Writing a “Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Resource Kit” book is a tall order. A book of this nature must be written for two distinct audiences: (1) IT professionals with little experience on the Microsoft virtualization stack, and (2) administrators experienced with virtualization who need more knowledge on the new features contained within Hyper-V 2008 R2. The book does an excellent job of providing value to the first audience, but fails to provide as much value to the second audience.
Authors Robert Larson and Janique Carbone (with the Windows Virtualization Team) do a solid job at creating a reference book. However, there are several areas where the authors could improve:
- Hyper-V R2 contains a number of features that make it significantly better than the version that shipped with Server 2008 (which wasn’t even an RTM version). These features are mentioned, at best, in passing during the book. With a mere two pages of “background history” on Hyper-V, the book doesn’t clearly convey how much Hyper-V has matured in the past year.
- Virtualization, and the different vendors in the marketplace right now, stir strong passions between IT professionals. The book is written in an abstract tone that doesn’t address many of the charges and counter-charges hurled between the Citrix, VMWare and Microsoft camps.
- Useful tips such as “don’t use snapshots in production” or “differencing disks are bad so beware” tend to get buried or lost in the mix. Tables of specs that are already out of date do nothing to alleviate this confusion, but this is a problem that any technology book faces.
- An entire chapter is dedicated on managing Hyper-V with PowerShell, but it lacks any mention of the fact that native PowerShell commands only come with System Center Virtual Machine Manager. The solution, to download commands from the Microsoft Open Source CodePlex project, is a laudable one, but why not mention SCVMM as well?