Ah, Day Five of my VMware 5.0 training trek is finally here and with it comes HA Clustering, Distributed Resource Scheduling (DRS), Patch Management and ESXi Installation. VMware's fault tolerance and distributed resource scheduling are my two favorite features. They're absolute essentials in production environments where you're required to support service levels (SLAs) in the multiple nines (99.99+). VMware's intelligent DRS algorithms cause me to sleep deeper and breathe easier when I'm on call. And, really, even when I'm not, I know that none of my VMware host systems will ever die due to a lack of resources. That's a very comforting feature, indeed.
DRS, for those of you who don't know, is the dynamic moving of virtual machines (VMs) among virtual machine host systems (hosts) in order to balance the load for a particular group of ESX/ESXi hosts. Additionally, you can manually set how aggressively or how conservatively your hosts will shift their loads around in order to maintain optimal performance for the entire host cluster.
To perform this same function manually, would require constant human vigilance and interaction with the environment. Computers handle these functions much more efficiently than humans do. And, who knows a computer's resource availability better than the computer itself?
Also included in Day Five is ESXi installation. You get to install your very own ESXi host system at the end of the course. You might be asking, "Why would you wait until the end of the course for installation?"
Two reasons readily come to mind for waiting until the end of the course: Installation is not that big of a deal and you're more prepared for installation after a rigorous introduction to the technology.
Installing an ESXi host is almost what we used to call a "forehead" install--if you fall asleep and your head hits your keyboard, the system install goes without human intervention. It's not quite a forehead install but it's pretty uneventful. If your hardware meets the minimum requirements, then you won't have a problem. Almost anyone can install ESX/ESXi. Burning the ISO image to CD is the most difficult part of the process.
For your information, the VMware vSphere 5.0 Install, Configure and Manage five-day course consists of 14 Modules plus labs. In five days you cover roughly 650 pages of material and that's really moving.
VMware vSphere 5.0 Modules
Overall, I highly recommend this course. I recommend it for you, if you have a bit of experience with virtualization technology and terminology. For me, going in 'cold' to a course like this would be overwhelming and offputting. I suggest that you work with the product on your own or in a test environment for a while before plunging headlong into the course. You'll enjoy the course more if you're a little familiar with what's going on. Trying to overcome a steep learning curve and absorb the material is really too much to expect from a new learner.
For those of you who have virtualization administration experience with an older VMware product, I suggest you enroll in the "VMware vSphere 5.0 What's New" course to just learn the aspects of the technology that's changed since the upgrade. It isn't necessary to sit through the entire week's worth of training, when much of it is going to be redundant for you.
Have you taken the VMware vSphere 5.0 Install, Configure and Maintain or the What's New course? What did you think? Talk back and let me know.