Author Archives: Pablo Roesch

Welcome back to San Francisco VMworld 2019 Hands-on Labs Where to eat, drink and be seen…


Welcome back to San Francisco for VMworld 2019 Hands-on Labs !












We want to make you feel at home and would put together a list of cool places to go, eat and be seen.  This is an updated posted from many years ago.. some of the restaurants names you will find here again.

A little about me. I have lived in San Francisco all my life and seen lots of changes and yet some things never change.

My favorite restaurants and adult beverages establishments by neighborhood…

North Beach  

Original Joes – This is a classic San Francisco restaurant – Class American Italian food. My go to meal here is the Cheeseburger on Sour Dough.  Fun trivia – I actually worked here during my college years as a cashier when the restaurant was in the Tenderloin. I later learned why begin a cashier at a restaurant in the Tenderloin was not a good idea

Café Greco – There are many cafes in North Beach – this is one that has not changed much and very cool to be seen at. The Tiramisu and Cappuccino work well together.

Marios Cigar Shop – This is a cool little sandwich shop right around the corner from Original Joes. This has been here for many years – it’s a cash only place. The sandwiches are great and be sure to ask for the House Campari

Tony’s Pizza – Probably the best thin crust pizza in San Francisco. The coal fire pizza (900 degrees) is our top favorite. Be prepared to wait for a table during peak hours. They also have it by the slice next door.

The Richmond – This is one of the neighborhoods where the sunshine is a rare thing – so when it does shine it becomes a very special occasion.

Burma Super Star – This is one of my favorite restaurants – This the Richmond district classic restaurant. No reservations, small seating and always delicious meals. My go to dishes:

  • Tea Leaf Salad
  • Pea Shoots
  • Pumkin Port
  • Walnut Prawns ….

Thanh Long – This is the place to go for roasted crab and garlic noodles. This is not a good place for anyone with seafood allergies. Pro Tip – Do not share a crab – eat your own enjoy your meal. There are tons of other places with better prices and maybe better crab but this for us is unique as it is so close to the beach you can hear the ocean on a quiet day and freeze if you don’t bring a jacket or sweater. They have a great cocktail bar but there is no parking anywhere. You will have to Uber, or valet Park.
























The Mission – I added this one last just because it has become the neighborhood where all things exciting happen. At least this is what we hear – Some fun Trivia – yes I owned a Low Rider once – 78 Buick Regal and the “Mish” was where we went for entertainment.

Blondies Bar and No Grill – It seems like this is the one stop that is hard to pass up. They serve up delicious 16oz adult beverages – our top pick is the Blondelope. This is a cash only place so be sure to load up on cash before going. Also they will card you – bring a government issued ID.

Pancho Villa Taqueria – This is our after hours go to. We love it because they stay open late (till midnight), there are tons of interesting people to see on the street, and  require no reservations and of course the Mexican food is very good. Be sure to custom make your burrito – the will customize your burrito if you ask nicely – and be sure to go savor the special sauces they provide.

Dandelion  Chocolate – This is pretty much chocolate heaven for us. They even do Chocolate Tours so if interested book early – I have never taken a tour so would love to hear what you thought.

ABV – This is a staff favorite – its 100 meters from Blondies and they do accept Credit Cards. I hear the Whiskey Soda selection is decent (High Balls) .  They do check your so be sure to bring a government ID.

Little Star Pizza – We think this is one of the better Pizzas in the City There are tons more but this one is very close to Blondies – they specialize in corn meal crust they do thick and thin pizza. The chicken wings are worth a mention and the salads are good.

Trick Dog – This establishment is new to me and have enjoyed it very much. They do have some great refreshments here. The menu features old school tattoos (Popeye the Sailor Tattoo) as part of the names of the drinks themselves. Some names not suitable to mention here. This is a little out of the way so do uber over.

Not in the Mission but great to mention

Smugglers Cover – We love this little establishment as it genuinely has a pirate ship feel to it. Bring your ID, and once inside go downstairs. It feels very much like the hull of a ship. Some of our favorite refreshments are the Leilani and Hibiscus Rum Punch – Order the commemorative mug. It will be a nice mug to take back with you to help remember the evening.

The Tonga Room – This is a fun place to go although it has become very touristy over the years. I heard this place was where the hotel swimming pool was.

There are hundreds of places to go to in San Francisco these are just my personal favorites, come by the Hands-on Labs room and let us know what you thought of our choices. Also please be sure to share your favorite spots with our readers in comments section.  .

See you at VMworld 2019 Hands-on Labs Room

-Pablo Roesch



Congratulations our Raffle Winner – Nicole Williams!


Super excited to announce our Raffle Winner Nicole Williams. Nicole will be joining us at VMworld Las Vegas.  Nicole is a detail-oriented database engineer with experience leading and working in teams on complex projects using a wide range of technologies such as SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, NoSQL, Hadoop, Cloudera and MapR.

Congratulations Nicole !

Want to attend VMworld 2018 but your team is out of travel budget?













Hi folks,

We are excited about announcing our first ever Global Raffle Contest – A FREE Trip to VMworld 2018! The contest starts April 18th and ends May 24th. We will be announcing the winner here on our Blog so please stay tuned.

What is the catch?

Nothing. We are running this raffle contest to show our appreciation to our global Hands-on Labs users. We also think it would be nice to have an extra set of hands helping us during VMworld (just kidding not required but happy to give the winner our special Hands-on Labs behind the scenes Super VIP Tour)

Be sure to take any of qualifying freshly minted Hands-on Labs and more info.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions:

What will VMware pay for?

VMware will pay for your Airfare, Hotel, Conference Pass and Airfare up to $5,000 USD. You are responsible to follow your organizations and local laws, taxes, visa, passport and all other travel requirements. Please be sure to read the Terms and Conditions and be sure to obey your local contest laws.

What if I am already attending VMworld can I transfer the prize to my friend or colleague?

Yes. You will have 3 business days to declare the new winner and the new winner will need to be approved by VMware.

Will VMware pay for additional travel expenses?

VMware will cover Airfare, Hotel and a Full Conference Pass (up to $5K USD)

Is the contest for VMworld US and VMworld EMEA ?

Yes you pick your destination but as long as the cost is under $5K USD.

VMware Hands-on Labs Live Stats – Fun way to track usage statistics – Official Link

Hello Friends of Hands-on Labs, 

We wanted to share with you some background on Hands-on Labs Live stats and would love some feedback on what else you would like to see.  The project was inspired by the VMworld Jumbo Tron Display – our large screen displaying stats during the show. We wanted to make this available for all our users so they can check on their favorite labs and check to see some stats on our infrastructure usage.  A huge thanks to Andrew Hald and team for putting this creation together for us.

Official Live Stats Link: (As of September 27, 2017)

Some of my favorite features:

One application for many devices: The app was designed to work for our massive overhead projectors at VMworld as well as your favorite mobile devices. This is pure CSS black magic, the app can auto rotate or you can stop it to check on your favorite stats.

Reporting on stats during multiple events. We run HOLs at many events during the year and this year was pretty complex as we had many fall at the exact same times across the globe. As you can imagine creating usage reports gets complicated.

Here are some exaymples of the cities we used LiveStats on

vForum Tokyo:

vForum Singapore:  (Nov14)

vForum Thailand: (Nov14th)

Users around the Globe:  I enjoy this feature as it is fun to see where the labs are taken around the world.

Top Labs: It seems like most of the content developers are concerned with this feature as they like to compete against each other.

Please send us your feedback ! This is our first iteration of LiveStats and hope its useful for you – we can only improve on it if you send us your feedback. We would love to hear from you!

Use our Browser / Network Compatibility Test tool before you start your lab experience ..


Some great news !

The VMware Learning Platform engineering team put together a very cool Tool to help you do a little sanity check before you take a Hands-on Lab. It will check your browser compatibility, and some basic network sanity checks to make sure your lab experience is as best as can be.

Be sure to send us your feedback and if you think its useful tell a friend.


Join us for Americas vForum Online June 28th – Tons of great Sessions and Hands-on Labs


We will be hosting another vForum Online event this June 28th and have great Sessions and Hands-on Labs lined up to make your learning experience even better. These events are exciting as we engage with users from all of the Americas. We will be online monitoring the infrastructure and answering questions from you.

We look forward to seeing you there !

See Agenda 


Congratulations Brian W – DJI Drone Raffle Contest Winner


Thank you for participating in our Raffle Drawing for the very cool DJI Drone – we had a lot of fun putting it together for you.  We thought it would be great to get to know our winner and did a little write up to introduce him to our readers.

Tell us about your professional career background and interests ?

 I work in healthcare specializing in virtualization technology and strategy. I’ve been working in IT for over 20 years, and working with VMware solutions for over 15. My current interests involve Cloud Management and Automation, and Network Virtualization. I also enjoy attending my local VMUG meetings to understand how other people are addressing problems in Healthcare with technology.

 How was your Hands-on Lab Experience? Anything we can do to improve the experience?  

I’m a huge proponent of the HOL’s. I used them frequently to study for VMware Certification exams, especially to get to bits that aren’t generally available… Additionally, many of the labs give you free reign to go off of the lab manual, and do other tasks. For me, this is much easier than a home lab. Everything is properly configured, consistent, and there’s no consequence for making changes that would break a home lab configuration. Over the years, the HOL environment has gotten better and the catalog broader, there’s really nothing else like it out there.

 Advice to users out there on using the Hands-on Labs

 Get out there and try them! Don’t be afraid to use a HOL environment for other tasks than the lab, such as performing tasks on a certification blueprint. I rarely find that there are things I cannot perform in the HOL’s, short of complex multisite configurations. The HOL’s are great training if you’re lacking budget, offering the latest content and products.


New Hands-on Labs and Chance to win a DJI Mavic Pro Drone

New Hands-on Labs released and chance to win a cool DJI Drone

New Hands-on Labs released and chance to win a cool DJI Drone


We are incredibly happy to announce our latest release of Hands-on Labs and a very cool DJI Drone Raffle Giveaway for taking any of our eligible Hands-on Labs. Please visit our official contest site for more details Contest runs from April 19th to May 19th 2017 Giveaway is for US residents only, sorry no VMware employees.

Below is a list of our recently released Hands-on Labs for our Spring Release. We would also like to thank our entire team for making this happen. You can take any of these labs from our Hands-on Labs site

Newly released Hands-on Labs

      • HOL-1731-SDC-1 – What’s New: Virtual SAN v6.5
      • HOL-1731-SDC-2 – Advanced vSAN 6.5: Operations
      • HOL-1733 – What’s New: vRealize Automation v7.2
      • HOL-1810-01-SDC – Virtualization 101: Introduction to vSphere

Updates to existing Hands-on Labs

      • HOL-1701 (all lab codes) – Updated to vROps v6.5 and Log Insight v4.  Includes updates to VOA Hands-on Labs
      • HOL-1706-SDC-5 – VMware Cloud Foundation
      • HOL-1710  – Updating to the GA release of vSphere v6.5.  Log Insight content
      • HOL-1728-SDC-1  – General updates
      • HOL-1730-USE-1 – Updated to Cloud Native GA code
      • HOL-1751-MBL-1 – New module to include Instant Clones
      • HOL-1756-MBL-1 – New interactive simulation lab and renamed to Horizon Cloud-Hosted Infrastructure – Explore and Manage
      • HOL-1757   Updated to AirWatch v9.0
      • HOL-1787-USE-1 – New features of vCD
      • HOL-1790-CHG-1 – Updated for vRA 7.2

Thank you for your support and enjoy your Hands-on Labs –

VMware Hands-on Labs Team


VMware Hands-on Labs over 1 Million Labs Served – Thank You


We are incredibly proud of announcing that we have delivered over 1 Million Hands-on Labs to 269K active users since January 1st 2013.  We really appreciate the help we have received from all of the teams involved for making this happen.

Some Fun Facts: 

  • Users on average spend 51 minutes taking a Lab, taking 3.7 Labs
  • We deliver 1200 – 1800 Labs per day
  • We have over 70 Labs and 400 Lab Modules for you take
  • We move more than 32 TB of Data per cloud – During VMworld we usually run 9 Clouds

Looking forward to a great 2017

This year will be the year of SAS Hands-on Labs supporting recent AWS announcements that will be released for VMworld 2017, and our Global vForums.

We have consistently added users over the years at VMworld, our launching pad for new Hands-on Labs and looking forward to expanding our global footprint.

Thanks for your support and looking forward to a great 2017 !


New link for the vCloud Air Hands-on Labs

New Link for VMware vCloud Air Hands-on LabsFriends,

Just a quick update we have moved the vCloud Air Hands-on Labs to a new site. Please note you will need to use your myvmware login to access the labs.

The new link:

Thanks much and enjoy your labs !