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.
Lab Naming – SKUs
Each of the VMware Hands-on Labs has a long name and a SKU (Stock Keeping Unit). The SKU is how we identify the labs internally, and has become a quick way for our users to reference a specific lab as well. In the image below, the SKU is in the red box, HOL-SDC-1601, and the long name is in the yellow box, Cloud Automation with vRealize Operations Insight. Obviously, one is more friendly for our users, but the other can be equally useful with a little explanation.
The SKU is separated into three parts, with the third part, the 1601, being important for this example. The first two digits of this part represent the lab year and the last two digits are the lab’s identifier for the year. Starting last year, we aligned the lab year portion to be similar to automobile model years rather than release years.
Release Cycle and Lab Lifetime
A majority of our labs debut at the US VMworld conference in August of each year, and the planned lifetime of our labs is from VMworld through December 1 of the following year. So, labs that we release at VMworld 2016 in Las Vegas will be published online and spend most of their useful life in 2017 because they will be available until December 1, 2017.
According to the naming convention described previously, a lab released at VMworld 2016 will have 17 as part of its SKU because the lab will be available throughout 2017.
To preserve continuity between years, if a lab is being updated/refreshed/reimagined for a new year, we maintain the same lab identifier for that content. So, for example, the current HOL-SDC-1603 NSX Intro lab will expire on December 1, 2016, but a new HOL-SDC-1703 will likely be available to take its place after VMworld and through December 1, 2017. Because the lab identifier is the same, the 1703 lab should contain the same type of content as the 1603 lab.
Note that an updated lab usually contains updated versions products, and may tell a slightly different story, depending on the features available in the new product version.
Transition and Overlap
Following the VMworld conferences, there may be a brief period of overlap where some of the previous labs are available alongside the new labs. As we roll out the new labs, the corresponding old labs (the ones with the same identifiers) are moved into an Archive catalog on the HOL portal with a note that they will be removed from service shortly.
The Short Bit
If you find yourself in 2016 looking for a lab SKU like HOL-SDC-1421 and it is not there, remember this post and see if HOL-SDC-1621 is available instead.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your labs!