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Virtual VMUG – Upgrading and Mastering vSphere 5.5

Today I presented a session at the Virtual VMUG conference titled “Upgrading and Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5”. It was a session based around the upgrade process to vSphere 5.5 and a few little tricks for playing with vFRC and VSAN inside AutoLab. Thanks for all those of you that attended, I was inundated with questions during and after the presentation. I’ll be sure to get your contact details and answer those I didn’t get to within the allotted timeframe.

As promised, below is the (higher quality) recording from the demo section of the presentation. The slide deck was pretty light on, but if people want it just comment below and I’ll upload that too.

Mastering vSphere 5.5


Just a quick note for those wanting a companion text for their AutoLab deployment…

I’ve been working on the latest revision of the bestselling Mastering VMware vSphere book for the last 9 months. While AutoLab isn’t updated for vSphere 5.5 yet rest assured that Alastair and I will start work on it as soon as it goes GA next month.

Anyway, if you’re studying for that VCP5-DCV certification or just want a comprehensive practical guide for all the vSphere features, pick up a copy from your local or electronic store of choice!

Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5 is available on Amazon for pre-order now.

VMworld Tech Talks “UnSupported” and AutoLab

One of the many cool things that is going on in the community area of VMworld next week is Randy Keener’s Unsupported sessions.  These are a forum to advance the community’s knowledge of how do do things that VMware never thought you’d want to do with their products.

The sessions run 1pm until 3pm each day, surrounded by the vBownBag Tech Talks sessions, the schedule is on the Tech Talks schedule page

The TechTalks are brief sessions of community generated wisdom and excitement, they will be live streamed and available recorded at It’s not too late to get your session in, but you will need to email or tweet to one of the vBrownBag team as the signup form has closed.

I’m taking part in the Tuesday session where we will spend the whole two hours looking at AutoLab and nested ESXi.  If you want to get started on AutoLab or if you’ve gotten started but then got stuck this is your chance. Bring your laptop and do some lab time in the community lounge.

The VMware Workstation and Fusion product teams will be joining us for the sessions and there is a rumour that they will be giving away product!

Bring your lunch, your Laptop and your Windows and vSphere ISOs. Veterans of past VMworld will tell you not to expect reliable Internet access while you’re on the show floor, so you need to bring these with you rather than try to download while you’re there. We can get you the AutoLab bits but you will need to bring your own Microsoft and VMware software. The good news is you probably already have these, here’s the list of software to bring:

  • vCenter 5.0 Install DVD
  • ESXi 5.0 Install CDROM
  • VMware PowerCLI installer
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 ISO
  • Microsoft Windows 2003 Server 32bit CDROM ISO

We will be doing demos and building real labs, it should be a lot of fun. One thing we might try to do is a Microsoft free nested ESXi lab. How much can we do without the Windows vSphere client?

To be clear this is not access to the VMworld Hand on Labs, it is your own lab that you build on your own laptop.

VMworld 2012 – Vote for the AutoLab Sessions!

With VMworld just around the corner, session voting has been opened up to the public.

Alastair and Nick have submitted a number of sessions and would really appreciate any votes cast our way. All you need is a free VMworld account (you don’t have to be attending VMworld) and then apply a filter for either “Alastair Cooke” or “Nick Marshall” then tick the thumbs up next to our sessions. Vote here.

  • 1496 vSphere AutoLab. Build Your Personal Training and Test Lab Using the PC You Already Have Without All the Hardwork
  • 1497 Secrets of the vSphere AutoLab: How and When to Build Automation Into Your vSphere Deployment
  • 1498 Certification Preparation with the Community Lab Guide to vSphere 5

There’s also a session submitted for the vBrownBag crew:

  • 2356 The vBrownBag Panel: Certification Preparation By the Community for the Community

Thanks for your vote!


Welcome to!

This site was created as the online companion to the upcoming VMware Certified Professional 5 LabGuides ebook written by Alastair Cooke and Nick Marshall. It also hosts the AutoLab developed by Alastair which can be used to follow the ebook.

Time permitting the site will be expanded to be used as the companion for other ebooks and possibly guides directly on the site.

For any feedback, bug reports or just to contact us, email