Book Review: VMware VI and vSphere SDK

Most VMware administrators would take one glance at a book with SDK in the title and dismiss it as something for software developers.  While that is understandable, don’t count this one out just yet.

VMware VI and vSphere SDK: Managing the VMware Infrastructure and vSphere by Steve Jin is a new book that offers something for a variety of VMware techies.

Steve Jin is the creator of the VI Java API, an open-source alternative to the official VMware SDK that overcomes some of the challenges of the native Web Services interface.  The primary advantage of the VI Java API is improved productivity due to a serious reduction in code — up to 70 percent.  Plus, it gives developers object-oriented programming and compile-time type checking not offered in Web Services.  But don’t mistake this API for an performance-degrading wrapper — it actually performs better than the two official VMware Java SDKs!

Even for non-developer types, it is quite easy to kick the tires — just download the Eclipse IDE for Java, the VI Java API, some sample code like, and fire it up.  This tutorial is helpful to get the project set up correctly.

As for the VI SDK, system administrators do not need to even read a line of code to benefit from this book.  Taking time to understand the ways in which various components interact and function will improve the overall understanding of a VMware vSphere environment — not to mention troubleshooting methodologies.

On the other hand, those managing VMware vSphere with the PowerCLI may encounter limitations from time to time that necessitate interacting with the SDK instead of the excellent PowerShell cmdlets.  Doing so is not for the faint of heart — LucD recently elucidated this process.  Therefore, even if you never intend to write a single line of VI Java API code, gaining a better appreciation of the VI SDK may just help you with your PowerCLI scripts.

If you have made VMware part of your career, it makes sense to consider this one for your bookshelf.  Also check out Duncan Epping’s review.

Disclaimer: The publisher provided a review copy of the book, but did not influence the content of this article.

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