This post is by Rob Nelson, one of the winners from our end of year prize giveaway which Pearson Pearson sponsored. Pearson had no input into the contents of the post. You can find Rob on Twitter @rnelson0 or his blog rnelson0.com.
Thanks to the vBrownBag December 2013 giveaway, I received a free copy of the VMware Press vSphere 5 Jumpstart training through Pearson, a $99.99 value. I completed the training today and want to provide my thoughts for others who may be interested. You can get a copy at http://www.pearsonitcertification.com/store/vmware-vsphere-5-jumpstart-video-training-downloadable-9780133491470
The format is very simple. Each video is a series of shorter tutorials, from 3 to 5 minutes each. Each of the four videos are between 25 and 50 minutes long, but I still found the short duration of each section helpful, giving me a good re-start point when I was interrupted or needed some time to process the contents. I did find it helpful to take a break after each one to make sure I got the most out of it. The complete package comes out to a little over two hours. You could finish them all in one day, or watch them after dinner every night for a week and still go out Friday evening.
YOU’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE
The four videos cover four topics that are likely familiar to everyone reading this: ESXi, vCenter, Storage and Networking, and Scalability and Protection. If you haven’t used VMware’s products, you will get a very good introduction to them. If you are familiar with vSphere, you will see a lot of familiar information but should find some new content as well. I think everyone will get something out of it unless you’ve poked at every button, menu item, knob, and widget in both the vSphere C# and Web clients. It is especially helpful if you have a specific focus at work and don’t always get out of your area. For myself, the sections on Backup and Restore, Replication, and NFS datastores were the most helpful. Even the sections covering content I knew, like VUM, showed me some new tricks. Pay attention to it all and you’ll be shown some of the wrinkles you may overlook in your daily usage.
All of the content is based on vSphere 5.1. VMware certification is based on 5.0, so this is still very recent, but 5.5 is the latest version. At the level being covered, you will not miss anything. As both the clients are used, when applicable (VUM, I’m looking at you!), it should be a great help for anyone who is clinging to the C# client. That means you get to see the same tasks in both clients, though the presenters do a great job of varying the descriptions to keep things fresh.
CONTENT AND VALUE
So, is the content worth it? This is a Jumpstart class where you will be shown how to be a competent vSphere administrator who can install and manage all the basic components of vSphere, including ESXi, vCenter, VUM, and a few VMware appliances. This is not an advanced class, or a troubleshooting class. While you will be well on your way toward handling virtualization tasks at home or work, you will still need to turn to the internet or VMware support for assistance with complicated designs or issues when “the normal way” does not work.
In addition, I found nothing that was wrong or incomplete in the material. Everything shown and discussed is accurate and complete. You can be confident that the training will not lead you wrong when you start applying it in production.
A quick word on a technical issue I had. Pearson’s digital purchases are hosted by informit.com and the videos are hosted on AWS. I tried accessing the videos from my Windows PC and my iPad. I could access the videos just fine from the PC, but on the iPad only 50-60% of the video would load. I could not fast forward past that point to get the download to resume, nor would reloading the page or even restarting my iPad fix the issue. I could, however, watch the video for the first half until it stopped, go back to the download page, restart the video, and quickly fast forward to where it stopped the first time and the rest of the video would download. I don’t know if this is an AWS, webkit, or “me” issue, but it was persistent.
The videos can be downloaded and viewed without any DRM for easy offline viewing (I’ll take a moment to remind everyone that we are responsible professionals who can afford our own copies of these classes; don’t abuse the DRM-free videos). You can use your Dropbox, Google drive, or other utility to put the videos on your iPad. By doing this, I was able to get my preferred viewing experience on my tablet.
This is a perfect course for those who have never used vSphere or are very new to it as it gives you everything you need to walk in day one and start your company’s virtualization project. Those who have a few years of experience will still benefit from the training by seeing the moving parts you are not as familiar with and a few of those wrinkles. For $100 (discounted currently to $80), this 2+ hour training class is well worth the money for neophytes and regular users both. Experts need not apply.