Home > Blogs > VMware Hands-On Lab (HOL) Blog

Call for Partner Hands-on Labs Ideas

ZomboDroid06022016030835

Do you have a brilliant idea that would showcase a Partner solution alongside a VMware product or Solution?

This week we kicked off our Partner submission process for the next round of Hands-on Labs for delivery at VMworld US 2016. You can review the Frequently Asked Questions about this year’s program here.  We are accepting submissions for Partner content that complements a VMware Solution and would be a good fit to show in a lab. Typically, we get a good response from our Technology Alliance Partners and OEMs, but the process is open to everyone.

In this upcoming development cycle, one change in the Hands-on Lab program is that all Partner related content will be shown alongside the VMware solution it relates to.  This approach offers better exposure to our Partners and allows Customers to find Partner solutions they may have been unaware of in the past.  It also allows the Hands-on Labs to offer a broader range of Partner related content relevant to VMware solutions.

To get started, you will want to fill out the Lab Module Proposal form here.  If you would like to review some good examples of submissions, you can find them here and here.  Once you have completed the Lab Module Proposal, you will need to submit it by Friday, February 19th  to the Hands-on Labs Idea Registry for consideration in this upcoming development cycle.  Once the idea is submitted, it will be reviewed and presented to the appropriate VMware Business Unit for consideration.

Another change in this year’s cycle is that the development work will be done by VMware employees that are experienced in developing and building these labs.  If your idea is selected, you will act as what we call in the Hands-on Labs, a Content Lead.  You will help guide the Partner related content to be delivered in the lab, but will not have to be responsible for developing it.  Partners can still guide the direction of their content, but won’t have to struggle to come up to speed on our development process and tools.  Given the tight schedule for delivery of these labs at VMworld, we see this as a huge gain for Partners.

You can find the replay of the Partner Townhall meeting here along with the slides presented.  If you are a Partner with access to PartnerLink, you can find more information and ask questions in our group, Partner Hands-on Labs Community.

We will be finalizing the Hands-on Labs catalog for 2016 on February 29th and will be notifying Partners that have been selected.

Best of luck!

VMware Hands-on Labs Releases and Naming

Hello and welcome to 2016! We have seen quite a few questions from people having trouble finding our older labs, so I wanted to take a few minutes and explain the VMware Hands-on Labs release and naming conventions.

Our major release of labs occurs annually at the VMworld conferences, but, depending on product release schedules and resource availability, some labs will be refreshed in the April/May timeframe. Continue reading

Please, Sir, I Want Some More (Time)

OliverIf you have taken one of our labs at a large event like a VMworld, vForum, or VMUG, you may recall that we provide 90-minute lab sessions so that everyone has a chance to experience the labs. If nobody is waiting in line, users may continue their sessions by requesting a time extension from the lab staff before their lab session expires.

When we publish these labs via our online portal, we configure longer session times based on lab popularity, demand and the capacity we have available, but there is no lab staff constantly monitoring the online labs to handle realtime extension requests.

As I have outlined in other posts, our labs are designed to be consumed in small chunks, and most users spend less than an hour in the lab at a time. However, we receive a good deal of feedback from users who would prefer to sit for several hours at a time and work their way through an entire lab manual. We understand that different people work in different ways, so we are piloting a new self-service model for lab time extensions to address this request.

This feature enables our users to self-extend their lab time in 1 hour increments to continue working within the same lab environment for an extended period.

How Do I Use It?

Prior to running out of time in your lab, click on the Extend button under the lab title and the system will request an additional hour to be added to your lab session.

HOL-ExtendThat’s it!

Try it out and let us know what you think by joining the Time Extension thread in the HOL section of the VMware Communities.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your labs.

 

 

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.

 

language_logos

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.

By clicking on one of these language badges, you can bring up a listing of all the labs available in the selected language?

See-all-the-labs-in-your-language-

In this case, we have selected the ‘ja’ badge for Japanese language labs.  A new window will pop up showing you all the labs available in the selected language.

Localized-labs-in-your-language

If you would like more details on a lab, you can click the lab title link and be brought to the full lab description and enroll in the lab if you wish.  Because a lab could be listed in multiple catalogs, you may see it listed more than once, like in the example above.  It is OK to click either link to take the lab, they are both the same.

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
PORTUGUESE
Simplified
Chinese
Spanish
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-HBD-1686 – VMware vCloud Air – Data Services PDF / HTML
HOL-MBL-1651 – Advanced Technical Concepts of Horizon 6 PDF / HTML PDF / HTML
HOL-MBL-1652 – Delivery and Management of the Transforming Desktop PDF / HTML 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 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
HOL-SDC-1628 – Introduction to EVO:RAIL 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

Example

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.

1625_TOC

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!