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Mastering vSphere – Best Practices, Optimizing Configurations & More
Do you regularly work with vSphere? If so, this free eBook is for you. Learn how to leverage best practices for the most popular features contained within the vSphere platform and boost your productivity using tips and tricks learnt direct from an experienced VMware trainer and highly qualified professional. In this eBook, vExpert Ryan Birk shows you how to master: Advanced Deployment Scenarios using Auto-Deploy Shared Storage Performance Monitoring and Troubleshooting Host Network configurati

If you’re here to gather some of the best practices surrounding vSphere, you’ve come to the right place! Mastering vSphere: Best Practices, Optimizing Configurations & More, the free eBook authored by me, Ryan Birk, is the product of many years working with vSphere as well as teaching others in a professional capacity. In my extensive career as a VMware consultant and teacher (I’m a VMware Certified Instructor) I have worked with people of all competence levels and been asked hundreds - if not thousands - of questions on vSphere. I was approached to write this eBook to put that experience to use to help people currently working with vSphere step up their game and reach that next level. As such, this eBook assumes readers already have a basic understanding of vSphere and will cover the best practices for four key aspects of any vSphere environment.

The best practices covered here will focus largely on management and configuration solutions so should remain relevant for quite some time. However, with that said, things are constantly changing in IT, so I would always recommend obtaining the most up-to-date information from VMware KBs and official documentation especially regarding specific versions of tools and software updates. This eBook is divided into several sections, and although I would advise reading the whole eBook as most elements relate to others, you might want to just focus on a certain area you’re having trouble with. If so, jump to the section you want read about.

Before we begin, I want to note that in a VMware environment, it’s always best to try to keep things simple. Far too often I have seen environments be thrown off the tracks by trying to do too much at once. I try to live by the mentality of “keeping your environment boring” – in other words, keeping your host configurations the same, storage configurations the same and network configurations the same. I don’t mean duplicate IP addresses, but the hosts need identical port groups, access to the same storage networks, etc. Consistency is the name of the game and is key to solving unexpected problems down the line. Furthermore, it enables smooth scalability - when you move from a single host configuration to a cluster configuration, having the same configurations will make live migrations and high availability far easier to configure without having to significantly re-work the entire infrastructure. Now the scene has been set, let’s get started!

Implementing High Availability in a Linux Environment
This white paper explores how organizations can lower both CapEx and OpEx running high-availability applications in a Linux environment without sacrificing performance or security.
Using open source solutions can dramatically reduce capital expenditures, especially for software licensing fees. But most organizations also understand that open source software needs more “care and feeding” than commercial software—sometimes substantially more- potentially causing operating expenditures to increase well above any potential savings in CapEx. This white paper explores how organizations can lower both CapEx and OpEx running high-availability applications in a Linux environment without sacrificing performance or security.
How to Get the Most Out of Windows Admin Center
Windows Admin Center is the future of Windows and Windows Server management. Are you using it to its full potential? In this free eBook, Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP, Eric Siron, has put together a 70+ page guide on what Windows Admin Center brings to the table, how to get started, and how to squeeze as much value out of this incredible free management tool from Microsoft. This eBook covers: - Installation - Getting Started - Full UI Analysis - Security - Managing Extensions

Each version of Windows and Windows Server showcases new technologies. The advent of PowerShell marked a substantial step forward in managing those features. However, the built-in graphical Windows management tools have largely stagnated - the same basic Microsoft Management Console (MMC) interfaces had remained since Windows Server 2000. Microsoft tried out multiple overhauls over the years to the built-in Server Manager console but gained little traction. Until Windows Admin Center.

WHAT IS WINDOWS ADMIN CENTER?
Windows Admin Center (WAC) represents a modern turn in Windows and Windows Server system management. From its home page, you establish a list of the networked Windows and Windows Server computers to manage. From there, you can connect to an individual system to control components such as hardware drivers. You can also use it to manage Windows roles, such as Hyper-V.

On the front-end, Windows Admin Center is presented through a sleek HTML 5 web interface. On the back-end, it leverages PowerShell extensively to control the systems within your network. The entire package runs on a single system, so you don’t need a complicated infrastructure to support it. In fact, you can run it locally on your Windows 10 workstation if you want. If you require more resiliency, you can run Windows Admin Center as a role on a Microsoft Failover Cluster.

WHY WOULD I USE WINDOWS ADMIN CENTER?
In the modern era of Windows management, we have shifted to a greater reliance on industrial-strength tools like PowerShell and Desired State Configuration. However, we still have servers that require individualized attention and infrequently utilized resources. WAC gives you a one-stop hub for dropping in on any system at any time and work with almost any of its facets.

ABOUT THIS EBOOK
This eBook has been written by Microsoft Cloud & Datacenter Management MVP Eric Siron. Eric has worked in IT since 1998, designing, deploying, and maintaining server, desktop, network, and storage systems. He has provided all levels of support for businesses ranging from single-user through enterprises with thousands of seats. He has achieved numerous Microsoft certifications and was a Microsoft Certified Trainer for four years. Eric is also a seasoned technology blogger and has amassed a significant following through his top-class work on the Altaro Hyper-V Dojo.

Digital Workspace Disasters and How to Beat Them
Desktop DR - the recovery of individual desktop systems from a disaster or system failure - has long been a challenge. Part of the problem is that there are so many desktops, storing so much valuable data and - unlike servers - with so many different end user configurations and too little central control. Imaging everyone would be a huge task, generating huge amounts of backup data.
Desktop DR - the recovery of individual desktop systems from a disaster or system failure - has long been a challenge. Part of the problem is that there are so many desktops, storing so much valuable data and - unlike servers - with so many different end user configurations and too little central control. Imaging everyone would be a huge task, generating huge amounts of backup data. And even if those problems could be overcome with the use of software agents, plus de-deduplication to take common files such as the operating system out of the backup window, restoring damaged systems could still mean days of software reinstallation and reconfiguration. Yet at the same time, most organizations have a strategic need to deploy and provision new desktop systems, and to be able to migrate existing ones to new platforms. Again, these are tasks that benefit from reducing both duplication and the need to reconfigure the resulting installation. The parallels with desktop DR should be clear. We often write about the importance of an integrated approach to investing in backup and recovery. By bringing together business needs that have a shared technical foundation, we can, for example, gain incremental benefits from backup, such as improved data visibility and governance, or we can gain DR capabilities from an investment in systems and data management. So it is with desktop DR and user workspace management. Both of these are growing in importance as organizations’ desktop estates grow more complex. Not only are we adding more ways to work online, such as virtual PCs, more applications, and more layers of middleware, but the resulting systems face more risks and threats and are subject to higher regulatory and legal requirements. Increasingly then, both desktop DR and UWM will be not just valuable, but essential. Getting one as an incremental bonus from the other therefore not only strengthens the business case for that investment proposal, it is a win-win scenario in its own right.
Reducing Data Center Infrastructure Costs with Software-Defined Storage
Download this white paper to learn how software-defined storage can help reduce data center infrastructure costs, including guidelines to help you structure your TCO analysis comparison.

With a software-based approach, IT organizations see a better return on their storage investment. DataCore’s software-defined storage provides improved resource utilization, seamless integration of new technologies, and reduced administrative time - all resulting in lower CAPEX and OPEX, yielding a superior TCO.

A survey of 363 DataCore customers found that over half of them (55%) achieved positive ROI within the first year of deployment, and 21% were able to reach positive ROI in less than 6 months.

Download this white paper to learn how software-defined storage can help reduce data center infrastructure costs, including guidelines to help you structure your TCO analysis comparison.

Preserve Proven Business Continuity Practices Despite Inevitable Changes in Your Data Storage
Download this solution brief and get insights on how to avoid spending time and money reinventing BC/DR plans every time your storage infrastructure changes.
Nothing in Business Continuity circles ranks higher in importance than risk reduction. Yet the risk of major disruptions to business continuity practices looms ever larger today, mostly due to the troubling dependencies on the location, topology and suppliers of data storage.

Download this solution brief and get insights on how to avoid spending time and money reinventing BC/DR plans every time your storage infrastructure changes. 
Taking Steps to Prevent Your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans from Being Derailed
With so many moving pieces involved in business continuity and disaster recovery planning, anticipating the downstream impact of new SAN arrays, hyperconverged systems, and disaster recovery site relocation is increasingly more difficult. Download this white paper to learn how DataCore™ SDS services help you adapt your safeguards accordingly in the face of these common initiatives.

With so many moving pieces involved in business continuity and disaster recovery planning, anticipating the downstream impact of new SAN arrays, hyperconverged systems, and disaster recovery site relocation is increasingly more difficult. Download this white paper to learn how DataCore SDS services help you adapt your safeguards accordingly in the face of these common initiatives and business challenges:

•    Storage Array Replacement
•    Mergers and Acquisitions
•    Cloud Replication
•    Hyperconverged Infrastructure
•    Multi-Site Metro Cluster

How Data Temperature Drives Data Placement Decisions and What to Do About It
In this white paper, learn (1) how the relative proportion of hot, warm, and cooler data changes over time, (2) new machine learning (ML) techniques that sense the cooling temperature of data throughout its half-life, and (3) the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in migrating data to the most cost-effective tier.

The emphasis on fast flash technology concentrates much attention on hot, frequently accessed data. However, budget pressures preclude consuming such premium-priced capacity when the access frequency diminishes. Yet many organizations do just that, unable to migrate effectively to lower cost secondary storage on a regular basis.
In this white paper, explore:

•    How the relative proportion of hot, warm, and cooler data changes over time
•    New machine learning (ML) techniques that sense the cooling temperature of data throughout its half-life
•    The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in migrating data to the most cost-effective tier.

All-Flash Array Buying Considerations: The Long-Term Advantages of Software-Defined Storage
In this white paper, analysts from the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) provide insights into (1) the modern data center challenge, (2) buying considerations before your next flash purchase, and (3) the value of storage infrastructure independence and how to obtain it with software-defined storage.
All-flash technology is the way of the future. Performance matters, and flash is fast—and it is getting even faster with the advent of NVMe and SCM technologies. IT organizations are going to continue to increase the amount of flash storage in their shops for this simple reason.

However, this also introduces more complexity into the modern data center. In the real world, blindly deploying all-flash everywhere is costly, and it doesn’t solve management/operational silo problems. In the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) 2018 IT spending intentions survey, 68% of IT decision makers said that IT is more complex today than it was just two years ago. In this white paper, ESG discusses:

•    The modern data center challenge
•    Buying considerations before your next flash purchase
•    The value of storage infrastructure independence and how to obtain it with software-defined storage

PowerCLI - The Aspiring Automator's Guide
Automation is awesome but don't just settle for using other people's scripts. Learn how to create your own scripts and take your vSphere automation game to the next level! Written by VMware vExpert Xavier Avrillier, this free eBook presents a use-case approach to learning how to automate tasks in vSphere environments using PowerCLI. We start by covering the basics of installation, set up, and an overview of PowerCLI terms. From there we move into scripting logic and script building with step-by

Scripting and PowerCLI are words that most people working with VMware products know pretty well and have used once or twice. Everyone knows that scripting and automation are great assests to have in your toolbox. The problem usually is that getting into scripting appears daunting to many people who feel like the learning curve is just too steep, and they usually don't know where to start. The good thing is you don't need to learn everything straight away to start working with PowerShell and PowerCLI. Once you have the basics down and have your curiosity tickled, you’ll learn what you need as you go, a lot faster than you thought you would!

ABOUT POWERCLI

Let's get to know PowerCLI a little better before we start getting our hands dirty in the command prompt. If you are reading this you probably already know what PowerCLI is about or have a vague idea of it, but it’s fine you don’t. After a while working with it, it becomes second nature, and you won't be able to imagine life without it anymore! Thanks to VMware's drive to push automation, the product's integration with all of their components has significantly improved over the years, and it has now become a critical part of their ecosystem.

WHAT IS PowerCLI?

Contrary to what many believe, PowerCLI is not in fact a stand-alone software but rather a command-line and scripting tool built on Windows PowerShell for managing and automating vSphere environments. It used to be distributed as an executable file to install on a workstation. Previously, an icon was generated that would essentially launch PowerShell and load the PowerCLI snap-ins in the session. This behavior changed back in version 6.5.1 when the executable file was removed and replaced by a suite of PowerShell modules to install from within the prompt itself. This new deployment method is preferred because these modules are now part of Microsoft’s Official PowerShell Gallery. 7 These modules provide the means to interact with the components of a VMware environment and offer more than 600 cmdlets! The below command returns a full list of VMware-Associated Cmdlets!

Deploying Mission‐Critical Business Workloads on HCI with DataCore Parallel I/O Technology
In this white paper, IDC discusses the hyperconverged infrastructure landscape and assesses how a new breed of solutions such as DataCore's Hyperconverged Virtual SAN are taking HCI beyond light workloads to become a technology fit for enterprise-class workloads. The paper assesses the characteristics and features in DataCore Virtual SAN software that offer the performance, availability, responsiveness, and scale necessary for tier 1 applications.

Hyperconverged holds out the promise of helping consolidate your infrastructure. It can seem like the “easy button” to deploying storage in remote locations or for VDI. But “easy” often comes with tradeoffs—like performance limitations that don’t support enterprise applications.

At DataCore, we believe you should expect more from hyper-converged infrastructure—more performance, more efficiency, and seamless all-in-one management across your hyper-converged devices and your existing enterprise storage.

IDC has taken a look at the limitations of hyper-converged and how you can get more. Read the free IDC report to learn:

  • How companies worldwide have used first-generation hyperconverged solutions, and why
  • How the hyperconverged landscape is changing, with the introduction of a new generation of products
  • How Parallel I/O has changed expectations and removed limitations from hyperconverged
  • How a hyperconverged infrastructure can deliver cost-effective, highly available, and high-performing support for critical tier-one applications
5 Important Questions to Ask Before You Renew Your Existing Backup Software
Your backup and recovery solution is not just the backbone of your data protection efforts – it drives the future of your organization’s ability to know, move, manage, recover and get value from your data as business grows. The question is – does your current solution still make the cut?
Your backup and recovery solution is not just the backbone of your data protection efforts – it drives the future of your organization’s ability to know, move, manage, recover and get value from your data as business grows.

The question is – does your current solution still make the cut?

Download our guide to help determine if renewing your existing backup software maintenance contract is in line with the problems, uncertainties and threats facing your data as it evolves at a rapid pace.
Office 365 / Microsoft 365: The Essential Companion Guide
Office 365 and Microsoft 365 contain truly powerful applications that can significantly boost productivity in the workplace. However, there’s a lot on offer so we’ve put together a comprehensive companion guide to ensure you get the most out of your investment! This free 85-page eBook, written by Microsoft Certified Trainer Paul Schnackenburg, covers everything from basic descriptions, to installation, migration, use-cases, and best practices for all features within the Office/Microsoft 365 sui

Welcome to this free eBook on Office 365 and Microsoft 365 brought to you by Altaro Software. We’re going to show you how to get the most out of these powerful cloud packages and improve your business. This book follows an informal reference format providing an overview of the most powerful applications of each platform’s feature set in addition to links directing to supporting information and further reading if you want to dig further into a specific topic. The intended audience for this book is administrators and IT staff who are either preparing to migrate to Office/Microsoft 365 or who have already migrated and who need to get the lay of the land. If you’re a developer looking to create applications and services on top of the Microsoft 365 platform, this book is not for you. If you’re a business decision-maker, rather than a technical implementer, this book will give you a good introduction to what you can expect when your organization has been migrated to the cloud and ways you can adopt various services in Microsoft 365 to improve the efficiency of your business.

THE BASICS

We’ll cover the differences (and why one might be more appropriate for you than the other) in more detail later but to start off let’s just clarify what each software package encompasses in a nutshell. Office 365 (from now on referred to as O365) 7 is an email collaboration and a host of other services provided as a Software as a Service (SaaS) whereas Microsoft 365 (M365) is Office 365 plus Azure Active Directory Premium, Intune – cloud-based management of devices and security and Windows 10 Enterprise. Both are per user-based subscription services that require no (or very little) infrastructure deployments on-premises.

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