VMware Hands-on Labs

Hands-on Labs Spring Release and vForum Online Spring 2016

How we put our Software Defined Data Center through its paces (and terrified our Architects)

On April 19, 2016, our team hosted Hands-on Labs at the VMware Americas vForum Online Event. This event had over 17,000 registered attendees and featured some of the new and newly-updated labs that are part of our 2016 spring release. With an attendee base nearly the size of a VMworld event, this was a nontrivial undertaking.

We wanted to share with you an peek into how we provided and released the latest Hands-on Labs at this massive online event. If you work in a datacenter and appreciate the challenges of capacity management, this may be particularly interesting to you. At the end of the post, I will highlight the new labs we have released. I think we have some new content that is exciting enough to release outside of our typical release cycle.

Based on data from similar online events last year, it was forecasted that we would need to service 400 concurrent users for this event. We regularly handle more than 500 concurrent users during the US VMworld, so we understand needs of this magnitude and made preparations to handle that load.

However, the interest at this event was so incredible that we reached over 600 concurrent users. In fact, we had 580 labs started within the first 10 minutes we were open and a steady usage of nearly 400 labs all day.



In the 24 hour period beginning at 9:30am PST, when the event’s virtual doors opened, we delivered over 4,000 labs and served over 2,500 unique users.

Running at 580 Concurrent Users: what this means from a capacity perspective.

During the event, there were some attendees asking about whether we could bring new capacity online to serve even more simultaneous users. Since we had planned capacity for 400 concurrent users and had spikes of around 600, we were actually bursting beyond the planned and into the extra cloud capacity we had prepared. Talk about stress testing the environment… and the team!

The following table gives you an idea of the resources we were consuming within the first 10 minutes of this event.

Average per lab 11 20 50 GB 479 GB
At 580 concurrent 6,380 11,600 29 TB 278 TB

What’s this about new labs???

We have updated 11 of our labs with new content and have released two new labs for 2016. These new and updated labs are flagged with the NEW flag in the Hands-on Labs portal, as in the following image:


Hopefully, this makes the updated content easy to locate.

The following labs are brand new or updated for spring and popular at the vForum Online event.

HOL-MBL-1661 Delivering Secure Healthcare Desktops with Horizon and NSX This lab demonstrates how VMware End User Computing and NSX Security solutions can provide a customized healthcare desktop experience while maximizing operational efficiencies and security by leveraging pure stateless VDI.
HOL-SDC-1608 What’s New with Virtual SAN 6.2 Explore the exciting features of Virtual SAN 6.2, including Storage Policy Based Management, the new Sparse VM Swap Object, Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster (ROBO), the Performance Service, and more.
HOL-SDC-1610 Virtualization 101: vSphere with Operations Management 6 This introductory lab demonstrates the core features and functions of vSphere with Operations Management including vSphere, vCenter and vRealize Operations Manager. This is an excellent place to begin your experience with VMware vSphere.
HOL-SDC-1633 vRealize Automation 7: What’s New Explore the new features in vRealize Automation 7.

The following are direct links to the other refreshed or newly-released labs:

Cloud Management with vRealize Suite Standard (1601)
vSphere with Operations Management 6: Advanced Topics (1602)
VMware NSX and the vRealize Suite (1624)
vSphere Optimization Assessment (1631)
vRealize Operations Manager Standard (1634)
vRealize Log Insight (1635)
F5 Integration with VMware Mobility (1659)
VMware vCloud® Air™ – Hybridity & Networking (1682)
VMware vCloud® Air™ – Manage Your Hybrid Cloud (1683)

This post would be incomplete without a huge thank you to the lab teams who worked to update this content for the Spring Release, our vCloud Air team for providing additional capacity, and to Josh Schnee for beating on the clouds ahead of time and keeping the wheels on the bus during the event.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy your labs!