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VMware Hands-on Labs Releases and Naming

Hello and welcome to 2016! We have seen quite a few questions from people having trouble finding our older labs, so I wanted to take a few minutes and explain the VMware Hands-on Labs release and naming conventions.

Our major release of labs occurs annually at the VMworld conferences, but, depending on product release schedules and resource availability, some labs will be refreshed in the April/May timeframe. Continue reading

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.

What’s New with EUC Labs!

The following labs are now available for everyone to use in our EUCSOLUTIONS Hands On Lab tenant.

These labs are now publicly available to all customers and partners to get familiar with the lab and products, as well as use for demoing with your customers….as you are free to use these for public demonstrations.

What is in these labs?

F5 BIG-IP/VMW EUC Integration (HOL-MBL-1459)

  1. Intelligent Availability and Traffic Management with F5 BIG-IP
  2. F5 BIG-IP Virtual Edition Deployment with vSphere
  3. Basic Setup and Configuration of the F5 BIG-IP Virtual Edition
  4. Uploading Certificates and iApps to the BIG-IP
  5. Load Balancing Security Servers for External Horizon Clients Implementing PCoIP Proxy as a Security Server Alternative

VMware User Environment Manager (EUC-MBL-1560)

  1. Introduction and Installation of VMware User Environment Manager
  2. Dynamically Managing Settings within the User Environment Manager
  3. Application Configurations

VMware Horizon FLEX (EUC-MBL-1561)

  1. Introduction to VMware Horizon FLEX
  2. Mobile Users and Remotely Managed Desktops with BYO
  3. Contractors, Temporary Workers, and BYO
  4. Building a Custom VMware Horizon FLEX VM

How to Access:

  1. Simply go to the EUC SOLUTIONS tenant on the VMware Hands On Labs portal by using the short-link http://vmware.com/go/EUClabs.
  2. Login using your email address and password.
    NOTE: If you forgot your password, simply click the FORGOT PASSWORD link. If you DO NOT have a login, you must self register by clicking on the REGISTER link on the login popup.
  3. Once logged in, browse to the All Labs catalog on the top-left.
  4. Select the lab you wish by clicking the ENROLL button.
  5. Click START THIS LAB to start taking the lab.

Thanks:

I would like to thank the many VMware folks who spent time assistance with building, troubleshooting, providing content, and reviewing these Hands On Labs as well as Justin Venezia and Paul Pindell from F5 for their support in the F5 lab.

Hands-on Labs: Where are the Installation Labs?

Our goal is to build labs that are useful to you, our customer. To be honest, our secret evil plan is to get you to buy our products… but don’t tell anyone. Now, it would be really nice if we could put everything you might need into each lab and allow you to do anything you want inside the environment. Unfortunately, there are some limits to what we can offer while continuing to provide a consistent and positive experience.

As an example of one of these limitations, we do not currently offer installation labs via our online portal or at VMworld. These are labs that would contain the installation media and bare infrastructure components. We receive several requests for this kind of thing via our surveys, and I wanted to address these with a little behind-the-scenes information. Part of the challenge is that these kinds labs create a lot of stress on the back end that causes everything to slow down.

Continue reading

Happy New Year – Hands on Labs at Partner Exchange 2013

Join us VMware Partner Exchange 2013

Folks,

We survived the holiday break and have been getting ready for Hands on Labs at Partner Exchange Las Vegas. We will have a massive 10,000 S/F room dedicated to all things Hands on Labs and invite you to attend.

Top Reasons to Attend Hands on Labs at Partner Exchange:

  • Over 30 Hands on Labs developed by our Product Experts
  • Labs covering topics in Infrastructure, End User Computing, Operations, and Partner created Labs
  • Get hands on experience with new products such as vSphere 5.1 features, vCloud Suite, vCenter Operations.
  • We will have over 60 Product Experts on the floor ready and happy to answer any questions and make sure you have a superb lab experience
  • Network with your peers, ask questions, get answers at our expert bars

Looking forward to seeing you at Partner Exchange Las Vegas 2013

 Register for Partner Exchange Now

VMware HOL Online – Public Beta Registration is now Open!

To all fans of the VMware Hands-on Labs-

At VMworld 2012 we announced that the Hands-on Labs experience will soon be available online. Today we are taking the first step toward making this a reality. I am excited to let you know that registration is now open and you may add your name to the interest list here:

VMware Hands-on Labs – Public Beta Interest List

This interest list will help us to anticipate demand for the new HOL Online portal so that we can provide you with a consistent, high quality user experience. When the public beta opens, we will begin to add users from the interest list. We are counting on you to take lots of labs, exercise the portal interface and provide quality feedback.

After registering on the interest list, be sure to participate in the HOL Communities site at http://www.vmware.com/go/hol and follow us on twitter @VMwareHOL.

Looking forward to labs in the cloud!

Andrew Hald
@vmxl