5 Rules for virtualization success

"What we like best about virtualization is the dynamic nature of it," say Nelson Ruest and Danielle Ruest, authors of Virtualization: A Beginner's Guide. "The server is no longer constrained in its physical envelope and because of this it becomes much more malleable which makes it so much easier to work with." Their advice to newbies: Start with the free versions of virtualization technologies available from Sun, Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, and many others and test, test, and retest.

This is part of a regular series that highlights new books and their authors. Also in this series: J. Peter Bruzzese on Exchange Server 2007, Raffael Marty on security visualization, Joel Scambray on exposing the hacker's advantage, and Scott Hogg on IPv6 security. (You can find all the installments in this series here.)

Virtualization: A Beginner's Guide

What do you like best about virtualization? The dynamic nature of it. The server is no longer constrained in its physical envelope and because of this it becomes much more malleable which makes it so much easier to work with. When machines are nothing but a set of files in a folder, they can easily be copied from one location to the other, they can easily be duplicated and they are much easier to back up. What's even better is that it is fun to work with virtualization technologies.

Words of advice for those just getting started with virtualization: The best thing to do for newbies is to start with the free versions of virtualization technologies. Free virtual engines are available from Sun, Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, and many others. They will help you get your feet wet without having to invest a lot of money.


Name: Nelson Ruest and Danielle Ruest

What we're working on now: We are working on another book called Configuring Windows Server Virtualization that is a training guide for Microsoft exam number 70-652 and will be out by June 2009. In addition, we have become columnists for Virtualization Review Magazine where we write about virtual architectures. We've also produced a series of screencasts on Microsoft Hyper-V which will be released on TechTarget.com.

Favorite learning sites: VirtualizationReview.com, MyITForum.com

Something most people don't know about us: We take pride in making sure that all of the instruction sets we write about are 100% correct. We make mistakes like everybody else but we do our best to test everything thoroughly before we publish it.

Philosophy: Test everything 10 times and implement once. This way you don't have to "fix" it once it's in production.

5 keys for success

  • Begin with free virtualization technologies.
  • Evaluate technologies from at least two different vendors.
  • Try them out in your laboratory.
  • Test, test, and retest.
  • Move to Production only when you feel you have mastered the products you selected.

5 classic mistakes

  • Jumping right in without a proper evaluation.
  • Not taking the time to determine which vendor fits best with your datacenter.
  • Not performing thorough enough tests.
  • Not starting small.
  • Poorly sizing host servers.

Who should read this book? IT professionals of all levels will benefit from learning about the different aspects of virtualization and how they fit together. This book is also very useful to help justify virtualization technologies to upper management and CIOs.

What can readers expect to learn? This book provides an overview of virtualization basics and architectures and explains the virtual infrastructure of servers, desktops and applications. It also covers how to select appropriate virtualization solutions and how to manage virtualization.

Parting words: The one piece of advice we want readers to take away is that they need to take a structured approach to the implementation of virtualization technologies. Begin with server virtualization because it is the foundation of all other virtualization technologies and then move on to desktop and application virtualization.

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