For many of the 21,000 attendees expected at VMworld 2013 San Francisco, a main draw will be the Hands-On Labs (HOLs), which have grown from 120 users in 2004 to 45,000 square feet of space and 2.5 days worth of content this year.
HOLs allow participants to try out VMware products on provided computers or—starting last year—their own device, powered by hotspots around the convention center. This means users don’t have to change licenses or buy equipment, and product experts are available to provide immediate guidance. You’ll recognize many of the HOL experts and speakers as the same Professional Services Consultants who share their expertise on this blog.
Every time a lab is run, the environment is reset to a fresh state for the next participant. This is made possible by the very tools VMware lets participants test: Each workstation has a VMware Horizon View virtualized desktop running Lab Manager software, powered by VMware hybrid cloud technology. The vSphere virtualized infrastructure integrates onsite and offsite data centers (in San Francisco, Ashburn, and Miami) to enable 4,000 virtual machines to be deployed and un-deployed every hour.
Brand new this year are the Lightning Labs of 15 or 30 minutes, providing a shorter alternative to the usual 60-minute sessions—for attendees dedicated to optimizing every minute of their schedule.
This year VMworld will also serve as a testing ground for the public beta of VMware Hands-On Lab Portal, built on the Project Nee (Next-generation Education Environment) Application, which launched in November to much excitement.