Book Review: Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid by Larry Loucks

Larry LoucksBook Review: Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid by Larry Loucks Read more reviews…

I have often thought of writing my own book on “things not to do” when building a virtual infrastructure and for what it’s worth, Larry Loucks has covered just about everything I would have written about – down to how recklessly VMware or other hyper-visors are chosen and deployed.

To Larry’s point – just today I was in a discussion with someone who was explaining how after weeks of piloting new hardware, senior management went into a meeting and after less than an hour, chose the hardware that was the cheapest and said, “build it around these servers”. This is one mistake that is covered in the book but this is only the beginning.


Lack Thereof

Larry also covers “Virtualization Expertise and the Lack Thereof” in chapter one, which I can totally agree. It seens like everyone today is a VMware expert but when Larry asked as simple question at a VMUG, “Who has heard of CPU% Ready” 90-95% say they don’t know – and BTW, Larry covers it in the book.

In my many years as a Virtualization Engineer, I’ve spent hours listening to vendors at conferences and VMworld, and trainers teaching how to install and configure VMware vSphere, but I must admit I got more out of reading two chapters of “Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid”, then all the conferences and trainings put together – no bull. Larry is not hyping any hardware or software as better than another, he’s focusing on the meat of what and how, and what not to do to avoid costly mistakes.

Best Chapter

My favorite chapter of the book is Chapter 3, “Storage for Virtual Environments, where Larry has put together example after example of valuable information about storage configurations, and LUNs, and this RAID type verses that RAID type, and VMFS.  He also covers a common question about thin provisioning that everyone considering it has asked – “should I thin provision?” Want to learn about disk alignment and IOPS, he covers it. There’s stuff about storage even a seasoned VMware or Storage Engineer doesn’t know. I’ve had my share of dealing with storage issues so when I read chapter 3, I thought just this chapter was worth the price of the book. Wow!

Another chapter I thought was really good was Chapter 7, “The Critical Foundation – Proper P2V Migrations”. I’ve covered this in my blog and there’s even a checklist I’ve posted. Larry – however –  covers the P2V process in such depth I almost wanted to delete my post.

My Conclusion

In conclusion – Is  “Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid” by Larry Loucks a step by step set of instructions for how to design and build a virtual infrastructure? No! It isn’t even a book on troubleshooting problems when they happen… It’s a book on how to avoid mistakes which I for one can agree with Larry because I have gone into VMware environments and found all sorts of craziness that should never have been allowed. Mistakes!


I recommend this book to managers who are considering virtualization, system administrators who are already making the mistakes this book talks about (maybe after reading it you can undo a few before they blow up), and for people like myself who have experienced through trial and error the mistakes of rushing or improperly setting up storage, or VM vCPUs, or memory, only to spend hours trying to figure out where the needle in the haystack is that is killing production server performance.  I also recommend it as a reference book that every IT department should have available when planning and designing new virtual environments. You couldn’t buy one hour of a VMware TAM’s time for the price of this book and I would bet my VMware TAM friend Matt Mancini would love this book.

The name of the book is “Critical VMware Mistakes You Should Avoid” by Larry Loucks and you can find it on

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