Anyone who’s ever been interested in VMware vSphere and has searched for resources on the subject has at some point come across one of the best VMware resources you can find, Mastering VMware vSphere 4 by Scott Lowe. If you saw my copy of Mastering vSphere 4 you might thing a dog got his jaws on it, but that’s not the case. I’ve used this book on a daily basis for about a year and a half now and it has been a never ending, save my hide kind of resource when it comes to anything vSphere 4 related. While studying for my VCP4 exam, I read this book cover to cover at least 4 times, not including the countless times I referenced it while at work as a new VMware administrator. If your story is much like mine with this book, then we all owe a big thanks to the author, Scott Lowe, and his vast knowledge and experience with VMware and its many working parts.

What’s Covered
Thankfully for us, Scott has followed up his wildly popular vSphere 4 book with Mastering VMware vSphere 5 available now. I was lucky enough this time around to receive a review copy of this book before it hit the shelves and I’ve already scoured its 768 pages. It weighs a good 2.2 pounds and its dimensions are 9.2 x 7.4 x 1.7 inches, it’s quite a substantial book and is adorned with a much more colorful cover than its predecessor. The cover picture shows what looks to be datacenter admin blurred around the datacenter much like an admin would be. In comparison, Mastering vSphere 4 is almost 100 pages shorter, which is due to the newly added features included in the release of VMware vSphere 5 dubbed a “Cloud Infrastructure Suite”. Features such as Auto-Deploy, Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (SDRS), Profile Driven Storage, vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) and the Linux-based virtual appliance titled vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) are covered in this book. Here is a brief overview of what kind of coverage you will see from Mastering vSphere 5 by Scott Lowe:

      *Understanding all components of the VMware vSphere 5 suite


      *installing and configuring VMware ESXi, vCenter Server and vSphere Update Manager


      *Building and managing virtual machines, networks and storage


      *Handling day-to-day or advanced tasks through the vSphere Web Client


      *Ensuring high availability and optimized resource usage with vSphere HA and vSphere DRS


      *Securing and automating VMware vSphere


      *Monitoring resource allocation and performance


    *Leveraging new storage features in VMware vSphere 5, such as Storage DRS

What’s Behind The Book?
When you pick up this book and start reading you will quickly understand why Scott is recognized as one of the leading experts on VMware. What’s also interesting is what kind of infrastructure is behind this book. Not only is Scott’s technical writing on point, but he’s given us a peek at the hardware that has powered this book’s content, here’s an excerpt from the introduction in the book:

Because of the specificity of the hardware for installing VMware vSphere 5, it can be difficult to build an environment in which you can learn by implementing g the exercises and practices detailed in this book. It is possible to build a practice lab to follow along with the book; however, the lab will require specific hardware and might be quite costly. Be sure to read Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 before you attempt to construct any type of environment for development purposes.
For the purpose of writing this book, I used the following hardware configuration:
-Four Cisco UCS B200 blade servers connected to a pair of UCS 6120 fabric interconnects
-Four Dell PowerEdge R610 servers
-Several models of Fibre Channel host bust adapters (HBAs) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) converged network adapters (CNAs), including adapters from both QLogic and Emulex
-Intel X520 10 Gigabit Ethernet network adapters
-A number of different storage arrays, including

      NetApp FAS6080
      EMC Symmetrix VMAX
    EMC VNX7500

-Several models of Fibre Channel switches, including Cisco MDS 9134 and MDS 9148, Brocade 200e, and Brocade Silkworm 3800 Fibre Channel Switches
-Several models of Ethernet switches, including Cisco Nexus 5010 and Dell PowerConnect 6248

Clearly, this is not the sort of environment to which most people have access. For entry-level NFS and iSCSI testing, a number of vendors including EMC, HP, and NetApp offer virtual storage appliances or simulators that you can use to gain some familiarity with shared storage concepts and that specific vendor’s products. I encourage you to use these sorts of tools where applicable in your learning process.

Should I Buy It?
This is a no-brainer… YES! If you are a VMware administrator, just starting with VMware, preparing for the VCP5 or other advanced VMware certs, or you are just curious and like learning new things, this is a must have. The book is well written, easy to read, which is a plus for a technical book as many can get drab and uninteresting. This book will leave you wanting to read it over again, I’m getting ready to do just that. Thanks Scott, great work, looking forward to more of your books in the near future.

You can read more about Scott Lowe on his popular blog, and be sure to check out his other titles:

Mastering VMware vSphere 4
VMware vSphere Design
VMware vSphere Administration Instant Reference

For more great VMware Books see my past posts: Top 5 VMware Books List, and Do You Own These VMware Books? You Should!

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Mastering VMware vSphere 5

  1. I just bought the ebook and it’s incredible and I highly recommend this book. Thanks Scott for putting together such a wonderful book. Works well on my PC Kindle software as well as my HP Touchpad. 5 Stars from me! (10 if I could!)

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