Best Practices for all Occasions (incl vSphere 5)

VMware has published several “Best Practices” guides for vSphere5 so I thought I’d collect many of them (see below) as well as add my own summary/best practice guide. This has lots of VMware-specific entries but the essence can apply to any project – in IT or out.

SOSTech Best Practices

0 Check Flow Control
1 Document changes
2 Make sure you have no single point of failure and test before production
3 Don’t complicate production just for the sake of complication.
4 Don’t pay for what you don’t need
5 Only configure what you do need (vRAM, vCPU)
6 Don’t configure what you don’t need (limits, reservations, shares)
7 Trust but verify
8 Document changes
9 Get your vendor’s best practices guide. If they don’t have one get a new vendor.
10 Configure HA (host and VM) and make sure it works
11 Automate Automate Automate
12 Don’t talk about fight club
13 Turn on all alarms and phone home mechanisms and make sure they work. (Don’t forget to allow relay on Exchange.)
14 Make sure you understand HA isolation mode and Admission Control (what they are, how they are configured)
15 Install VMware tools
16 Backup the vCenter database
17 Document changes
18 Take the lifeboat with the motor
19 Understand Best Practices are general guidelines and ignore the ones that don’t help.
20 When troubleshooting or performance testing check one thing at a time and put it back where you found it if it doesn’t help
21 Document changes
22 Never trust the user or the living (bonus points for naming that reference).
23 When deciding between vendor products pick the staff you trust and want to work with. Performance and technical differences are usually negligable in comparison.
24 Align the guest partitions (primarily Windows 2003, XP)

VMware vSphere5 Best Practices Guides (published so far)

KB Articles:
2003790 Installing vCenter Server 5.0 best practices
2005099 Installing ESXi 5.0 best practices
1025279 Best practices for virtual machine snapshots in the VMware environment
2005102 Upgrading to ESXi 5.0 best practices
2003866 Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.0 best practices
1032787 Understanding and troubleshooting new features in vSphere 5.0

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