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Monthly Archives: October 2019

VMworld 2019 Barcelona Hands-on Labs: VMware Odyssey, Lightning Labs, and More!

The Hands-on Labs team is continuing the momentum to make sure your experience this year at VMworld Barcelona is unforgettable! Here is a list of items you don’t want to miss during the event.

What’s New?

  • VMware Odyssey™ by Hands-on Labs: We are taking Hands-on Labs to the next level by adding gamification elements to the labs you know and love. Showcase your technical expertise and skills with VMware Odyssey, sponsored by Intel. Compete through rounds and go head-to-head with teams to be crowned the grand prize winner.The winning team is awarded the NEW MacBook Pro.  Register Now and become the Odyssey Champion!



The winning team is awarded the NEW MacBook Pro.  Register Now and become the Odyssey Champion!  Are you ready to be crowned VMworld Barcelona’s Odyssey Champion?

Limited availability, Register Today, claim your spot and jacket:

  • Lightning Labs: At VMworld Barcelona, we will have more lightning labs than ever! If you’re not familiar, Lightning Labs are short 30-minute, concentrated modules of our Hands-on Labs that are designed to maximize your time. Simply put, they are the fastest and easiest way to learn about core product features broken down to bite-sized actions. Here’s the list of all the Lightning Labs that you can choose from in Barcelona:

  • Partner Labs: Test drive our newest partner products and solutions with Hands-on Labs. At Barcelona, we will offer many new partner labs including Dell, AWS, and more.
  • Hands-on Labs Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality will be available within the VMworld App throughout the Hands-on Labs area. Discover the Expert-Led Workshops, Command Center Wall, Hands-on Labs Tours, and VMware Odyssey.

Labs That Fit Your Schedule

Take any lab, anywhere, anytime. VMware Hands-on Labs are flexible to fit your schedule. Here are a few options available at VMworld:

  • Self-Paced Labs: Explore VMware’s latest products by taking a Hands-on Lab on your own time and at your own pace.
    • At a traditional workstation:Come into the Hands-on Lab room and we will provide you with a seat, a screen and a keyboard.
    • Bring in your own device (BYOD):Find a spot in our open HOL Connect (info on VMworld website) to start a lab.
  • Expert-Led Workshops: Try Hands-on Labs in an engaging, instructional environment with lab creators and experts in the room with you! This year we increased the total number of workshops available AND added a number of workshops in French and German. 

  • Hands-on Labs Tour: Get a 30-minute behind-the-scenes peek at what it takes to run our Hands-on Labs. Meet lab creators and engineers running our multiple clouds. Make sure to book your tour at the HOL Tour Information Desk during VMworld!

What about Prizes?

 This year our prizes are better than ever! Here are a few ways you can qualify to win:

  • The CloudCred, Hands-on Labs Great Labs Game: Score your CloudCred points for EVERY lab and workshop. Follow the QR code at the end of your lab or session for CloudCred points to win BIG PRIZES!! 
  • VMware Odyssey™ by Hands-on Labs: Come to VMware Odyssey during VMworld and enter for a chance to win prizes and Odyssey swag. First place tournament winner gets the NEW MacBook Pro!

After Hours:

After working hard, it’s time to play! Here’s a few of our favorite things to do after hours while in Barcelona:

  • Attend a Football game at Camp Nou Stadium: Camp Nou is the home stadium of FC Barcelona and the largest stadium in all of Europe. Cheer on the competing teams and meet some locals!
  • Visit the famous Sagrada Familia: The large and unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona is one of the must sees while in the area.
  • Walk around el Mercado de La Boqueria: This is our favorite local market in Barcelona that sells some of the best meat, cheese, and sangria in the city.
  • Eat dinner at El Nacional: The first restaurant in Barcelona with different areas to try traditional recipes from all around the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Grab a drink at the Old Fashioned: This is one our favorite Gin tonic & Cocktail Bars in all of Barcelona.

We can’t wait to see you there!



We Have Lift Off: Version 2 of vSAN Beginner Odyssey Game

We just made updates to the HOL-2008-04-ODY – vSAN Beginner Odyssey Lab based on user feedback. Version 2 of the VMware vSAN Beginner Odyssey Lab is now live!

Congratulations to Anthony Laurente, Jonas Weber, and Danilo Coppola on ranking at the top of our global vSAN version 1 leaderboard! Keep an eye out for our VMware Odyssey swag to come in the mail.


Thank you everyone for playing our VMware vSAN Beginner Version 1 Odyssey Lab!  Now is your chance to go back and showcase your vSAN skills on our brand new leaderboard: https://www.vmware.com/go/try-vsan-odyssey 

How to use VMware Odyssey for your next Event

As VMware Odyssey grows, we are continually learning better ways to run the program. Here are our latest tips, tricks, and best practices to have a VMware Odyssey ‘Hackathon’ at your next team meeting or partner event:

Prep Work:

Step 1:

Take an Odyssey Lab. Learn the key differences between a Hands-on Labs and VMware Odyssey Game labs. Your understanding of the program is key in the success of running the event and friendly competition.

Step 2:

 Understand what the requirements are to run Odyssey smoothly and successfully at your event. We put together a list below:

*If you will not provide thin clients, ensure there are enough computers available to run the games on.

The requirements above are categorized as optional and required items. The required lines will ensure you have the minimum necessities to successfully run Odyssey at a small local event. For medium-larger events that may span over multiple days with more attendees, we created a foundational list of “optional” items that will help drive awareness, buzz, and excitement. For example, adding emcees can help gather a crowd and get more customers to take a lab.

Step 3:
Fill out the information and details around your event here: http://web.hol.vmware.com/HOL-in-a-box/

Be sure to put a Salesforce Tracking ID and select all the Odyssey game labs you would like to run at your game night event.  Once you fill this form out, we will provide you with a landing page specific for your event, a unique Odyssey game code, and the custom leaderboard link.

Step 4: A few days before your event

Before your game night event, we recommend to take the specific Odyssey lab(s) that will be featured in the event and familiarize yourself with how to complete each task. It is also important to test the networking in the event room itself. This will ensure a smooth event experience and allows time to troubleshoot any issues before the event begins.

On the day of the actual event, we encourage a proctor or product expert present onsite that is familiar with how to complete the tasks.

Getting Started:

Once the prep work is down, lets create teams and design the game format based on the amount of time you have allotted.

Team Formation (optional step):

Start with all individuals form teams and create their team names. Help them along the way and try to keep each team small (we recommend no more than 6 participants per team). Once the teams have been finalized, write the team names and members down on the whiteboard. We noticed this can take a while, but it’s on our roadmap to automate.

If you decide that you do not want teams, then you can have all attendees play individually on their own laptops or thin clients.

Game Format:

Most Odyssey games run for 30 minutes, so we’d recommend you set aside 1 hour per game. Here’s an estimated timeline of events:

  • First 15 minutes: introduce VMware Odyssey, create user accounts, walk the users through the VMware Odyssey game lab interface, and make sure all players are ready.
    • *If you have a special Game Code, make sure people use that instead of the one within the lab manual.*
  • Next 30 minutes: Game Time – Choose one Odyssey lab at a time, and let the games begin.
    • We’d recommend starting with a Beginner level Odyssey lab to warm the players up, and then move into more Advanced topics if time permits.
  • Last 15 minutes: Once participants begin completing all the Odyssey lab tasks, they should walk around and help other players that are falling behind. VMware Odyssey is all about having fun and working together!

Pro Tips:

#1: If you find most individuals are stuck on a certain task, be sure to encourage them to use other resources (i.e. Google) to help solve the answer.

#2: If you don’t want your last name on the leaderboard, you can edit it out on our VMware Learning Platform Profile (lab portal) and refresh your browser. See image below:  

Let us know what you think! If you have any additional questions, suggestions, or comments on how to (better) run Odyssey at your events, please email us at: odyssey-support@vmware.com

Introducing the Command Center Wall – VMworld US 2019


VMworld 2019 was another record-breaking year for the Hands-on Labs team. A total of 14,434 labs were delivered across 5 different clouds, which is an equivalent to 127,523 virtual machines, 17,535 NSX Networks and a staggering 9,455,776 GBs of storage!

Every year, we deliver labs at a massive scale and customers often wonder – How?

A pivotal factor is the tools that we use to efficiently manage, monitor and scale our intricate and complex environment. Exclusively at VMworld, we offer a sneak peek behind the scenes at our infrastructure through a rather extraordinary installation of 15 screens on a 10ft. wall.

The screens on the Hands-on Labs Command Center wall are the windows into our operations and provide live, realtime access to the statistics of our environment during the event. These are many of the same dashboards our engineers are using to monitor and manage the clouds.

Much of this information is only open to the public during large events like VMworld. It is one of the most highlighted stops during the Hands-on Labs tours and was often seen crowded with customers.


Here is a peek at the screens we shared during VMworld.

vRealize Operations (both on-premises and the new cloud-based service)

We use traditional vRealize Operations and and vRealize Operations Cloud to monitor the overall infrastructure resources: CPU, Disk, Memory and Network. The dashboards give us the ability to summarize 5 clouds and over 300 hosts into a single dashboard, but also allow us to dig deeper into individual hosts, datastores, or virtual machines. With this extensive and instant insight into our infrastructure, we have visibility into overall usage and utilization of individual resources. We use alerts, events and alarms to realize and mediate issues as soon as they occur, with thresholds set to alert us in advance of potential user-impacting problems.

Interested in learning about vRealize Operations? – You can take a hands-on lab!

Lab: vRealize Operations – Optimize the Performance of Your vSphere Environment  Click here!



We use Wavefront to store data about our labs. This tool provides the ability to analyze relationships between different aspects of this data. Using these relationships, we can better understand lab consumption, active labs during specific times of day, week, and month, product interest trends and geographical lab usage. We can locate most popular lab at different points in time and geographic location, helping us understand our impact around the globe.


VMware Learning Platform

VMware Learning Platform (VLP) is the system that the Hands-on Labs team uses on a daily basis to manage everything from lab presentation, management, deployment and cloud placement to user accounts, transcripts and permissions. Where vRealize Operations and Wavefront are tools we use to monitor and analyze our environment, VLP is a one-stop management tool for all things Hands-on Labs.

If you are interested in learning more about VLP, you can try this interactive simulation (iSIM) for a quick overview: VMware Learning Platform – Interactive Quick Demo or experience the product in the Hands-on Labs  [link to HOL-2085].



Watch an interview with Doug Baer, (Staff Technical Marketing Architect and Command Wall Guru) introducing the command center wall! Watch Video

Any additional questions on the command wall? Reach us at HOL Support hol-feedback@vmware.com


Written by:

Doug Baer, Staff Technical Marketing Architect

Kate Lee, Technical Marketing Manager