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Monthly Archives: October 2015

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!