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Train Signal's New DVD for VMware Administrators Wanting To Take Their Next Step

Last week, Train Signal released a new DVD series for VMware administrators called VMware vSphere Pro Series Training Vol. 1

There are three parts to this series and I'll hit each one in detail:

First part in the series is VMware View4. David Davis (@davidmdavis) does a great job explaining a broad overview of how View actually works. You need to have a good foundation and understanding of vSphere to install View, but it really doesn't take a "Pro". The fact that this is the first video series showing how to do everything in VMware View4 from start to finish is great for those early adopters. David explains how you can't use Windows 2008 as your broker server and how Experimental Offline Desktops aren't even supported in vSphere 4....yet. So if you're ready to ride the wave and get VDI rolling, you will benefit extremely by watching this series. Learn how to plan your View infrastructure, install every server and agent with visual step-by-step instructions, and easily manage your View infrastructure.

What you get out of the VMware View4 series is the ability to get all the details. David gives a step-by-step install of View Composer, which I see as a critical part of the View 4 infrastructure, and is an optional add-on. View Composer is part of View Premier that allows you to run desktops as linked clones which significantly cuts down on disk space and maintenance. The Composer setup is a little more tricky than most "Click Next and Finish" installations, but David's step-by-step makes everything real clear. The ThinApp 4 series has three videos for Concepts, Installation, and Virtualizing Applications. After I watched all the View videos I still had questions of concepts in the back of my mind that went unanswered, but this presentation keys in on the technical know-how and not what-ifs. It doesn't take a Pro to install VMware View4 to get it up and running, but knowing how to deploy desktops with or without pools, learning how to use ThinPrint, PCoIP, Linked Clones, and most importantly, ThinApp, makes this tutorial great for the all-in-one desktop virtualization package. 

The second part of this DVD is all about the Cisco Nexus 1000v presented by Rick Scherer from (@rick_vmwaretips). Rick gives a brief description of some Cisco Nexus advantages over the regular vNetwork Virtual Distributed Switch (vDS) such as virtual LACP, QoS, ACLs, and Netflow. The overview Rick gives with his diagrams makes things a bit easier to understand because for me personally, I was having a difficult time grasping how all the components fit together. Such as how the VSM (virtual supervisor module) is actually in charge of the configuration, maintaining statistics, and access to make changes while the VEM (virtual ethernet module) is what actually carries the VM traffic . Rick also makes a few good points such as the VSM cannot be supported with vMotion or Fault Tolerance. Installing the Cisco Nexus 1000v from start to finish isn't easy. There are OVFs to deploy, lots of configurations to input on the VSM either through the CLI or made easier through the Java applet, installing the VEM module on each host, and verifying that all was done without problems. Rick's step-by-step gives a great overview without getting to Cisco-ey on you. You don't have to know any Cisco IOS commands to get the 1000v installed, configured, and ready for use, but it's no "Click Next" type of install.

Rick gives a deep-dive into the High Availability of the Nexus 1000v, why it's important and how it's configured. You will get into Cisco IOS commands at this point. Rick's next series gets a bit deeper into managing the Nexus 1000v, migrating your existing port groups, and using port profiles. Before seeing this video series, I had tried to tackle installing the Cisco Nexus 1000v on my own lab and failed. Like I said before, I didn't have a very good understanding of how everything hooked together. I followed along with Rick and had my Nexus 1000v up and running in about an hour and a half. I would rate this as a "Pro" tutorial because not every vSphere administrator can get the Nexus 1000v up and running without a little bit of help.

The final instructional series dives into PowerCLI using Windows PowerShell. Hal Rottenberg from (@halr9000) and who has been recognized as a PowerShell expert is going to be guiding you through this journey. I used to code in VBA and will say I'm now more than rusty with any type of coding, including good 'ol fashioned HTML. I started this series with absolutely no PowerShell coding experience. To start using PowerCLI, you have to install PowerShell first on some boxes, like XP, and Hal does a good job of getting you ready to start diving into the world of VI Scripting. The next few lessons went from learning how the shell works, using cmdlets, pipelines, parameters, etc. and actually using them to start running commands from powershell. From there, you advance on to 2.5 hours of concepts, then to real-world scenarios, and finish it all up with a heaping cup of deep-dive.

Before I got this series, I wasn't too concerned about pursuing PowerCLI because I really didn't feel like learning new code. Hal had me sold with this quote on the video, "Why should you learn PowerCLI? Because a good system administrator is lazy". It's true. If there are repetitive tasks that you have to perform, why not script it? You end up making less mistakes and save alot of time.

Without a doubt in my mind, the PowerCLI series is a "Pro" tutorial. Every VMware administrator can manually go through each VM and check for snapshots, but a Pro can create a script to scan every VM and report back. Hal will teach you to create, scan, and remove snapshots from VMs with a few commands through PowerCLI in a matter of seconds, in addition to many other useful features. PowerCLI is definitely the toughest series in this DVD and will take more than just a few videos to really master PowerCLI. This DVD series gives you a great foundation and helps you explore what vSphere PowerCLI has to offer. At the same time, giving you the ability to conjure up your own ideas for scripts and make them a reality. Take your time when watching this series because if you haven't been in touch with coding for awhile, like myself, it can be a lot to take in at once. Watch the videos multiple times and follow along and it will start feeling more natural.

Don't expect to get this DVD and learn more about advanced vSphere features, but know that it's about products that use vSphere as a foundation. I feel that this DVD series has taught me three very new ideas that all revolve around vSphere.  The VMware View series will be greatly appreciated by the early adopters of VDI. Knowing best practices of a new technology is a great way to start out instead of backtracking later. The Cisco Nexus 1000v series will benefit organizations who want to give the network back to the network team. Being able to deploy and install the Nexus 1000v is a great thing to have in your repertoire. PowerCLI is like having an ace up your sleeve. You might know just as much as the next VCP within the GUI, but if you can script your tasks within vSphere, it can really make you stand out. Train Signal's VMware vSphere Pro Series Training Vol 1 is just what I've been waiting for. After achieving my VCP4, I really wanted to build upon that foundation. Train Signal has built a product for every VMware administrator wanting to take their next step in virtualization.



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