In 2013 we introduced VMware NSX Hands-on-Labs for the first time. The NSX 1303 Hands-on-lab has been by far one of the most popular labs, giving you an in-depth view of VMware NSX. Hands-on-labs are one of the best ways to get a good tour of the product. You can take all of these labs online at http://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/ . It requires a registration, but is open to everyone. .
This year at VMworld we introduced several new NSX labs to give you a deeper look at NSX, and to showcase the depth of integration NSX provides with 3rd party partners and other VMware products. All of the new 2014 Hands-on-labs have been published and are available to you. Here is a quick tour of the labs and what you can expect to see.
If you are just getting started with NSX and want to know what Network Virtualization is all about, we recommend you start here.
This lab will walk you through five modules of exercises:
- NSX Components – Host Preparation, Controller deployment
- NSX Logical Switching – building VXLAN logical switches
- NSX Logical Routing – Distributed Routing, Dynamic Routing with OSPF
- NSX Distributed Firewall – Micro-segmentation with NSX
- NSX Edge Services – Load-balancing, SSL VPN
Once you have completed the introductory lab, we recommend taking the advanced lab which is designed to showcase some of the new features in NSX 6.1. You can read and excellent summary of these new capabilities in Chris Wahl’s blog, “NSX 6.1 Announced, Contains Plethora of Enhancements.”
This lab covers the following areas:
- Configuring DHCP Relay so that you can use NSX with external IPAM Services
- Scaling out Layer 3 routing with Equal Cost Multi-Pathing (ECMP) and Dynamic Routing Protocols. Yes we actually build out the topology below in the lab! That’s the power of network virtualization.
- Building out L2VPN services for multi-site and hybrid cloud connectivity services
- Integration with 3rd parties using Service Composer and Trend Micro AV & IPS with NSX. You will see how to register services and how NSX is a platform to integrate with 3rd party services in this exercise.
- Networking Monitoring with NSX & Riverbed Cascade – we will even show you how you can monitor with NetFlow in this exercise
The two labs above will surely give you a good view of NSX as a network virtualization platform. Next, let’s see how NSX integrates with other VMware products to build out a complete Software-Defined Data Center. This lab shows the integration capabilities offered by NSX with VMware management solutions.
First up, we will learn about Self-service IT, and how you can deliver applications quickly to your end-users with the integration of vCloud Automation Center and NSX. You will build out a multi-machine blueprint with networking and security, and then deploy it.
Next, if you want to learn about automation and the NSX API, we will walk you through exercises in using vCenter Orchestrator and using the NSX REST API to create a security group. This will give you the fundamentals of NSX automation which you can easily extend upon as you deploy NSX in your own environment.
The third exercise is about operations. We will show you the new NSX Management Pack in vCenter Operations. We will walk you through the dashboards and you will learn how you can actually not just monitor but also troubleshoot you network.
At this point you are surely on your way to become a NSX Ninja
If you want to use OpenStack with NSX and vSphere – we’ve got you covered too! We will walk you through OpenStack on vSphere itself and then show you how to connect it to deploy networks with NSX from OpenStack.
And Of Course There Are More
Those are the main labs I would recommend, but there are others too. There’s a lab where you can learn more about the IT Outcome of Fast Infrastructure Delivery and Application Automation (HOL-SDC-1413) which has some NSX goodness with vCloud Automation Center, or learn about the IT Outcome of Policy-based Compliance and Network Security (HOL-SDC-1414).
If you want to learn about NSX and the partner integration framework you can take HOL-PRT-1462 which will walk you through the NSX and Palo Alto Networks next-gen firewall integration labs and HOL-PRT-1464 which is focused on how you can use NSX Service Composer and Symantec Data Center Security: Server.
In all we have well over 24 hours of labs, and you can sign-up even if you did not go to VMworld. It is always available 24/7, so if you have a few spare hours and want to learn about NSX you can take the lab.
And I will let you in on a little secret. We actually run the labs on NSX. So as you learn, you are also a user of NSX!!!
You can always sign-up for a NSX class offered by VMware Education.