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Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to get access to Hands on Labs – New Self Registration Feature…..


Just wanted to let you know that we enabled the a new feature to allow users to Self Register. This feature is still under testing but we feel it is solid enough to release as experimental. A huge thanks to Mike D and Curtis P for putting this together for us. This will make life so much easier for all of us.

Step 1. Go to http://www.projectnee.com/HOL



Step 2. Enter your email, first name, last name.









Step 3. Verify your account. Please note: Notifications times will vary due to many factors – I got my notification email in a few minutes, some of our friends had to wait about an hour.

Important: Please look for an email from sender “admin@projectnee.com” with Subject Line: “Welcome to VMware Hands on Labs” Open this email and hit the “Verify” Link and you are set. Let us know if you have any questions, or comments.

Enjoy your labs !


What to expect VMworld 2013 Hands-on Labs


We are extremely excited about our plans for VMworld Hands on Labs 2013 and wanted to give you a preview of what to expect. This year we will be in the Moscone South Esplanade Ball Room with over 45,000 Square Feet of space dedicated to Hands on Labs.

VMworld US

New Content for VMworld 2013

We will have tons of new labs around fresh topics for VMworld 2013 – with over 3,690 minutes of lab content (2.5 days @ 24 hours a day)

–       Software Defined Data Center

  • vSphere, Networking, Storage, Performance

–       End User Computing

  • VMware Horizon View, Workspace,  

–       Hybrid Cloud

  • Explore VMware’s new Hybrid Cloud Service in a virtual lab.

 (We will be posting a link to our lab descriptions / details shortly)

New way of looking at Labs – Lab Topics and Modules

This year we are introducing the concept of Lab Topics and Lab Modules. The goal here is to provide more of a structured learning experience and help make finding labs content as easy as possible – This effort was brought to us by Andrew Hald who has worked on this for the past year – a huge thanks.

What is a Lab Topic? 

Lab topics are very much like a book on a specific subject – so, for example, if you are interested in networking we will have a Lab Topic on VMware’s latest networking solutions.

What is a Lab Module?

A lab Module is very much like a Chapter in a book or Lab Topic. We have a wide range of modules in each topic. Some will be beginner level and some more advanced.

Here is a breakdown of our lab content.

32 Lab Topics

– Total Modules – 101

– Hybrid Cloud – 14

– Mobility – 19

– Partner – 7

– Software Defined Data Center – 61

– 25 VMware Use Case and Feature Labs

– 62 Lightning Lab Modules (15 or 30 min)

– 39 Full-length Lab Modules (45 or 60 minutes)

We are also very proud to have our Partner participate in creation of labs.

  • NetApp
  • Cisco
  • Infoblox
  • IBM
  • EMC
  • Puppet Labs
  • Hytrust
  • Catbird
  • LogRhythm

Meet your VMware Product Experts

We get tons of feedback on how much our attendees enjoy meeting our product experts – we heard you loud and clear and are bringing in over 290 engineers from around the world to help make your lab experience a superb one. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet the engineers that put together and support your labs. As an attendee,you will gain insight and learn best practices when using our products and solutions. This is a great opportunity to come down and meet our product experts in one massive 45,000 S/F room.  A huge thanks to Chris Romano for putting this massive effort together – it’s not an easy job.

Meet Sachin Sharma VMware Horizon Product Expert who will be on site to help.

VMware Hands on Labs Library – Workshops

We will be running actual Hands on Workshops during the event. The workshop topics cover Cloud Infrastructure, Hybrid Cloud and End User Computing.  Attendees will be able to interact with the VMware engineering teams that put the labs together and walk through the labs – there will be plenty of time for questions and answers during each session. These sessions will be BYOD so do plan on bringing your laptop. These workshops will be in the main room Esplanade Moscone South – seating will be limited (20 max) and sessions will run 60 minutes in length.

VMworld Hands on Labs Hot Spots

We wanted to really defy convention and bring labs closer to you. This is a new concept for us with the idea that attendees will be able to take our labs closer to their sessions and locations. Product experts will support our VMworld Hands-on Labs Hotspots and we will also have our Chat Support enabled so you can have access to our broader team. Please do plan on bringing your own laptop and be sure to give a huge thanks to Annie Y. for bringing this to you. Hotspot locations will be at the Marriott Lobby, Moscone North, and Moscone West second floor. HotSpot hours will be the same as the regular HOL main room times.

Important: Supported Devices for BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) VMworld Hands on Labs Supported Browsers:

  • Firefox version 22 +
  • Chrome 28 +
  • Safari 6+
  • iPad tablets are supported for viewing the lab manuals only (Split Screen Feature)

About our infrastructure and applications

Project NEE

We will be taking Project Nee portal through its paces at VMworld. Project Nee is an in-house built application created by Mike D and Curtis P. who will be on site to answer any questions and maybe we can talk them into doing a Hands on Labs Workshop for us. To give you some sense of Project NEE’s massive scalability – since November 2012 we have delivered over 1.3 Million Lab Minutes Online! Project NEE is the #awesomesauce. The R&D team will also be at the VMware Technology Innovation Center if would like to chat with them during VMworld. To learn more about ProjectNEE visit http://labs.vmware.com/nee/

Infrastructure / Data Centers

The vAPP (VPOD) Architecture / Strategy

It always starts with the architecture. Bill C., Joey D. and Doug B. have done a tremendous job of putting together the architecture for our 2013 Hands-on Labs. This is a critical effort as our labs will be served up worldwide and have to go through massive torture both during and after VMworld. The toughest part of building a robust architecture is also keeping our VPODs lean and mean – this is not only a technical challenge but also a skill in negotiating with our product teams and saying no.

Quick overview of what our total vPODs look like (pretty amazing considering the amount of content these will generate)

  • 271 layer 1 VMs
  • 413 vCPUs
  • 804 GB RAM
  • 6.6 TB configured storage

Our Data Centers

We have two major datacenters providing the workload for our event. We are planning on 550 concurrent seats of capacity. Our primary data center is in Las Vegas / Switch. Our secondary data center is out of Wenatchee, Washington.

We have standardized for VMworld 2013 on Cisco UCS Blades, and for storage we are using EMC VNX 7500 and EMC XTremIO arrays. To give you a sense of capacity we are going to be using over 80TB of RAM, 2000 Cores of compute and  80 TB of super fast storage. Our Data Centers are run by our top notch team of Architects from our OneCloud Team who are working extremely long weekends to make sure our capacity is ready for you. A big shout out to Patrick N, Brian M. Joel K. and the rest of the team for making this happen.

About our Scale Testing

HOL scale testing was driven out of the need to scale for massive spikes and ensure our attendees have a superb user experience. Joshua S. is heading up our efforts we have successfully run our Hands on Labs service at 890 concurrent users. This is probably more than we will use at VMworld, but its always fun to plan for extra head room.

The Team

It goes without saying – all of this could not have happened without our team dedicated to making this a superb experience for you. A huge thanks to our newly-minted Program Manager Jeannette B who tirelessly keeps us going in the right direction and to the great folks in Corporate Event Marketing who make this an incredible experience for us.

Massive effort put together to bring you the very best in content.

Tons more to talk about but would not want to ruin the surprises we have planned for our attendees… be sure to stop by and say hello to our team.

July 1st Winners: Defy Convention Photo Contest Hands on Labs


You did not make it easy for us to decide on our winners for this months contest – we debated over these for hours…  Thank you for participating – for folks out there we still have the month of July to submit your photos for the August 1st announce date. Please contact us for information on how to claim your passes.

If you do not have an an account: Hands on Labs Registration

Thanks again !

The winners are…

Name: Dan Muhr @Geekoolaid

Title: “Going over the check list before baby arrives,,, “

We picked this one because Dan is going to be in so much trouble when your wife sees that you submitted a picture of you taking labs after you had your baby.  Congratulations on your new baby and see you at VMworld San Francisco

Name: Mike Compton

Title: Brushing up on Labs at the Dentist

We liked this photo because its just plain wrong, wrong but it really made us laugh. This even made us wonder if we pushed this contest too far.  Very creative Mike – please be sure to thank your dentist – she looks very patient.

Honorable Mentions

We just could not resist – these photos were fun, and just could not say no. Please contact me directly to learn more about your secret prizes (sound of me scrambling through our T-shirt drawer, and TradeShow giveaways in the background)

Name: Mr. Matt

Title: What is the hold up ?  Labs in a Patrol Car

We liked this one because its nice to see the view from the other side – very creative and original Matt.

Name: Kirk Shaffer

Title: Multi Tasking – next generation Cloud experts

This photo was just way to cute to pass up – thank you for submitting it.


Name: Dunc_James

Title: Just Chillen’

We liked this photo because the ice cream looks really good and you actually have a lab running with your Run T Shirt


Name: Jay Weinshenker

Title: The best thing about taking the car to the repair shop

We liked this photo because it sparked a lot of discussion on what you can actually do while your car is in the repair shop.