The Extensive Guide to Using VMware Documentation Like a Pro

When a software company has a large number of products, it can be difficult to find exactly what you need.  So how do you navigate the sea of KBs, blogs, documentation, and other helpful items when it comes to VMware stuff?  At first, it seems overwhelming.  But if you know where to look, the answers are available.  I’ll start with some of the links I use most often and branch out from there, telling you where to look and what you will find when you do.  And here’s the best part.  All of this is completely free.

 

Product Compatibility / Interoperability

  • VMware Compatibility Guide
    • It’s not just about checking to see if a server and its processor are on the compatibility list.  Check NIC cards and firmware versions, supported BIOS levels, storage controllers, storage devices and their firmware, graphics cards, VVOLs support, and much more.  The “what are you looking for” box has many options.  Take advantage.
    • Next to the box above you will see the words “Compatibility Guides.”
    • If you click the dropdown arrow next to those words, something absolutely magical happens.
    • Have you ever wanted to see what new items were added to the compatibility guide or download a copy for reference?  Alas, now you can.  Anything in the menu above is clickable and opens in a new browser window with an address bar.

 

Documentation

It seems like product documentation is scattered among several sites.  Here are the major hubs:

  • Official VMware Documentation Site
    • This is the place to visit for general product documentation (including release notes, installation and administration guides, term definitions, etc.).  Get it in HTML or PDF format depending on your preferred consumption model.
    • Browse all products covered in the documentation here.
      • Pro Tip:  This includes documentation on VMware Validated Design as well as VMware Skyline (proactive support technology that is free to customers covered under Production Support or higher).
      • Expert Tip:  Learn how to build customized VMware docs by reading this post.
  • StorageHub
    • This is the site for all things related to VMware storage and availability.  It’s a massive collection of information on vSAN, SRM, and vSphere Storage (VVOLs, VMFS, core storage, etc.).
    • Make yourself smarter with planning guides, sizing guides and calculators, evaluation guides, technical overviews, best practice guides, design guides, and FAQs.
  • Product Walkthroughs
    • It’s one thing to read through the installation / administration guide for a product, but what if you could see a click-by-click shot of the interface to help you get started?  This is the place for it.
    • Warning: Not all content on this site is completely up to date, but it’s helpful to understand some of the steps required for specific tasks.
  • Tech Zone
    • This is the site for all things under the end user computing umbrella and easily one of the coolest sites we have.  That’s everything related to Workspace ONE and Horizon.  Browse through the plethora of reference architectures, technical overviews, tutorials, videos, technical tools, and blogs to master all things under the EUC umbrella.
    • Pro Tip: Take advantage of the customized activity paths for Horizon or Workspace ONE to help you become a hero in one or both areas.  Start with the beginner content, and proceed to intermediate and advanced when ready.
  • vSphere Integrated Containers
    • This is the place for release notes and documentation for vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC).
    • The official VIC Github site can be here.
  • VMware Cloud Products
    • This site doesn’t just cover VMware Cloud on AWS, but it’s probably the most well known.  This product in particular has an online FAQ as well as a public-facing roadmap.
    • There are many more products in the cloud portfolio like Log Intelligence, Network Insight, and Wavefront.  Most of them have a FAQ page and a Resources page anyone can leverage to learn more about the product.
  • VMware {code}
    • If you’re a script writer, developer, or looking to learn more about the wonderful world of automation, check out the resources available on the VMware {code} page.  You can find SDKs, developer forums, design standards, sample code, and a number of developer and automation tools.
  • VMware Security Advisories
    • If you like to stay aware of any and all security advisories, this is the place for you.  Sign up to receive an e-mail when new security advisories are posted.
    • Security configuration guides (formerly hardening guides) can be found here.
  • VMware Learning Zone
    • This isn’t really a collection of documentation, but it is a collection of eLearning courses you can access (at least parts of it) for free.  It’s worth a look.
  • VMTN
    • If you’re not a member of the VMware Technology Network, it can be a great (and free) resource to crowd source answers to problems.
    • Pro Tip: Take some time to browse the forums.  Most forums have a Documents section which may contain very valuable information (e.g. the documents for User Environment Manger).  A collection of documents from all forums can be found here as well.
  • VMware Flings
    • Flings are apps and tools built by VMware engineers or other community members that are free to use.  Use of one requires you to read and agree to a Technical Preview License and is not officially supported by VMware.  However, a number of flings have made their way into VMware products (ESXi Embedded Host Client, VCS to VCSA Converter, etc.).
    • If nothing else, subscribe to the quarterly newsletter to stay on top of what’s new.

Blogs

Another great source of helpful documentation is in blog form.

  • Did you know there is an aggregation of VMware blogs?  The screenshot below does not do it justice, so check out https://blogs.vmware.com/all-vmware-blogs to see what you’ve been missing.  If you’re a Chrome user, there is a RSS Feed Reader which could come in handy for this.

 

  • While I cannot guarantee the list of blogs above will be completely comprehensive, I do want to point out some which people may not know exist:
    • VMware Cloud Provider Blog
      • Stay on top of the current news in the world of VMware service providers.
    • VMware Support Insider
      • Keep track of the latest set of KBs released, and subscribe to the ones that are most important.  Learn about new enhancements to VMware Skyline and other news.
    • VMware Careers
      • Did you know we had a careers blog?  Maybe this can give candidates some idea of what it’s like to be a part of VMware.
    • VMware Education
      • Are you paying attention to the certification programs and how they have changed or what new courses might be offered?  This is the place.

 

Summary

While this is meant to be as exhaustive as possible, I would love to know if I have missed something so I can add it for the benefit of others.  I hope this article helps you solve a problem quicker because you knew where to look.

 

Further Reading

This blog is part 1 of a series on VMware documentation.  Check out the other posts in the series:

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