Author: Kenneth Hess & Amy Newman
Publisher: Prentice Hall, 2009
Aimed at: Newcomers to virtualisation wanting the big picture
Pros: An overview
Cons: Not enough details and lacks discussion of shortcomings
Reviewed by: Mike James
If you have been keeping up with virtualization then you probably don't need to read this book - unless you need some ammunition to backup your pro-virtualization position. In many ways virtualization is a no-brainer, as long as you don't apply it to an application that doesn't run fast enough on raw hardware.
This particular book, subtitled "Virtualization from the Trenches", is best regarded as an introduction to and justification for virtualization. It starts off by analysing different reasons for using virtualization. This is the business case, but it doesn't make much of the idea that things can go wrong and so can be seen as heavily biassed.
From here the book delves into particular virtualization options. VMware figures large with chapters on both VMware Server and ESXi. Citrix XenServer gets a chapter and so do Virtual PC, HyperV and VirtualBox. The book was produced too early to include any discussion of Windows 7's XP mode or its implementation of Virtual PC.
The second half of the book moves on to implementing virtual systems. Here the book seems to go a little off topic into VPNs and VLans which do share the word "virtual", but little else in terms of technology, with virtual machines. The final section of the book deals with management topics and wider issues. This is probably the section that will date most rapidly but given how fast virtualization technology is moving who knows...
This isn't a book you need to read if you have implemented or even played with a real implementation of a virtual machine, Virtual PC say. It doesn't answer any detailed specific questions or consider the sort of things that can go wrong. It's an overview and as such might be useful to a beginner or someone wanting to see the bigger picture.