hogan, you should, he’s a senior technical marketing architect at VMware and his focus is on storage which he knows a lot about. He produces a lot of great content for VMware on the vSphere Blog and also writes on his own personal blog as well which you should definitely bookmark. With each new vSphere release Cormac does a series focused on what’s new with storage and he’s back at it again with vSphere 5.5 with a multi-part series on VSAN. Cormac also started a series on what’s new in storage in vSphere 5.5, but has only posted part 1 so hopefully he continues it. By the time you’ve finished reading through his 10 blog posts on VSAN you’ll probably know as much about it as Cormac does, well probably not but you’ll still learn a lot.

6 – VMware’s Performance Best Practices for vSphere 5.5 white paper

Who doesn’t want to optimize their vSphere environment to gain the best performance possible. Well VMware has published a white paper on performance best practices for vSphere 5.5 that is full of great advice that will help ensure that your vSphere environment is running at top speed. This 90 page white paper is a collection of best practices that covers all parts of vSphere from hosts, to VM’s to vCenter Server and is a definite must read even if you think you know it all.

For example did you know that Windows guest operating systems poll optical drives (that is, CD or DVD drives) quite frequently and that unused or unnecessary virtual hardware devices can impact performance and should be disabled? Or did you know that the more vCPUs a virtual machine has, the more interrupts it requires and that delivering many virtual timer interrupts negatively impacts virtual machine performance and increases host CPU consumption? These are all things you should know if you want to keep your application owners happy, so give this paper a read, I guarantee you will learn something from it.

7 – Michael Webster & Jason Boche’s Storage Deep Dives

I love deep dives that are full of lots of technical details that can help you really gain a better understanding of a particular topic or feature. Michael Webster has a published a great deep dive on the new larger virtual disk size that is a very good read with a lot of great information and considerations for pumping up your virtual disk size. Jason Boche has published a great deep dive on the details of the changes to the UNMAP command in vSphere 5.5 including how to use it and the performance impacts. So if you want to take a deep dive into the pool of storage knowledge get your swimming trunks on and dive in.

8 – VMware licensing

Another year, another vSphere release, another licensing change, another headache.  What you know about VMware’s licensing has probably all changed so it’s time to study up on it again and figure it all out. Be sure and hurry up and learn it before it all changes again.

9 – RTFM

I shouldn’t have to tell you this but I will, reading the fricking manuals can really be helpful. I know most of us don’t like to read manuals and just want to dive into playing with the products but VMware actually makes some really good documentation that is more than just your typical step-by-step instructions. I think the document I always read first for every new vSphere release is the Maximum Configuration doc to see what has changed with scalability, you can read my write up on the changes from vSphere 5.1 to vSphere 5.5. I highly encourage you to checkout the separate documentation on Networking, Storage, Security, Availability and Resource Management. These are great guides for learning about the technology and getting some deep dive information on it.

VMware even makes it easier for you by putting it in multiple formats such as html, pdf, epub and mobi so you can download it to your device of choice and carry it around with you. Maybe some day they’ll even put it in audio book format so you can listen to James Earl Jones tell you how to configure Storage DRS while driving to work, how cool would that be. Also don’t forget to read the release notes as well, you can often find some great nuggets in there. Don’t have time for it, don’t worry, Maish over at Technodrone has done it for you and provided a great write-up on what he found.

10 – VMware Knowledgebase Articles

The VMware Knowledgebase has more than just solutions to problems, it also has a lot of great information and how-to articles as well. Quite literally the VMware KB is a fountain of information that contains dozens of great informative articles specific to vSphere 5.5. This includes articles that will help you with upgrading and installing vSphere 5.5 as well as tons of great tips, gotchas and solutions to issues. So before you even touch vSphere 5.5 save yourself some frustration by reading through the VMware KB and I guarantee your journey to vSphere 5.5 will be much smoother.


So there you have it, the top 10 things you should read about vSphere 5.5, I’m sure I missed some other great ones as well so feel free to shout out in the comments some additional links that you feel people must read. Also be sure and bookmark my vSphere 5.5 Link-O-Rama, new links are added daily and you will find almost everything you need there to get you going with vSphere 5.5.

Oct 18 2013

Complete list of VMworld 2013 session recordings that are publicly available

VMware continues to publicly publish sessions from VMworld 2013 so even if you did not attend you can still access a lot of great sessions. This list will be updated as any other new session recordings are released:

General Sessions:

Track: Business Continuity

Track: End user Computing

Track: Networking

Track: Operations Transformation

Track: Public & Hybrid Cloud

Track: Security & Compliance

Track: Storage

Track: Virtualizing Applications

Track: Virtualization & Cloud Management

Track: vSphere & Cloud Suite

Oct 15 2013

New VMworld 2013 session replays posted online

VMware originally posted session replays of the top 10 sessions at VMworld 2013 for anyone (even non-attendees) to watch. Now they have posted 4 new VMworld 2013 session on VMware TV:

Definitely check out these 4 new ones, I attended the vMSC session and it was a good one and looking at the speakers for the other sessions I can bet they are good as well.

The original top 10 sessions that were published are listed below and can be viewed here:

  • VSVC4944 – PowerCLI Best Practices – A Deep Dive
  • BCO5129 – Protection for All – vSphere Replication & SRM Technical Update
  • STO5715-S – Software-defined Storage – The Next Phase in the Evolution of Enterprise Storage
  • PHC5605-S – Everything You Want to Know About vCloud Hybrid Service – But Were Afraid to Ask
  • NET5847 – NSX: Introducing the World to VMware NSX
  • VCM7369-S – Uncovering the Hidden Truth in Log Data With vCenter Log Insight
  • VAPP4679 – Software-Defined Datacenter Design Panel for Monster VM’s: Taking the Technology to the Limits for High Utilisation, High Performance Workloads
  • EUC7370-S – The Software-Defined Data Center Meets End User Computer
  • OPT5194 – Moving Enterprise Application Dev/Test to VMware’s Internal Private Cloud- Operations Transformation
  • SEC5893 – Changing the Economics of Firewall Services in the Software-Defined Center – VMware NSX Distributed Firewall

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