Video with Scott Lowe, VMware vExpert and Author of Mastering VMware vSphere 5

If you’re new to the virtualization field and new to VMware, then Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere books are the best place to begin learning about virtualization. Scott’s Mastering VMware vSphere 4 has been called the “vSphere bible” and has received rave reviews since it’s publication in 2009.

With the release of vSphere 5, Scott created an updated version of the book aptly called Mastering VMware vSphere 5 which just became available last week.

For the more advanced virtualization crowd, Scott has also written a book on VMware vSphere Design along with Forbes Guthrie and Maish Saidel-Keesing which focuese on the best practices in designing vSphere infrastructures.

When I set down with Scott for an interview at VMworld 2011, we talked about his books, his VMworld sessions and his favorite features in vSphere 5. Take a look at the video interview and transcription below.

Watch the interview with Scott Lowe below, or see full transcript following the video.

Following is a full transcript of the interview.

Scott Lowe: Hi, I’m Scott Lowe. I am an author and speaker and participant in the VMware community. VCDX as you can tell by the shirt, and a vExpert three years running. I have three books on the market currently and a fourth one coming out on October 11th. Not as fast as some people want it, but still coming out. I’m an overall supporter of the VMware community trying to give back to the community and support what’s going on. And I blog and a tweet and that kind of thing, too.

I have two sessions going on; One session is running three times. We already did it once this morning to a fairly large crowd and the feedback so far was positive. That one is on vSphere design, so it’s sort of a follow-up session from the book that I published with Forbes Guthrie and Maish Saidel-Keesing earlier in the year on VMWare vSphere design. That is also being repeated tomorrow afternoon at 5:30; so on Tuesday at 5:30, and Wednesday morning at 9:30 as well. I’m very excited about that.

And I have the honor of participating in the Ask the Expert vBloggers (I think is the term that they’re using) session tomorrow at noon. On that panel will be myself Chad Sakac, Duncan Epping, Frank Denneman and moderated by Rick Scherer, so a lot of popular names in that one. That will be fun.

Question: Tell us about your new book, Mastering VMware vSphere 5.

Mastering VMware vSphere 5 will be a follow on to the vSphere 4 book that we released at VMWare 2009. It will be the same sort of tack, a comprehensive review of all the features that are in the product. Not a super technical deep dive, because you just can’t do that in this broad product.

You really can’t cover all those features in great depth, but enough that you get a good understanding of what the features are, what you can do with them, how you would use them, how they’re going to impact your business, that kind of stuff.

Then if you want the really nuts and bolts nitty-gritty stuff, then Frank and Duncan both have a book on clustering that they just recently published. There will be some others coming along from VMWare press that we’re looking forward to from folks that I know at VMWare that will be excellent resources.

See Duncan and Frank’s VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive

But this is intended to get everybody up to speed on vSphere 5, get you comfortable with the new features, look at some of the differences from 4 to 5, just make sure that you kind of have a good overall review of what’s happening with the product, where it’s going, what’s changed, that sort of thing.

We had really hoped to have it out for VMworld because having it here with the big announcements and all that would have been great, but given the timeline and the release schedule for the product itself, we had to make sure that we had everything correct and up to date.

We had to wait until the code was finalized and then we had that production lag where you actually have to go print the books that everybody likes to carry around. Our estimated availability date is October 11th, which means it will be available for VMworld EMEA. I hope to actually have some copies at VMworld EMEA.

If this video makes it out to our European friends who are going to VMworld EMEA, then I may be giving out copies, so we’ll see.

Question: Where should someone familiar with vSphere 4 start to learn about the changes in vSphere 5?

Scott Lowe: If they’re an existing VCP, they’re probably pretty well-versed in the product. There are some training classes to my knowledge that VMware will be releasing, a “What’s New From vSphere 4 to vSphere 5” course. Then I understand that there’s this other company that’s going to be releasing vSphere 5 training. TrainSignal, I hear some good things about them, so they might be a good resource for people.

Check out David Davis and Elias Khnaser’s VMware vSphere 5 Training

I think the big changes that people really need to pay attention to is a lot of people haven’t transitioned to ESXi, and as you are probably already aware, vSphere 5 ships only with ESXi, so that’s a big thing. If you haven’t transitioned to that architecture yet and you’re still used to having a search console there, this is going to be something that you’ve got to get used to. Start digging into the vSphere management assistant, start digging into the vCLI, get comfortable with ESXi.

People are also going to want to take a look at Storage DRS and how it’s implemented, which is a nice new feature and also profile-driven storage, which allows them to create some VM storage profiles to make sure their VMs are on the right or most appropriate level of storage. Those are the big highlights.

There’s lots of changes under the hood with vSphere HA and that kind of thing, but from an operational perspective, if you get your head wrapped around those, you’ll be a good ways along for it to be ready for vSphere 5.

Question: What are you most excited about with vSphere 5?

Scott Lowe: I don’t know, it’s hard to say because I’ve been working with the product since early, early beta. I kind of saw all these things coming along. I had the honor of participating in these meetings with VMware that they do with their top technical partners. This was in 2008. They were talking about the possibility of doing Storage DRS and they were exploring it with their top partners saying, “Does this make sense? What do you think?” so I’ve known about the idea for awhile, but I like a number of things.

One, I like the increased scalabilities. There’s more virtual CPUs per VM, more RAM per VM, more RAM per host, more network throughput, more storage throughputs. They gave this number of a million iOps out a single host with a single VM, which is just absolutely insane, that kind of workload.

It’s nice to see VMware kind of finally breaking out of the “I can’t virtualize that workload because it’s too big” shell. Then, all the features around adding additional automation, additional policy to help people scale to the bigger environments.

Because that’s really where we have to get to new levels of automation, orchestration, and policy-based management in order to really be able to reap the benefits of this flexible virtualized infrastructure that we’re all building. Because as long as we’re still all in managing individual VMs, we’re kind of doing the same thing we were doing before only now it’s all virtual.

We really need to change the way we’re handling IT change and the way we’re managing our infrastructure. I think it’s nice to see the changes they’ve made there and the beginnings of some really cool stuff to come down the road. The initial implementation of VASA, the profile driven storage has a really good promise for what it could be in the future. The initial releases, it’s an initial release, right? It’s a bit limited, but it’s a shadow of things that are yet to come I think that it could be done with it. It’ll be interesting to see how they play that out.

Question: What’s next for you?

Scott Lowe: What’s next for me? Many people probably know I’m in the midst of relocating from the East Coast to Colorado. So literally, the next thing for me after the conference wraps up is finishing my move to Denver. I’m excited about that.

Further out in the year, just a lot of travel that I’m looking forward to. I’m doing some VMUGs. We’ll be up in Toronto in late September. We have VMworld EMEA, of course, in Copenhagen in October.

I might be doing some additional European travel actually tied to Crystal and her Spousetivities work getting very popular. Some other companies want her to come to Europe and do some stuff, so that might happen.

Learn more about Spousetivities: the Fun Side of Tech Conferences

Tentatively, I’m still looking at a trip to the New Zealand area in early November to do a virtualization seminar down there, which is nice. Then, probably a trip back to Australia in early December to support some more virtualization meetings and community efforts there.

Lots and lots of travel and just lots of giving back to the community and supporting the community and trying to make sure that I can help out people getting into the products, understanding what they are, how to use them, how they can best put them to work for their business and stuff like that.