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Book review: Managing VMware Infrastructure with Windows PowerShell

Author: Hal Rottenberg

Publisher: Sapien Press

ISBN: 978-0-9821314-0-4

If you’ve not read one of my reviews before I have three main criteria for judging a book:

· Is it technically accurate?

· Does deliver the material it claims to deliver?

· Is worth the cost of purchase and the time I spend reading it?

This is a relatively short book at 359 pages

After an Introduction the book is divided into the following chapters:

1. Windows PowerShell Crash Course

2. Getting Started

3. Scripting with Virtual Interface

4. Inventory and Reporting

5. Deployment and Configuration

6. Maintenance and Operations

7. Troubleshooting and problem resolution

An appendix deals with Managing VMware with PowerGUI. I haven’t got into this yet as I still prefer running scripts. I will probably end up creating a PowerGUI powerpack of them for use at work – sorry these can’t be shared.

This may seem like a short list but there is a massive amount of information packed into these chapters. The book is written using PowerShell 1.0. I’m running the VI Toolkit on PowerShell 2.0 against vsphere 4. It all works. The toolkit enables us to perform tasks against the host and the guests in a virtual environment.

Chapter 1 is an introduction covering installation, configuration and the key features of PowerShell such as the pipeline and key cmdlets. Chapter 2 is a very short chapter that introduces the VI Toolkit and the PowerShell cmdlets for VMware.

In chapter 3 we start to look at PowerShell scripts and how the VI Toolkit works with PowerShell. The contents of chapters 4-7 are explained by their titles. I found the information in these chapters to be useful and accurate with the examples ready to use.

Judging against my criteria:

· Is it technically accurate? From a PowerShell aspect yes it is. From a PowerShell aspect everything I’ve tried works as described so again I have to give 10/10 for technical content.

· Does it deliver the material it claims to deliver? Oh yes. I found the examples easy to use and they work. It shows how to use PowerShell against VMware. 10/10

· Is worth the cost of purchase and the time I spend reading it? Very definitely. Its already saved me the purchase price several times over and I’m just on the Inventory and Reporting chapter! This very definitely is a book that repays reading – 10/10

The index is will put together as I was able to find everything I needed. Overall score has to be 10/10.  This is one of the best books I’ve bought in a long time.

Before we get too carried away I think the typesetting could have been better – the headings don’t always stand out on the page which can make following the chapters a bit difficult in some places – that’s the only negative I can find.

I haven’t had any need to delve into VMware in any detail until just recently but I did try out the VI Toolkit when it was first in beta. This book is my way into the bits of VMware I need. If you are working with VMware and use PowerShell you should have a copy of this book. If you don’t you should go an buy one – now.

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