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Best VMWare Training Suggestions form the Pro's

Hello, I am looking for advice form VMWare Administrators and Engineers. What suggestions do you have for the best tried and true training sources for a VMWare Admin?

At some point I am also planning on getting one of the VCP certifications, any suggestions on which cert to pursue? The main thing I need to focus on now is getting better at being a VMWare Admin. I do have some VMWare experience setting up and monitoring systems, not an admin until recently, so I am not inexperienced I just need to take my VMWare skills to the next level and looking for good resources to help get started.

From my experience you are better off getting recommendations by people in the field that can vouch for the effectiveness of the material, nothing worse than spending time and money on materials that are sub par.

What are the best...
Book/s for admins, that will teach a good overall view of vSphere etc.? Good for troubleshooting that a typical admin will face? I have read Mastering VMware vSphere 4 a few times by Scott Lowe and liked it a lot so I will probably read his books on vSphere 5 also.

Lab's soft or hard, are there any good lab type software products or services where you can get hands on with different setups and technologies? Or a good lab book that will walk you through setups if you can get access to a ESX lab?

Training videos or courses, are there any top notch video courses that are worth the money? IMO I like learning by doing the most (labs) but seeing is also helpful to me.

Best Web Sites, other than EE of course :) that can be used for general keeping up with new trends and technologies and for troubleshooting help, errors, performance issues ect.

Anything else you can recommend for a new VMWare Admin to get started on the right foot.
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REIUSA
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REIUSA
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
see my EE Article

HOW TO:  VCP 5

and then, head to VMware Hands On Labs

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/

and then look at Pluralsight

http://beta.pluralsight.com/

and Building your own Lab is KEY! Experience the Products!

vSphere 5.0 AutoLab by Alastair Cooke

I would also recommend looking at vSphere 5.0 AutoLabby fellow vExpert - Alastair Cooke
 
What is the AutoLab?

The AutoLab is a quick easy way to build a vSphere environment for  testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware  Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC,  even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

 Take a look over at ProfessionalVMware for details of how to get started with building your own vSphere 5 AutoLab.

Everybody, learns differently, some like books, or videos, or labs, me personally, I like to get hands on with the products first, and then read the Documentation for the numbers!
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REIUSAAuthor Commented:
Thank you, thank you! These are great tips and advice and I will start looking into everything you mentioned to get me started.

If anyone else has additional recommendations and tips I would love to hear from you too.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Experts Exchange, and follow the 500+ VMware vExperts on twitter!
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REIUSAAuthor Commented:
Great tips and advice. Thanks for your help.

Sorry I let it go so long. For some reason Hotmail is blocking a lot of automailers like newsletters and notifications.
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