Best Free VMware Resources
Attention all VMware admins: There are a bunch of great free VMware resources for you! Are you using what vendors and the community are providing? Most of these types of free resources are aimed at educating you or making your daily support duties easier. For this post, I have put together a short list of ones that I like and think are helpful to others.
Top Free VMware Resources
Not everyone has the opportunity to attend VMworld each year. In the past you were on the outside if you could not attend – you missed out on all the great sessions, and the only other option was to pony up $600 to get the rights to watch the recorded sessions. For many, this is a lot of money simply to watch videos.
The good news is that in 2012 – and even more in 2013 – VMware is offering many of these sessions for free to the public. They are being posted to the VMworld Youtube Channel. These videos are usually the most popular sessions, which should make them of interest to most VMware users.
I think that admins can learn a lot from the VMworld sessions and also stay current on what new features and products are being offered from VMware. This valuable knowledge that you can use to help yourself and your company.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
VMware Hands-on Labs (HOL)
Like the VMworld sessions, if you cannot attend the conferences, you missed out on the labs. For years most VMworld attendees consider the labs as one of the most important things to do when at the show. In the past the labs could only be taken at the conference and were gone once the conference was over.
Over the past year or so VMware has been working to provide many of the VMworld labs for free on the Internet to anyone. These labs can be accessed from a VMware HOL web portal and can be taken from almost any device and any place that has an Internet connection.
The labs are a great way to get the experience of installing and configuring these VMware solutions. You can also use many of these products during the labs session once they are built, providing you with the experience of how the solution might work for you.
Free VMware Tools
The virtualization community, especially around VMware, has created a number of great free tools. These are created by vendors and individuals aiming to make your life easier.
RVTools: The amount of RVTools love is high from the VMware community, because creator Rob de Veij has created a very cool free tool. He works hard to update the application several times each year. The product is a information gathering tool that presents the data in an spreadsheet type format. This is great for collecting data or some simple reporting. It can also be used to confirm settings on various pieces of your vCenter configs.
CloudPhysics: This by far one of my favorites to hit the Internet in some time. The good people at CloudPhysics are bringing data science to the VMware world. Simply put, they collect data from your environment and then allow you to create reports based on the data. The reports are super easy to create. There are paid versions of the tool, but there is also a free community version that offers a bunch of features at no cost.
Veeam One Free: This is the free version of Veeam’s management and reporting tool. Sure its going to limit many of the cool features, but if you cannot buy tools you should be using what you can get for free. There is little reason to use nothing these days in the way of tools when free versions like this might be able to help you, depending on your needs or size of environment.
vCOPs Foundation: A little-known fact to most customers is that you can get the basic performance-only reporting features of vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPs) for free from VMware. Its called the foundations version. If you cannot justify the cost for the paid versions of vCOPs, then you should still take advantage of what you can get for free. The performance part of vCOPs is some of the most helpful anyway, so grab it!
These are just a few of the free items available for VMware admins that I think can help you do your job better. Spend some time looking into these items and research others that are out there. If you have a favorite free tool that is not on the list, drop us a note in the comments and share with the other readers.