IT Thought Leadership

VMworld 2019 US Hands-on Labs—Breaking New Records While Delivering Seamless Experiences

by: VMware Senior Site Reliability Engineer Brandon Bazan and VMware Cloud Architect Lyubomir Lyubenov

This year at VMworld 2019 US, our Hands-on Labs (HOLs) were more popular than ever. Attendees were able to test drive full working versions of VMware technologies without having to purchase equipment, software, or licenses.

More than 14,000 labs were delivered in five days, a 22% increase over 2018. In addition, 127,000 virtual machines (VMs), 17,000+ VMware NSX® networks, and ~9 PB in VMware vSAN® storage were provisioned. The products used to deliver this capacity included VMware ESXi™, VMware vCenter®, NSX, VMware vCloud Director®, vSAN, and VMware Cloud Foundation™.

All these accomplishments were possible due to:

  • A scalable hybrid cloud infrastructure
  • A highly resilient and highly available solution
  • The ability to monitor the infrastructure using existing VMware tools

Showcasing our VMware solutions

We were able to showcase how we utilized multiple clouds—including two public (VMware Cloud™ on AWS, IBM Cloud) and three private (located in geo-dispersed data centers) clouds—to align and execute on our hybrid cloud strategy. All clouds were utilized in active/active mode. We seamlessly delivered labs from all clouds at the same time, which meant that one participant could take a lab from the VMware Cloud on AWS  while another from VMware’s private cloud, with both having the same user experience.

VMware vRealize® Operations™ allowed us to quickly see various allocations being used and any potential bottlenecks in lab deployments. vRealize Network Insight was employed to monitor our network traffic and quickly restore service in the event of network issues. We sent logs to VMware vRealize® Log Insight™ from all of our infrastructure, and that provided a single point for troubleshooting and reviewing logs historically—an especially important benefit as localized logs on any given machine rotate quickly. Finally, workload spikes were easily handled with a few simple clicks, and there was never any need to invest in any excess (and expensive) capacity.

The VMware Learning Platform™ (VLP) was employed for the 6th consecutive year during VMworld and instrumental in the success of the HOLs. VLP provides the front-end interface and automation to allow hands-off delivery of both small- and large-scale HOL deployments.  Innovative technologies built into VLP like “prepops” enable users to almost instantaneously access to their lab environment upon sitting down.  And for the first time ever, VLP is available as a commercial service for VMware customers to deliver their own Hands-on Labs or instructor-led training environments.

Heavy traffic (that always kept moving)

When it came to conference traffic, we achieved several milestones this year.

Peak network traffic was ~3 Gbps for duration of the event, and total traffic was 32.5 TB. The total traffic for the HOL thin clients (lab stations in rooms) was ~1,300 GB. And the HOL bring-your-own-device (BYOD) WiFi access total traffic was 455 GB, encompassing a total of 665 unique devices.

Here are the most popular labs and the number of participants during the event.

Top 10 labs from VMworld 2019 US

VMware on VMware blogs are written by IT subject matter experts sharing stories about our digital transformation using VMware products and services in a global production environment. Contact your sales rep or to schedule a briefing on this topic. Visit the VMware on VMware microsite and follow us on Twitter.   


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