By Michael West, Technical Product Manager, VMware

Editor’s note: On February 26th, 2019, VMware renamed VMware PKS to VMware Enterprise PKS. To learn more about the change, read here.

The Cloud-Native Apps Business Unit at VMware is pleased to announce that the VMware Pivotal Container Service Hands-on Lab, a new lab focused on Kubernetes and PKS, is now live.

What Are VMware Hands-on Labs (HOL)?

HOL comprises more than 80 independent labs covering the entire breadth of VMware products. When you take a lab, a vPod is instantiated for you. A vPod is a complete virtual data center with VMware ESXi hosts, VMware vCenter, storage, networking and a Windows Console VM. For PKS, the lab manual guides you through a series of exercises specific to PKS and Kubernetes. You have 90 minutes to complete the lab (the modules are independent so you can start with any of them), and the vPod is removed when you exit. These labs are available on-demand. Simply go to the HOL URL and register, then take the lab. You can return whenever you want and start the lab again.

How to Access the Lab

Go to and register for an account. The PKS lab is located in the Cloud-Native Apps Catalog. The lab name is “HOL-1832-01-CNA Pivotal Container Service (PKS) and Kubernetes – Getting Started.”

pivotal container service hands-on lab


Here’s a list of the modules in the lab:

  • Module 1: Introduction to Kubernetes—(45 minutes) (Basic): In Module 1, you will learn what container orchestration with Kubernetes is all about. Terminology is a barrier to understanding technology, and the fundamental components of the Kubernetes platform will be explained in detail. This module contains no lab steps but will provide you with a foundational understanding that will make the other modules more intuitive. If you already have an understanding of Kubernetes and want to get to the hands-on steps, start with Module 2.
  • Module 2: Introduction to Pivotal Container Service (PKS)—(45 minutes) (Advanced): Operationalizing Kubernetes at scale is not for the faint of heart. PKS is a purpose-built service to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters. This module will introduce PKS, highlighting its capabilities to extend high availability, scale, health monitoring and lifecycle management to Kubernetes. You will see how to deploy persistent volumes as part of an upgrade to an existing app. Project Harbor, an open source container registry from VMware, is also part of PKS. You will see how to upload both signed and unsigned images to Harbor and use them in a Kubernetes app. You will also be exposed to the integration with VMware NSX Transformers, including network policy.
  • Module 3: Kubernetes Deep Dive—(45 minutes) (Advanced): This module is pure Kubernetes lab work. You will use the kubectl command-line utility to manipulate the Kubernetes components you read about in Module 1, create the deployment that defines the pods and services that make up a web server application and scale the application up and down, adding pods to provide either increased capacity or availability. By the end, you should be comfortable with manipulating your application components through the CLI.
  • Module 4: Deploy and Manage a Multi-tiered Application—(30 minutes) (Advanced): This module can be taken independently from the first two, but builds upon the knowledge gained there to deploy a more complex application. You will see the components of a web-based, restaurant-rating application that includes a backend database. Once your application is deployed, you will upgrade to a newer version with no downtime, and you will subsequently roll the upgrade back without downtime as well.

Learn more about the VMware Pivotal Container Service Hands-on Lab here, and follow us on Twitter at @cloudnativeapps.