Mastering VMware vSphere 6 – Available Now!

Today is the day that Mastering VMware vSphere 6 is finally available! There looks to be a small delay in the e-book availability (as usual with these things I’m told), so those that don’t want to carry around 840 pages may have to wait a day or two more.

It’s been around 12 months since I started writing this latest revision. While the product has gone through a number of changes since I started writing, now it’s released I think it’s one of the best releases that VMware have produced. Great job to all the R&D team at VMware who worked on this release.

Once again I would like to thank my co-author Grant Orchard and contributing author Josh Atwell. You guys did an amazing job. Thanks also to Scott Lowe for not only passing the series onto me with 5.5, but also for writing the forward in this edition. Finally, and most importantly, thanks to my wife. She puts up with many of my late nights and grumpy mornings so that you the reader can learn about vSphere.

Announcing Mastering VMware vSphere 6

Over the last 10 months, with my contributing authors, Grant Orchard and Josh Atwell, I have been working on an update to the Mastering VMware vSphere series. What does the updated book cover? Well, I tried to stick to the very well received “Scott Lowe Formula” from the previous Mastering vSphere 4 and 5 but at the same time continue to put my own take on things after the vSphere 5.5 revision. Scott Lowe has once again graciously written the forward for this book and I think his words summarize it well.

Mastering VMware vSphere 6 is more than just a new version of a well-respected tome, because Nick has done more than just refresh the material found within these pages. Yes, you’ll find in-depth coverage of new features in vSphere 6; that includes features like long-distance vMotion and cross-vCenter vMotion, a new version of VSAN, and the long-awaited SMP Fault Tolerance that will allow you to use VMware Fault Tolerance with up to 4 virtual CPUs. Yes, you’ll find coverage of NFS 4.1 support, Virtual Volumes, and a new version of Network I/O Control. Of course, there is so much more in vSphere 6 than just what I’ve mentioned here, but you’ll have to read the rest of the book to find out what else is included!

— Scott Lowe

Yesterday VMware announced that vSphere 6.0 will be made available by the end of March and I’d like to advise that Mastering VMware vSphere 6 is available for pre-order today and will be shipping or downloadable within days of the software being made available.

Come Pitch Me… at VMworld

Like many of you out there, when I was a VMware customer, I always wanted to be able to tell them the great ideas I had for their software. Well, if you’re coming to VMworld US or EU I would like you to pitch those ideas to me!

We would love to hear your thoughts on our software (good and bad), what you think we should be concentrating on or even what cool new feature you think we should build.

In the end, we build this software to make your lives easier, so tell me how we can better serve you and what your company really needs. It will be a first come / first serve basis, just fill out the form and I’ll contact you with a confirmed time and location we can meet-up.

Couch to OpenStack Series

Cody Bunch requested a collection links to the Couch to OpenStack vBrownBag series we did last year. I figured that there’s probably a few people who would also like this as a separate group, much like I did for the VMware Certification series we did.

You can find a new “Couch to OpenStack” section under the Education menu of my blog, or click here to go straight there.

So you want to be VMware Certified?

Over the past few months I’ve received a number of requests asking for advice on how to get started down the VMware certification path. The below is part of my usual response to these kinds of requests.

Once you have completed the required Install, Configure, Manage course, I would recommend the following extra steps:

  1. Study the VCP-DV blueprint, highlight the areas that you don’t feel 100% comfortable with.
  2. Watch the vBrownBag study guides on for the areas you highlighted and need to brush up on:
  3. Use a real lab (or download AutoLab: to test your knowledge of the entire blueprint.
  4. Sit the exam!

Once you have acquired the VCP-DV certification you can move onto the advanced certification series (VCAP) and like the VCP, you can specialize in DC, Cloud or EUC. I would use the exact same methodology as above with the VCAP exams as well.

 I hope you find this useful, please share your own methods in the comments below.

Settling In

As I sit here writing this, I listen to the low hum of my home lab for the first time in a while. It had a rather indirect route from Sydney to Palo Alto (via Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, Fiji, Seattle and Vancouver) taking around 6 weeks. My flight was much more efficient! I’m glad it didn’t have to sit in customs for days or weeks.

I’ve been in Palo Alto for a little over a month now and only now am I beginning to feel settled. While my new place is nice, it’s only just started to feel like home now the furniture and other creature comforts have arrived (the lab being one of the most important).

My workplace on the other hand has already changed slightly wish a relocation of our team so we’re sitting closer / in the same building. The thing I don’t think I’ll get used to any time soon at work is the coffee… I even ordered some from Tonx but I wasn’t impressed.

Everything survived the trip with the exception of my trusty NAS (QNAP 439 Pro II). For some reason it’s just not powering up. While I think it would be a great time to update to something a little more virtualization friendly (like a Synology), I don’t think I’ll get approval from the wife somehow.  I’ll need to see if it’s a simple lose wire from the switch to the motherboard connector that one of my other computers had, but it’s too late in the evening to start opening it up. 

So, now that (nearly) everything is back in place I plan on getting back to my regular schedule. I have a list of things that need catching up, most pressing is probably the vBrownBag podcast feed. Speaking of vBrownBag I hear that the Open Stack conference in Atlanta last week was a huge success, keep your eye out for us at other conferences later this year too.

Lastly, for those interested, I’m blogging some book extracts from Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5 over on too. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so I hope some people find the snippets useful.

The Power of a Tweet

In September of 2011 I started studying for the VCP5 exam. I used many materials as an aid throughout the process, including Scott Lowe‘s Mastering vSphere books, Cody Bunch‘s vBrownBag recordings, and Duncan Epping‘s Clustering Deepdive books. One particular Sunday evening I mentioned my study on twitter, little did I know that this tweet would change my life!

Just reading VMware Clustering Deepdive, with a glass of red.

— @nickmarshall9

At the time I was working as an internal IT guy at a large mining, engineering and train manufacturing company in Australia. I wasn’t satisfied with where my career prospects were taking me, so I decided to put my head down and learn as much about VMware products as I could. The dream was that one day I may even be able to work for them. As I got more engrossed in the VMware study, I found more resources and more people willing to help out with getting me certified, I found a community that I am now forever indebted to. 

Another seemingly random tweet (at the time) would also have a big, big impact:

These BrownBag videos should be on iTunes.

— @nickmarshall9

Getting involved with this community has made not just an impact on me, but also my friends, family and colleagues too. I’ve had many opportunities to grow both professionally and personally due to experiences I never dreamed of having. Being involved at conferences, online events and lots of social gatherings has given me many memories with really great people.

On a day in December in 2012, Scott Lowe tweeted that he was looking for someone that might be interested in helping him with a project. At the time I thought “yeah, I could give some more back to this great community” and tweeted back:

Your timing couldn’t be more perfect.

— @nickmarshall9

I can pinpoint those three tweets to having some of the most impacting and influential repercussions on not just my life, but my family too. Let me explain…

Duncan, if you had not of tweeted me back when I was reading your book, I may have not noticed the volume of people on twitter that got me in love with the VMware Community.

Cody, if you had not of asked me to take the vBrownBag videos and make them into a podcast, I wouldn’t have have been a “known VMware guy” in the community that led to my initial employment at VMware.

Scott, if you had not of “paid it forward” by handing the Mastering VMware vSphere book over to me last year I wouldn’t of made the contacts in VMware that has led to my new job.

Did you catch that? Yes I have a new job! I can finally let a secret out that’s been simmering away since last year! I’m moving to Palo Alto (from Sydney) to join the Product Management team at VMware. I’ll be responsible for roadmap and integration of vCloud Suite and I start in early April.

So to all three of you, Duncan, Cody and Scott… THANK YOU. Your commitment, dedication and openness is very much appreciated. Not just by me, but I think I speak on behalf of the rest of the VMware community too.

Virtual VMUG – Upgrading and Mastering vSphere 5.5

Today I presented a session at the Virtual VMUG conference titled “Upgrading and Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5″. It was a session based around the upgrade process to vSphere 5.5 and a few little tricks for playing with vFRC and VSAN inside AutoLab. Thanks for all those of you that attended, I was inundated with questions during and after the presentation. I’ll be sure to get your contact details and answer those I didn’t get to within the allotted timeframe.

As promised, below is the (higher quality) recording from the demo section of the presentation. The slide deck was pretty light on, but if people want it just comment below and I’ll upload that too.

Holiday Book Giveaway

There’s a number of great giveaways around this time every year. A couple of them are giving away copies of my book Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5. If you want to score a copy, I suggest you head to the following links:

I’m also going to give away a signed or electronic copy of my book to one lucky recipient. Simply leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner at random on Christmas Eve.


Congratulations to AlexC – the winner after I randomly generated a number (20) between 1 and 61 (total number of comments).