Book Review: Virtualization: A Manager’s Guide by Dan Kusnetzky; O’Reilly Media

Review: Virtualization: A Manager’s Guide by Dan Kusnetzky; O’Reilly Media, 1st edition June 2011.

Author Daniel Kusnetsky is a founder of, and responsible for, research, publications, and operations at the Kusnetzky Group; an IT consulting, solutions & research provider. It is important to be aware that as Mr. Kusnetsky says, this book ‘is intended to introduce managers or subject matter experts outside of IT to the concepts behind virtualization technology, the different categories of virtualization, and how they are used. It is not meant as a “how to” guide for IT analysts’.


The book begins by explaining what Virtualisation is, and defines an abstract Virtualisation Reference Model consisting of the following hierarchy of layers; from Access Virtualisation down to Application, Process, Networking & Storage, all of which are impacted by Security & Management Virtualisation. The author then defines the Goals of Virtualisation.

The bulk of the book subsequently elaborates on each of these layers of abstraction.

The author describes each layer by methodically asking (and answering) the same questions; i.e. what it is, what does it do, and when it should be used. The industry players, per abstraction layer, are named. Finally, a few deployment examples are given, per abstraction layer.

Chapter 9 is a stand-alone article, the objective of which is to decompose the common industry jargon into the (by now familiar) appropriate abstracted virtualisation layer or layers. For example, “Big Data” typically deploys Storage virtualization (distributed file systems), Virtualised Processing (including memory virtualization) & Management for virtual environments.

Chapter 10, the final chapter, consists of 2 of the book’s 58 pages of subject-matter text, and is entitled “Virtualization Is a Double-Edged Sword”. However, it does not elaborate on the costs & risks of migrating to a virtualised environment beyond an obvious “Using the wrong tool or using the right tool improperly can result in poor performance, higher costs for the organization, and the organization not being able to meet its objectives of virtualisation”


The author is obviously independent & vendor-agnostic. This gives the book credibility and is reassuring to the reader.

Most of the technologies are accompanied by use-cases or examples, which I expect, clarify the intended readership’s common mis-conceptions.

A possible enhancement to the book would be to extend the final chapter to elaborate on when *not* to consider a migration to – or deployment of – a virtualised environment. When would it just not be worth it?

In summary the book addresses its purpose as highlighted above. It is certainly a refreshing read in a technology sector whose literature is so obviously vendor-sponsored. It is pitched about right for it’s intended readership.

Thankfully, the C-word & “SaaS” are referred-to only a couple of times, and are limited to the introductory chapter.

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