I’ve been using Mastering VMware vSphere 5 (ISBN-10: 0470890800) as a jump start for my VMware 5 self-training. Overall it’s a pretty good book. It’s not an introduction to VMware and I don’t know if I’d recommend it for someone who is new to virtualization. There’s not a lot of “beginner” information in this book that builds a basic foundation for general virtualization topics.
But if you are already familiar with virtualization and need a book that’s going to help you master the basics of VMware this is a great place to start. Just like any major piece of software or system it’s not a single reference source for all things vSphere 5. There are areas that it’s shallow by design. If you are weak on networking in general you will not be able to design a 1000 node guest VM network at the end. You’ll have a pretty good idea of the resources you need to enlist.
Storage is another area that if you are familiar with VMware’s approach to storage you will get the information you need to administer a vSphere 5 storage environment. But you will need separate training on storage to truly have enough skill to design and build a storage sub-system for a substantial VMware environment.
I generally enjoyed Scott’s no nonsense writing style. He offers the occasional observation from his work experience which you do get the feel that he really understands the technology and its application. He demonstrates his years of experience in not just virtualization but also technology. I would most definitely recommend this book for someone looking to upgrade their knowledge from a previous version of vSphere.