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Tag Archives: cloud

New Hands-on Labs at VMworld 2016

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VMworld US 2016 is less than a week away. The Hands-on Labs team cannot wait to connect with everyone in Las Vegas as we unveil our new 2017 content catalog. VMworld attendees are the first to experience the labs that are deployed online throughout the following calendar year. This year is no exception, with over 70 lab topics covering vSphere tech preview material, integration with VMware partner solutions, updated NSX content, new Virtual SAN labs, Airwatch, Horizon and vCloud Air. The VMware Hands-on Labs showcase the power of VMware products and solutions in real time. Be sure to visit the Hands-on Labs, Sunday through Thursday, at VMworld US 2016 in Las Vegas.

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Time, Resources, and Modularity

“There is not enough time provided to complete all of the steps in the manual!”time-up-businessman-holding-sandglass-hourglass-looking-realise-s-nearly-deadline-45081255

This is perhaps the most common bit of feedback we receive about the VMware Hands-on Labs. For the past few years, we have been working on ways to optimize resource utilization. One of these optimizations has been consolidation and sharing of lab environments.

What does that mean? Let’s look at our wildly popular NSX labs for an example. Rather than having 13 individual “labs” that showcase our NSX product, we have two lab environments available. We pair each environment with a manual containing multiple modules. This provides a consolidation of sorts: lab modules are written to use the same underlying lab environment.

In the case of NSX, we have split the modules into two groups: Introduction and Advanced. It makes sense to leave certain aspects of the lab environment unconfigured for the Introduction because a big part of learning is performing the configuration. In the Advanced environment, we assume that the student already knows how to perform basic configuration and those tasks have already been performed.

The set of basic modules became the Introduction to NSX lab (HOL-SDC-1603), while the Advanced content became the NSX Advanced lab (HOL-SDC-1625). There are other labs that contain NSX-related content, but you get the idea.

By design, each lab module is independent, and should require between 15 and 90 minutes to complete. If you like, you can think of each module as a “lab” that shares a “lab environment” with related labs. The net result for us is that we save on resources. From your side, you don’t need to wait for a new environment to deploy in order to move on to the next lab. Rather, you deploy once and have a set of labs to choose from. Only switching environments or rolling back the current one requires a redeployment.

You can jump to any module in the manual and start from there — WITHOUT going back to perform tasks in previous modules.

Use this information to plan your lab experiences: each time you complete a module, think of it as reaching a checkpoint, restore or respawn point in a video game. The same idea applies: you do not need to repeat that effort unless you want to do so. These are also good places to remember to get up and stretch your legs or grab a cup of coffee.

We list each module with its estimated completion time in the Table of Contents. We try our best to make the estimates reasonable, but each person learns at a different pace. Hitting those times is neither a goal nor an assessment of your proficiency, simply a number to help you plan your session time. This is not a test. Feel free to take the labs as many times as you like!VLP_TOC

Example

The new VMware NSX Advanced lab (HOL-SDC-1625) manual contains 7 modules with a total estimated 3.5 hours of content. We usually provide 90-minute sessions at our events (VMworld, vForum, VMUG) and 3-4 hours via the public portal.

1625_TOC

Eating the Elephant

If I were to take this lab, I would make it a goal to complete module 1, and maybe module 2 in my first sitting. That is about 90 minutes of content, and more than enough for me to try and consume during my first foray into Advanced NSX.

If I get to Module 3, great. If not, though, I can simply jump straight to that module the next time I get into the lab. Sure, if I log in later today or tomorrow, or next week, it will not be the exact same instance of the lab environment I was working in, but it will be a fresh copy from the same template and the exercises in Module 3 will not require that I complete Modules 1-2 before beginning work.

Our intent is not for you to work through every module in a lab manual in one sitting.

In fact, we have found that users are generally able to spend about an hour at a time in a lab — even when they are taking labs at large events like VMworld. Phone calls, meetings, and life in general tend to get in the way of marathon lab sessions. Besides, the ergonomics people say that you should get up and take a break once in a while — at least 5 minutes each hour.

So, next time you open one of our labs and see that there are 90 minutes on the clock and 598 pages (!!!) in the manual, don’t worry. This isn’t a test. It simply means that you have a LOT of choices related to the topic that you chose. Open the Table of Contents and see what interests you… and feel free to skip anything that you don’t care about, too!

I hope that helps you all understand our thinking and how we have chosen to structure our content.

Enjoy your labs.

There’s someone in my lab !?!

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It is a rare occurrence, but it is possible that you may see windows open and a cursor moving in a lab that you have just deployed in the VMware Hands-on Labs. Before you reach for the End button to kill the lab, in the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic!”

Does this mean that you have been assigned the same lab that someone else is already using? Based on the way that lab entitlements are managed by the VMware Learning Platform, that is unlikely. Instead, this probably has to do with some new monitoring and proactive failure notification we implemented in a subset of our 2014 labs.

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Hands-on Labs: Differential Replication

blocksForgive me. It has been more than six weeks since my last post. To make up for it, this post is pretty long, weighing in at around 3,000 words. On the plus side, you only need to read all of those words in the example code output you’re really interested.

Part of the reason I have been slacking on the blog front is that our team has been working to get our new content and infrastructure built, upgraded and ready for all of you to enjoy at the VMworlds this year. We have some pretty exciting new labs in coming, as well as a some of VMworld sessions about how we run things and how some people are using our labs: INF1311 – Deploy and Destroy 85K VMs in a week: VMware Hands-on Labs Backstage and SDDC2277 – A New Way of Evaluating VMware Products and Solutions – VMwareHands-on Labs

Got Bandwidth?

There are some cases when you have plenty of bandwidth between your source and target, and other times when that is just not possible. Sill, the data must go through! So, if bandwidth between clouds is on the lower end, or if we are refreshing a version of an existing vPod, our second replication mechanism using rsync may save us quite a bit of time.

It has been said in a variety of different ways that the best I/O is the one you don’t need to do – that is especially true for moving data over great distances and/or via low-bandwidth connections. For the 2013 content year, as we developed this solution we transferred our base vPods using the LFTP method, then used the base pods as “seeds” for an rsync differential replication.

This solution is a combination of the right tools and the right process. Either one used in isolation would not provide us as much benefit as using them together. I know it sounds a bit gestalt and maybe a little cheesy, but I hope you see what I mean when you read through this post.  Continue reading

Hands-on Labs: Importing vPods

This is the fourth in my series on managing content for VMware Hands-on Labs. You can find the previous posts in the following locations:

The next phase of our multi-cloud vPod management process is sometimes a data replication, but there are times when we have multiple clouds at the same physical location. In that case, the next phase is simply an import to the target cloud. Doing this by hand is tedious and error-prone, so we employ some PowerCLI to keep us sane.

We use the built-in Import-CIVAppTemplate cmdlet for importing vApp templates. It usually does the job pretty well, but I have noticed a couple of things about the cmdlet that are worth sharing. First off, in my experience, it does not do very well with high latency links. At high latency, its bandwidth utilization is terrible when compared to even the Java-based uploader that is part of the vCD web UI. The capability to script the import process can be a worthwhile tradeoff in many cases. If the source and target clouds are geographically distributed, we usually replicate the export files to a “library” host that is LAN-connected to the target cloud and then perform the import locally anyway. I will go into more on that process in a future post in this series. Beyond that, I find that Import-CIVAppTemplate can use a little help in the resiliency department and I’ve created a little wrapper to help it out:

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Announcing VMware Hands-on Labs BackStage Pass Webinars

Webinar Series VMware Hands-on Labs Backstage Pass

Join our Webinar Series VMware Hands-on Labs Backstage Pass

Friends,

We are announcing the VMware Hands-on Labs Backstage Pass Webinars Series.  These sessions are for Administrators, Architects and IT Managers running VMware environments of any size. Our talks are easygoing , focus on technology and provide tips and tricks to help make your life easier.

The VMware Hands-on Labs Backstage Pass Webinars Series will run the first Wednesday of the month 9:00 AM PDT. All sessions will be recorded and posted on our Hands-on Labs blog if you cannot attend session. Please join us as these are a great opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and learn how we use our products to run the VMware Hands-on Labs service.

VMware Hands-on Labs Backstage Pass – Webinar Schedule / Abstracts

March 25, 2014

Session #1  VMware vSphere Operations Management 101 – Online Workshop
In our vSphere with Operations Management 101 online workshop, you will learn first-hand how vCenter Operations Manager can help you manage your vSphere environments. We will walk you through the steps to access the live vCenter Operations labs.  Using the Hands-on Labs online portal you will be able try vCenter Operations Manager and chat with our VMware experts who use this product to monitor the Hands-on Labs infrastructure. Attend this online workshop to see how vCenter Operations Manager provides comprehensive visibility into the health and performance of your vSphere environments, helps you improve the efficiency of your virtual infrastructure, increase your consolidation ratios, and how it provides capacity management with “what if” planning capabilities.

This online workshop is targeted at customers who are running vSphere and who are new to vSphere with Operations Management. Registration is closed thanks for your interest.

April 2, 2014

Session #2Backstage with VMware Hands-on Labs – vPod and Data Sync

In this Session Bill Call and Doug Baer will walk you through an overview of the Hands-on Labs infrastructure, design considerations when creating our vApps (vPods) and how we move them across multiple datacenters around the world.

This technical session is for architects, and administrators running datacenters. The content level is intermediate to advanced. Please plan to attend and be prepared to ask questions at the end of the talk.  We also encourage you to start thinking about joining us for VMworld 2014 in San Francisco or Barcelona and visiting us in the Hands-on Labs room. 30 minute talk /presentation with plenty of room for questions and answers.

Backstage with Bill Call and Doug “Trevor”

PDF and MP3 Recording

May 7th 2014

Session #3Backstage with VMware Hands-on Labs Performance Testing Tuning Hands-on Labs Architecture with @jpschnee and Joeyd.

This session will discuss how we tested and tuned our Datacenters for optimal performance. Josh will discuss the tools he used to test our multiple clouds and Joey will go into details on the infrastructure we have deployed and our planning for VMworld. This is a great session for folks getting ready to roll out their Clouds and a great opportunity to ask questions.

Recording and PDF

Session #4 Backstage with VMware Hands-on Labs Project NEE & OneCloud – Delivering Hand-On Labs at Cloud Scale
Wednesday June 4th 2014
Time: 9:00 AM PDT
Length: 60 minutes
We have had tons of requests for more information on Project NEE and more details on how we run and operation our Hands-on Labs Infrastructure. In this session we will have the guys from the ProjectNEE team and OneCloud walk us through the architecture and go into details on how we manage our infrastructure.
The first part of this session we will cover details on Project NEE. The second part of the session will go into OneCloud – our internal Cloud infrastructure service. The OneCloud team will discuss how they use the vCloud Suite – vCenter Operations Manager, vCenter Log Insight and various tools.  This is a great session for folks interested in learning how we run and operated our infrastructure.
Agenda
– What is ProjectNee
– What is OneCloud
– Solving the Delivery Problem
– Operating Cloud at Scale
– Questions and answers
This meeting will be recording for folks that cannot attend.

Nine New VMware Hands-on Labs – Now Posted Online

Just in time for your Friday morning coffee, we are pleased to announce nine new 2013 VMware Hands-on Labs freshly brewed in the HOL Online portal. The focus today is all about your cloud, how you can automate it and how you can deploy big data applications. Register, sign-in and start taking labs in less than five minutes.

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

Big Data

HOL-SDC-1309 – vSphere Big Data Extensions

Hadoop has emerged as a powerful new technology that provides users with an inexpensive and efficient way of storing and processing large amounts of data. Did you know that through VMware vSphere Big Data Extensions you can run clustered, scale-out Hadoop applications through vSphere, with only a single virtual appliance to install. Yeah, you should definitely check this out.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1309

Cloud Automation

HOL-SDC-1307 – VCLOUD AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS

This lab puts all of your favorites together under one roof. Explore vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), Orchestrator, PowerCLI and AutoDeploy working harmoniously to solve real issues that real architects and admins face. Loaded with hours of content, you will need at least two lab sittings to complete all of the modules.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1307

HOL-SDC-1305 – Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery In Action

VMware offers complete solutions to your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery needs. From Site Recovery Manager to vCenter Heartbeat to vSphere Data Protection to vCenter Heartbeat, this lab has you covered.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1305

vCloud Suite

The vCloud Suite Use Cases labs have been refreshed with new content for VMworld 2013. The labs in the online catalog have now been updated, as well. These six labs highlight practical ways in which the VMware vCloud Suite empowers you to do more with your Hybrid Cloud solution.

HOL-SDC-1313 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Infrastructure Provisioning (IaaS)

See how vCloud Director (vCD) and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) work together to deliver Infrastructure as a Service.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1313

HOL-SDC-1314 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Application Provisioning (PaaS)

The VMware vCloud Suite goes well beyond simple infrastructure delivery. Gain hands-on experience deploying and managing a 3-tier web application with App Director and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC).

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1314

HOL-SDC-1315 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Control & Compliance

How is your posture? This lab will get you straightened out! Control and Compliance can be critical areas of need for today’s IT organizations. Learn the elegant solutions available through the vCloud Suite.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1315

HOL-SDC-1316 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Quality of Service

Do you always keep your promises? With the QoS lab you can learn how the vCloud Suite allows you to identify key metrics and then measure your service quality. Set targets and then deliver. Sounds like a plan!

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1316

HOL-SDC-1317 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Business Critical Applications

How do you ensure that your most critical applications get the high-quality infrastructure that they deserve? Deliver them using vCenter Operations Manager and Hyperic. This lab shows you how.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1317

HOL-SDC-1318 – vCloud Suite Use Cases – Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

Dive deeper into BC/DR use cases and explore vSphere Replication working in tandem with Site Recovery Manager.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1318

The first of the 2013 VMware Hands-on Labs are now online!

Today we are excited to announce that we have released the first four labs from the 2013 Hands-on Labs Content catalog to the HOL Online portal. These four labs were among the most popular at our 10th Annual VMworld US show last week in San Francisco. They demonstrate some of the most talked about new products and features in networking, storage, performance and mobility.

Click on the lab icon or the link below each lab description to enroll and begin your VMware Hands-on Labs Online session. To connect to the HOL Online portal in general, please use http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

HOL-SDC-1302 – VSPHERE DISTRIBUTED SWITCH FROM A TO Z

Explore features of the vSphere Distributed Switch from beginning to advanced perspectives. There are modules that explore QoS and ERSPAN and others that provide a basic introduction to the vSphere Distributed Switch. If you want to explore vSphere networking, this is your lab.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1302

HOL-SDC-1304 – vSphere Performance Optimization

The vSphere Performance lab is a perennial favorite and this year is no exception. There is content for all levels of expertise and multiple tracks through the lab. The optional modules at the end allow you to customize your lab experience around topics of interest to you. Be sure to take the lab more than once so that you can experience all of the modules.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1304

HOL-SDC-1308 – Virtual Storage Solutions

VMware Virtual SAN pools compute and direct-attached storage resources and clusters server disks and flash to create resilient shared storage. This idea is so cool, you just have to see it in action! Get your first taste of this exciting new technology in this Hands-on Lab, then visit vmware.com to sign up for the free beta.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1308

HOL-MBL-1301-AZ – Horizon View from A to Z

VMware Horizon View is changing the way that companies manage their desktop systems. This lab includes a beginning-level guided tour module as well as advanced troubleshooting and optimization content. See what all of the buzz is about and try out Horizon View.

Enroll in HOL-MBL-1301-AZ

Over the next few weeks, we will continue a phased rollout of the 2013 VMware Hands-on Labs. With each release, be sure to take labs that you may have missed at VMworld or something outside of your core competency. We build these labs for you. It is our privilege to present them to you and join in the conversation around VMware products and solutions.

Continue to watch these blog pages for future lab release announcements, follow us on twitter @VMwareHOL and participate in the online community at http://hol.vmware.com/