VMware Hands-on Labs

Happy New Year

Happy 2017 from the VMware Hands-on Labs team! I have three quick updates for you in this post.


We are currently working on our Spring Release, which is when we refresh some of the labs from the prior year’s VMworld. Look for some updated content around April of this year.


We have started planning the labs for VMworld 2017, which is always an exciting time. If you have a great idea that you would like considered for our 2017 cycle, we have the Hands-on Labs Idea Registry. We accept submissions on this site for the current year until around mid-February. Once your idea is submitted, it will be reviewed and presented to the appropriate VMware Business Unit for consideration.


We have create a few tools to deal with the specialness of running our lab content in a nested environment. Some of these have proven useful to others in the community who run their own labs. We talk about these tools a bit during our VIP Tours at the VMworld events and are happy to share what we can. A few are currently available on GitHub:

  • LabStartup – a framework that we use for checking the status of components within our labs, both at startup time and, now, on a periodic basis. The LabStartupFunctons.ps1 contains some useful functions for checking status and, in some cases, performing remediation.
  • HOL-ModuleSwitcher – a framework for executing PowerShell scripts via a simple “button panel” UI. Supports Start and Stop scripts for each module.


Disclaimer: These scripts are provided “as-is” and may not be appropriate for your environment. They are not officially supported by VMware. If you decide to use them, you do so at your own risk.

Most recently, I have been overhauling the three-tier “application” that we use inside our labs. The basic version is made up of 3 VMs, runs entirely on Photon OS, and boots in under 30 seconds!


With all of the interest on networking in general, and NSX in particular, we have received some requests for access to this application because it can be really helpful in a lab setting.

Rather than providing a link to a multi-GB download with VMs that someone else (me) has hacked together, I think it would be more interesting to explain how this application is put together. My goal for this project is to have something small, simple, and understandable. Using as many default components and settings as possible helps get there. It is not currently implemented using something sexy like containers, although it can be reworked that way if you are so inclined.

In some upcoming posts, I will describe this application and how it is constructed using the base Photon OS v1.0 OVA as a starting point. If you want to see what the current ConeOS-based version looks like, you can check out one of the NSX labs like HOL-1703 or HOL-1725. The new version is slightly different, but the idea is the same.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your labs!

UPDATE: The first post in the series is now online: HOL Three-Tier Application, Part 1