I’ve been asked several times recently to recommend training resources for VMware, so I thought I might write my responses up in a blog post to help out folks in the community who are looking for the best resources to gain VMware knowledge, prepare for their VCP and other certifications, and continue on their journey to becoming a virtualization rockstar.
I’ve picked up a bunch of certifications over the past 10 years. For me, certification is not the means to an end, but the end of some long, intensive studying and lab work, then doing some deep dive studying and doing. By the time I get to the test, passing should be a forgone conclusion. I’ll save details of my lab for a future post and focus on the books and other learning resources that I use. When getting into a new or updated technology, I start out my studying with a good overall survey of the technology I want to learn. I like a good book that hits all of the major components, provides background information to help explain why the technology, component, or module really matters and how it fits into the big picture. Then I get into technology specific books – deep dives, command line references, and architecture books.
My go-to book for VMware vSphere has been Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere 4 . Scott’s updated book, Mastering VMware vSphere 5 started shipping yesterday. Scott covers everything from the basics of what a hypervisor is to VMware vSphere best practices. This is a great book to accompany lab work as it includes licensing, planning and installation, setting up virtual networking, storage basics, security, resource allocation, HA, DRS, and even some automation with the CLI and PowerCLI (PowerShell). The book is well written, taking you methodically through vSphere, while providing plenty of helpful hints along the way. Do yourself a favor and click the picture to the left to order it from Amazon now (paperback or Kindle format). This book is a great way to get started with studying for your VCP certification.
Once I have the basics down, I get into the deep dive work. The first deep-dive book for VMware vSphere 5 is VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive, by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman. This is Duncan and Frank’s second book that focuses on the clustering and high availability technologies available in VMware vSphere. Readers of Duncan and Frank’s first book, VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS Technical deepdive (Volume 1), got an incredibly deep look at how to configure VMware HA and DRS. The new vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive includes Storage DRS as well. I’ve talked to several readers of both these books and Duncan and Frank’s blogs who have remarked that 1.) I’ve been doing it wrong all along, 2.) I totally understand how HA and DRS work after reading this, and 3.) My environment really is resilient and reliable thanks to this book.
Pearson and VMware teamed up earlier this year to create VMware Press. There are several books coming from VMware Press, as well as other authors/publishers that are now available for pre-order from Amazon.com. These include:
There are not many vSphere 5 specific books out yet, but many of the vSphere 4 resources are still very useful. My library includes these:
If you are not a big reader or you are looking for additional topics, check out TrainSignal’s VMware Training Videos. TrainSignal offers a whole slew of courses (many taught by VMware vExperts), including:
- vSphere 5 Training
- VMware View Administration Training
- vSphere Troubleshooting
- vSphere Performance Monitoring
- vSphere Security Design
- vSphere PowerCLI.
I have a couple of TrainSignal DVD’s and found them to be good quality with deep technical content.
Blogs and BrownBags
Once you are comfortable with the material, you can start to study for your VCP. Several bloggers have published collections of materials to help you prepare for the VCP, VCAP, and even the VCDX. I recommend Simon Long’s collection here: http://www.simonlong.co.uk/blog/vcp-vsphere-upgrade-study-notes/ and Cody Bunch’s VCP4 Resource Page and BrownBag sessions.
Instructor Led & Certification
Finally, once you are all read up, head to a VMware Education instructor led class. You need to take a VMware Authorized Training course to qualify to sit for the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification exam. VMware also offers a nice catalog of eLearning courses. If you want to get a discount on eLearning, Instructor-Led training, and certification exams from VMware, check out the VMUG Advantage program.