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vSphere Performance: The story behind my new book

I’m very happy to announce that my new book called VMware vSphere Performance, along with co-authors Rynardt Spies and Christopher Kusek, has been released! It’s available right now on Kindle format and the hard copy will be available on May 12th!


The book is focused on providing guidance for how to design vSphere to get the best performance out of your virtual machines.  I wanted the book to be more than a paperback version of vSphere’s own performance best practices paper – we’ve also included tips, tricks, and stories of what we’ve seen in the field with real customers.  We also include some tips for troubleshooting performance problems that you may encounter.  We hope you’ll find it valuable across current and future versions of vSphere.

Background Story

I first became involved with this book back in late 2011 as the book’s technical editor.  There were numerous delays and issues that aren’t worth getting into, but there was very little progress.  I had been emailing back and forth with one of the authors of the book, Jonathon Fitch, trying to help where I could and give guidance whenever possible.  It was during those email exchanges that he told me he was fighting cancer.

Fast forward to early 2013, and I’m in the middle of writing Virtualizing Microsoft Business Critical Applications on VMware vSphereI had been emailing with Jonathon to see if he was making any progress when he told me that his disease had progressed to a point where he didn’t think he’d be able to finish the book.  He tried to get into some experimental treatment program but unfortunately he didn’t quality, and his doctors told him he had just a few weeks left.  The news hit me pretty hard even though I didn’t know him well.

I told Jonathon I would take over his chapters, making sure as much of his content remained in the book as possible, and that his name would remain on the cover. (Sybex originally agreed to that but changed their minds and his name is not printed on the cover – I’m not happy about it but I understand their decision)  After not hearing from him for a little while and thinking the worst, I got the bad news that on April 1, 2013, Jonathon had died.  His wife told me that he was very proud of being a part of the book and it was important to him.

I didn’t know Jonathon before becoming involved in this book and mostly communicated with him through email.  He wasn’t active on Twitter or other social media so he wasn’t well known.  Even still, he was a member of our virtualization community and it’s sad to lose one of our own.  I tried to keep as much of his original content in the book so that his hard work would survive. We dedicate this book to Jonathon and I sincerely hope that his family is proud of what he was able to accomplish while fighting his disease.

It was a long road to finishing this book – I was still writing the VBCA book and was also involved in Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5, so the idea of taking on another book was not high on my list but I made a commitment to Jonathon so I stuck with it.  It wasn’t without it’s challenges to say the least.  I wanted to keep as much of his content in the book as possible, but his chapters were still largely based on the content he’d written in 2011, some of it going as far back as vSphere 4.1.  What do you do when you don’t fully understand what he meant in a sentence or paragraph and you can’t ask him to clarify? Or how do you keep the original author’s words intact when he’s writing based on a version of vSphere that’s 3 revisions older than the current version?

Much of the time I felt like Dante from Clerks when he would say, “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”  If you’re familiar with Clerks then you’ll know what I mean.  Or, see below.

Thankfully I was able to push through the issues and challenges and produce something I think Jonathon would be proud of.  I did what I could to keep his words intact while updating the content to be relevant to the most recent version of vSphere.  I wish we could have kept his name on the cover, but his hard work paid off and we have all dedicated the book to him.  I really hope it brings his family some comfort.

Rather than end on a sad note, instead I’d rather post some pictures of my adorable kids holding a copy of the book.  🙂

2014-05-08 12.41.43  2014-05-08 12.41.13

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