The book reviews have returned! This week’s installment is a book written by Mark Dunkerley, titles Learning AirWatch. For those of you who don’t know what AirWatch is, in short it’s a Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform that allows your organization to manage all devices within the organization. AirWatch does a whole lot more than just manage devices, but there will be more posts to come with much more detail, stay tuned. I purchased this book about 3 weeks ago and read through it pretty quick. I do have some extensive AirWatch training, and I am a VMware employee so I know more about AirWatch than the average user (see disclaimer), that being said, it’s still a quick read for the beginner. Let’s get into the review…
If you have some AirWatch experience, or are just getting started, likely you’ve come to find out that there aren’t many books out there to choose from. In fact, Dunkerley’s book is about the only AirWatch book I could find on any website or in any bookstore. Mark’s writing is very easy to read and you should be able to breeze through the book the first time you read it, which is how I would recommend reading it. Read it like you would a novel, don’t take notes, just read and try to assimilate what you’ve learned. At 298 pages long, and weighing 1.3 pounds (paperback), the book is easily transported in a backpack or briefcase without adding too much bulk. The official title is “Learning AirWatch: Learn to implement, manage, and deploy the latest Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platform offered by AirWatch.” That about sums up the book, but let’s get into a little more detail on what’s covered.
In chapter one, Getting Started, is a nice intro to AirWatch. This chapter lays out the different types of hosting options available, the management platform, support options and AirWatch’s learning services. I thought this was a great intro to AirWatch, it’s aimed specifically at the beginner, those with experience will skip over this chapter. Chapter two focuses on integrating AirWatch into your current infrastructure or enterprise. Enterprise Integration will provide an overview of the options you have to integrate your new deployment of AirWatch with your Active Directory or other enterprise services solution. AirWatch Cloud Connector (ACC) plays a big role in how your enterprise is integrated with AirWatch, you’ll get acquainted with ACC in this chapter. Chapter 5, Mobile Device Management, is a meaty chapter full of great information on how to manage the devices that are in your organization. I think chapter 5 is the most important chapter in the whole book. It’s one of the longer chapters in the book and for a good reason. You’ll cover things like device ownership, smart group creation, device enrollment, un-enrolling a device, and the Self Service Portal. As an AirWatch administrator you will spend the bulk of your time doing the things covered in chapter 5.
Should I Buy It?
There are two different answers to this question for this book. Let’s look at this from a beginner/new to AirWatch angle first. Should you buy this book as a beginner? Yes, without a doubt! This book is great for beginners, it covers the basics and teaches you how to install AirWatch and most of the components sufficiently. You will learn enough to feel confident in installing an implementation of AirWatch in your own organization. You will also gain confidence in speaking to management about the need for AirWatch and the benefits it provides to your organization.
Ok, now for the Technical Architect/Sr. Systems Administrator/AirWatch veteran angle, don’t buy this book, with a caveat. The caveat being, if you want to keep a nice reference guide nearby, then buy the book. As a technical resource it’s lacking, this applies to the administrator that already knows AirWatch and has good hands on experience with the software. I’m not giving this book a bad review, I just think it’s more aimed at the newbie than the veteran. Other books like Mastering VMware vSphere 6, caters to both the beginner and the expert and is a good reference material to keep around. This book is more about Learning AirWatch, and is titled as such. Mark Dunkerley did a great job writing this book, and with a little more depth and technicality applied, this book could compare to the Mastering series of books.
Disclaimer: I am a VMware employee and am currently supporting a large implementation of AirWatch as a Professional Services Consultant. I was not paid to write this post, my opinions and writing are my own.