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Take a Lab in your own language: New Localized Lab Manuals Available

We are delighted to announce the first set of lab manuals translated to serve our Hands-on Labs global audience. Click here for instructions on how to change your language in the Hands-on Labs portal.



You may have noticed the new badges next to the lab entries in the Hands-on Labs portal.  These indicate what language the lab manual is available in.  From the picture above, these represent English, Latin American Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and Simplified Chinese, respectively.  In the Hands-on Lab portal, you can also click on of these badges to see all the labs that are available in that language.

We have also made available PDF and HTML versions of the manuals.  You can use the table below to download or view them.  You can also click the Lab SKU & Name in the table to be taken directly to the lab.

 LAB SKU & NAME Japanese Korean brazilian
HOL-CHG-1965 – vSphere 6 Challenge Lab PDF / HTML PDF / HTML
HOL-HBD-1681 – VMware vCloud Air – Jump Start for vSphere Admins PDF / HTML
HOL-HBD-1684 – VMware vCloud Air – Disaster Recovery PDF / HTML
HOL-MBL-1651 – Advanced Technical Concepts of Horizon 6 PDF / HTML
HOL-MBL-1652 – Delivery and Management of the Transforming Desktop PDF / HTML
HOL-MBL-1656 – Horizon Air – Explore and Manage PDF / HTML
HOL-MBL-1657 – AirWatch – Introduction to Basic MDM and Console Customization PDF / HTML
HOL-SDC-1603 – VMware NSX Introduction PDF / HTML PDF / HTML PDF / HTML PDF / HTML
HOL-SDC-1608 – Virtual SAN from A to Z PDF / HTML PDF / HTML
HOL-SDC-1610 – Virtualization 101: vSphere with Operations Management 6 PDF / HTML PDF / HTML PDF / HTML

Check back for future updates as we localize more labs for you!

Partner Integrated Solution Labs Released

As we wind things down, I wanted to do a special release of labs created by our Partners showcasing how their solutions integrate with VMware.  This year, we had four labs created by EMC, Palo Alto, Dell and NetApp.  These Partner did a fantastic job working the same late hours our own VMware staff did creating this awesome content.

EMC palo alto dell netapp

These labs focus on how their storage or networking solutions compliment NSX, Virtual SAN, Virtual Volumes, vRealize Automation, and even stretched clusters.

HOL-PRT-1671 Self-service data protection using the EMC Plugin for vRealize Automation and Avamar
HOL-PRT-1672 Deploying Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform with VMware NSX
HOL-PRT-1674 Dell Storage presents Virtual Volumes, vSphere Metro Stretched Cluster and more
HOL-PRT-1675 NetApp & VMware Automation: Seamlessly Provision and Recover Tier-1 Applications

I believe that wraps things up!  A big thank you to our staff (VMware and Partners) that helped create this content for you.  Now on to VMworld Europe in Barcelona!

Time, Resources, and Modularity

“There is not enough time provided to complete all of the steps in the manual!”time-up-businessman-holding-sandglass-hourglass-looking-realise-s-nearly-deadline-45081255

This is perhaps the most common bit of feedback we receive about the VMware Hands-on Labs. For the past few years, we have been working on ways to optimize resource utilization. One of these optimizations has been consolidation and sharing of lab environments.

What does that mean? Let’s look at our wildly popular NSX labs for an example. Rather than having 13 individual “labs” that showcase our NSX product, we have two lab environments available. We pair each environment with a manual containing multiple modules. This provides a consolidation of sorts: lab modules are written to use the same underlying lab environment.

In the case of NSX, we have split the modules into two groups: Introduction and Advanced. It makes sense to leave certain aspects of the lab environment unconfigured for the Introduction because a big part of learning is performing the configuration. In the Advanced environment, we assume that the student already knows how to perform basic configuration and those tasks have already been performed.

The set of basic modules became the Introduction to NSX lab (HOL-SDC-1603), while the Advanced content became the NSX Advanced lab (HOL-SDC-1625). There are other labs that contain NSX-related content, but you get the idea.

By design, each lab module is independent, and should require between 15 and 90 minutes to complete. If you like, you can think of each module as a “lab” that shares a “lab environment” with related labs. The net result for us is that we save on resources. From your side, you don’t need to wait for a new environment to deploy in order to move on to the next lab. Rather, you deploy once and have a set of labs to choose from. Only switching environments or rolling back the current one requires a redeployment.

You can jump to any module in the manual and start from there — WITHOUT going back to perform tasks in previous modules.

Use this information to plan your lab experiences: each time you complete a module, think of it as reaching a checkpoint, restore or respawn point in a video game. The same idea applies: you do not need to repeat that effort unless you want to do so. These are also good places to remember to get up and stretch your legs or grab a cup of coffee.

We list each module with its estimated completion time in the Table of Contents. We try our best to make the estimates reasonable, but each person learns at a different pace. Hitting those times is neither a goal nor an assessment of your proficiency, simply a number to help you plan your session time. This is not a test. Feel free to take the labs as many times as you like!VLP_TOC


The new VMware NSX Advanced lab (HOL-SDC-1625) manual contains 7 modules with a total estimated 3.5 hours of content. We usually provide 90-minute sessions at our events (VMworld, vForum, VMUG) and 3-4 hours via the public portal.


Eating the Elephant

If I were to take this lab, I would make it a goal to complete module 1, and maybe module 2 in my first sitting. That is about 90 minutes of content, and more than enough for me to try and consume during my first foray into Advanced NSX.

If I get to Module 3, great. If not, though, I can simply jump straight to that module the next time I get into the lab. Sure, if I log in later today or tomorrow, or next week, it will not be the exact same instance of the lab environment I was working in, but it will be a fresh copy from the same template and the exercises in Module 3 will not require that I complete Modules 1-2 before beginning work.

Our intent is not for you to work through every module in a lab manual in one sitting.

In fact, we have found that users are generally able to spend about an hour at a time in a lab — even when they are taking labs at large events like VMworld. Phone calls, meetings, and life in general tend to get in the way of marathon lab sessions. Besides, the ergonomics people say that you should get up and take a break once in a while — at least 5 minutes each hour.

So, next time you open one of our labs and see that there are 90 minutes on the clock and 598 pages (!!!) in the manual, don’t worry. This isn’t a test. It simply means that you have a LOT of choices related to the topic that you chose. Open the Table of Contents and see what interests you… and feel free to skip anything that you don’t care about, too!

I hope that helps you all understand our thinking and how we have chosen to structure our content.

Enjoy your labs.

New Hands-on Labs – Variety Pack Released!

Today we have broad selection of labs and topics for you!  These labs span the Hybrid Cloud, Mobility and Software Defined Datacenter catalogs.

From the Hybrid Cloud catalog, we have a great lab that gives an inside look at how we deliver the labs to you.  Also, we are showcasing the newly announced VMware vCloud Air Data Services.

New labs in the Mobility catalog include one covering how to host applications with Horizon, App Volumes and ThinApp.  The other offers an advanced look at AirWatch and MDM.

It’s a big day for the Software Defined Datacenter catalog with 5 labs being released!  These labs range from an introduction to the vCloud Suite all the way to developer tools.  Big Data (Hadoop) and how NSX integrates with the vRealize Suite are also represented.  The last lab is an overview of IT Outcomes.  IT Outcomes are key enterprise-scale initiatives, showing how our solutions can deliver greater business results without compromising security, control or choice.  This lab offers an introduction to those solutions to whet your appetite and points out what other Hands-on Lab content is available if you’d like to dig deeper into the technology that facilitates the solution.

HOL-HBD-1685 Insider Look at the Technology for How VMware Delivers Hands-On Labs
HOL-HBD-1686 VMware vCloud® Air™ Data Services
HOL-MBL-1654 Application Delivery and Lifecycle
HOL-MBL-1658 AirWatch – Advanced MDM, Content and Horizon Integration
HOL-SDC-1606 Cloud 101 – Deliver your Infrastructure as a Service
HOL-SDC-1609 Big Data and vSphere
HOL-SDC-1613 IT Outcomes Overview
HOL-SDC-1622 VMware Development Tools and SDKs
HOL-SDC-1624 VMware NSX and the vRealize Suite

Stay tuned as we deliver more labs in the coming days!

VMworld Hands-on Labs Guide

ready for any

To get you prepared for VMworld Europe in Barcelona, we put together a Hands-on Lab Guide and you can grab a copy for yourself here.  The guide not only lists all the labs that will be available, but shows the breakdown of content or modules in each lab.  It lists an estimated time to complete the module, whether it is for the beginner or advanced and if it showcases the features of a product or shows a use case.

For example, below is the entry for HOL-CHG-1695 – vSphere 6 Challenge Lab.  You can see it is made up of 5 modules, all of which take an estimated 30 minutes to complete.  There are modules for both the beginner and advanced attendee and all show Use Cases.  You can find a more detailed key to deciphering the lab modules in the Hands-on Lab Guide.

Guide Sample

The Self-paced Labs at VMworld do not need to be scheduled, just stop by when you have time to take a lab!  At VMworld, you are given 90 minutes per seating to complete your lab.   You are probably thinking, “Wait, there is 150 minutes of content in the lab.  How am I supposed to finish the lab in only 90 minutes?”

Fear not!  While you are only given 90 minutes per seating, the modules are independent of each other, meaning they do not rely on one another.  You don’t have to complete the lab sequentially and can take the modules in any order.  If you fancy yourself as an advanced vSphere troubleshooting expert, you can skip modules 1-3 and start your lab with module 4.

VLP Manual

To make it easier, you can use the Table of Contents to quickly jump to the topic you are interested in.  Once you have launched your lab and the manual is visible, click More Options and then Table of Contents.  A new box will appear and display the Table of Contents that will let you jump ahead to the content you want.

One last tip to make your Hands-on Labs experience better is the lab status indicator shown in the console.  It’s located in the bottom right-hand corner of the desktop.  Make sure the Lab Status show Ready before starting your lab.

lab status

I hope you find the Hands-on Lab Guide useful and we will see you in Barcelona in a few short weeks!

New Mobility Labs Released!

It’s time for another round of new labs and today is Mobility Day!

The labs we have for you today are focused on Horizon and AirWatch.  The Horizon focused labs cover great use cases with Horizon, using FELX for better desktop management, our Desktop as a Service offering, Horizon Air and how F5 integrates with our mobility solutions.  For AirWatch, we have the introduction lab that covers Mobile Device Management.

HOL-MBL-1652 Delivery and Management of the Transforming Desktop
HOL-MBL-1655 Introducing Flexible Desktop Management for the Mobile User with VMware Horizon FLEX
HOL-MBL-1656 Horizon Air – Explore and Manage
HOL-MBL-1657 AirWatch – Introduction to Basic MDM and Console Customization
HOL-MBL-1659 F5 Integration with VMware Mobility

That’s all for today.  Stay tuned as more labs are released!

New Advanced Hands-on Labs Released!

We have a new batch of labs for you today!  These labs are focused on advanced topics, like NSX, vRealize Automation, vSphere with Operations Management, Workspace, and Virtual Volumes and Virtual SAN.

These labs go a bit deeper into the product or solution and some even offer how Partners integrate their solutions into ours.

HOL-MBL-1653 Advanced Concepts of VMware Workspace Portal
HOL-SDC-1602 vSphere with Operations Management 6: Advanced Topics
HOL-SDC-1625 VMware NSX Advanced
HOL-SDC-1627 VVol, Virtual SAN & Storage Policy-Based Management
HOL-SDC-1632 vRealize Automation Advanced: Integration and Extensibility

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned as we release more goodness!

More VMworld 2015 Labs Released!

First, let me apologize to Doug.  I may have had something to do with releasing the labs not only the week after VMworld, but on a holiday weekend no less!  I just knew that all of you were so eager to get your hands on these new labs.

Below are the remaining labs that we released this week.  They include more 101-level labs, this time for Hybrid Cloud and Mobility.  We are also releasing one of my personal favorites and a new addition to the Challenge catalog, the vSphere 6 Challenge Lab.

HOL-CHG-1695 vSphere 6 Challenge Lab
HOL-HBD-1681 VMware vCloud Air – Jump Start for vSphere Admins
HOL-MBL-1651 Advanced Technical Concepts of Horizon 6 from A to Z
HOL-SDC-1605 Data Center Migration and Disaster Recovery with VMware Site Recovery Manager
HOL-SDC-1611 IT Cost Transparency with vRealize Business
HOL-SDC-1620 OpenStack with VMware vSphere and NSX

So that’s all for now.  Be sure to check back as we will be releasing more labs over the coming weeks!

VMworld 2015 Labs being released to public

I don’t know which of us crazy people thought it would be a good idea to begin releasing the Hands-on Labs from VMworld 2015 the week immediately following the conference, especially with Labor Day on Monday and several of us on the core team heading out to present at other events, but we have been on an accelerated schedule all year, but the project plan says we’re supposed to get rolling.

We will be releasing a new set of labs each week, accompanied by a post here that indicates which labs have been published. Note that some labs are being sent to the shop for polish and a few others are being updated for the VMworld event in Barcelona next month, so your favorite lab may not show up in the public portal until mid-October. Please be patient :)

The initial set includes some of our more popular, 101-level labs. For the most part, these labs replace the ones from VMworld 2014 that have the same significant bits. For example, HOL-SDC-1408 (VSAN) has been refreshed and replaced with HOL-SDC-1608 (VSAN).

We will keep the 1400-series labs around until December, but significantly reduce or eliminate the “prepops” we have on hand for those older labs in favor of the 1600-series labs. This just means that you may need to wait longer for the labs to deploy and “warm up” if you choose to use the older content.

Without further delay, I present the first group that will be released this week:

HOL-SDC-1601 Cloud Management with vRealize Operations Insight
HOL-SDC-1603 VMware NSX Introduction
HOL-SDC-1608 Virtual SAN 6 from A to Z
HOL-SDC-1610 Virtualization 101: vSphere with Operations Management 6
HOL-SDC-1621 vRealize Automation 101: Application and Infrastructure Delivery and DevOps with Code Stream
HOL-SDC-1628 VMware EVO:RAIL Introduction
HOL-SDC-1631 vSphere Optimization Assessment (service for partners)

If you don’t see these labs in the catalog today, check back later. They should be there by the end of the week. Preparing them for hosting on our public portal takes a bit of work and the compressed schedule between VMworld US and VMworld EMEA means that we may not get them all processed before that event.

Thank you for your patience, interest and support of the VMware Hands-on Labs!

Technical Women of the VMware Hands-on Labs

Did you know that in each of the past 4 years the VMware’s Hands-on Labs (HOL) have doubled the number of women staff members from one year to the next? Impressive? Yes. Accidental? No.

The Hands-on Labs team is staffed by hundreds of VMware technical experts. These volunteers create lab content so that customers and partners can try any VMware product online 24×7, 365 days a year. Since Jan 2013 The Hands-on Labs Online portal has delivered over 400,000 labs to over 122,000 unique users from 4 data centers around the world. Customers and partners visit the labs at VMworld to connect with the expert staff who create the content.

Lab Captains are the backbone of the program. They author the lab content and commit to over 300 hours of development and support effort annually. In 2012 the HOL team recruited our first woman Captain: Kim Delgado. Kim is a Staff Solutions Engineer in MSBU R&D and has been at VMware for more than 5 years. She loves working in the labs as it has helped her to build a deep knowledge of VMware products and strong relationships across the company. Kim was motivated to become an engineer by her high school computer science teacher, as well as her father who bought her first computer in middle school. As the first woman Lab Captain, Kim wants to tell women “This is a great opportunity to meet other experts and network with VMware’s best and brightest!

In 2013 Rebecca Grider joined as a Captain. Rebecca is a Senior Member of Technical Staff within Performance R&D. The Hands-on Labs have provided Rebecca a fabulous learning opportunity to understand customers’ real world challenges and bring that knowledge back to engineering. She gained perspective from directly interacting with our customers, which makes her a better engineer, focused on ease of use and customers’ performance challenges. Rebecca pursued computer science because she wanted to solve real world problems, and loves the diversity and pace of change in technology. Rebecca wants to motivate more women engineers to join the HOL team so they can educate customers about their product.

The following year, in 2014, Mousumi Mullick, Judy Snow and Jodi Shely joined as Captains. Mousumi is a Senior Member of Technical Staff within Storage Engineering in R&D. She joined VMware 5 years ago, and loves engaging customers to discover their challenges. “I see customer pain points and share them with R&D folks to bring them new feature ideas.” Her interactions on the HOL team have given her significant insights for her QE role. Mousumi comes from a family of engineers who encouraged her, and thinks of herself as “inquisitive and kind of geeky”. Judy Snow, Staff Technical Program Manager for EVO:RAIL in R&D, was always good at math & science. As a teenager her dad inspired her by giving her a programmable computer. Judy loves to educate customers about her product, interact with them at VMworld to learn their pain points and bring improvements back to her team.

This year with the addition of Kelly Montgomery, Laurel Spadaro, Cindy Mazeika, Julie Roman & Melanie Spencer, we again doubled the number of women Captains! They are all passionate to deliver high quality lab content, and bring new ideas back to their teams.

The Hands-on Labs program is capably shepherded by our Program Manager, Tina Valle. Tina is a former Marine who came to the Hands-on Labs team in 2013. She works incredibly hard all year to make sure the team is fully prepared to deliver labs at VMworld. Tina was drawn to high tech as she loves gadgets and solving problems. Tina is well respected by the entire Hands-on Labs staff. The running joke is that Tina will make them do push-ups if they do not follow the processes established to run this large operation.

Chris Romano, Principal Systems Engineer, is an almost 15-year veteran at VMware and acts as staffing manager for the Hands-on Labs. He has always been very proud of the high number of women in leadership positions at VMware. Chris has a teenage daughter, and actively seeks to recruit women into this career enhancing role. Chris says “My vision for the future is to bring in more women from R&D as Captains. They bring a different type of creativity and perspective.

Chris broadened his net and connected newly recruited women with each other and other experienced staff members. The newbies are comfortable asking questions of those with more experience. In addition to Captains, this year Chris recruited more than ten woman Proctors! He found himself in a position to make a difference, and quietly and persistently he has increased the number of women serving in the labs.

We are proud of our talented technical women who have contributed significantly to the Hands-on Labs program. We look forward to more women joining us in the future as word gets out about this exciting opportunity. If you are interested in learning more about the labs please visit hol.vmware.com. Together the women of the Hands-on Labs are moving the needle and that is inspiring!