No more excuses guys! You will never be able to say again „I’d like to check out vSphere new features and prepare for an exam but I have no test environment” or „It’s too much burden to set up a lab”. VMware has recently announced Hands-On Labs available online and I have just received an email confirming my enrollment into the public beta. So let’s login and check it out.
The labs are divided into three sections: Cloud Infrastructure (vCloud Suite), Cloud Operations (Operations, Automation and Orchestrations) and End-User Computing. There are several labs in each category and no doubts there will be new ones coming soon. Let’s choose Auto Deploy lab and enroll and then let’s start the lab.
At the beginning of the lab we will see detailed instructions, necessary and helpful documentations, environment diagrams and other information useful not only when doing the lab but also for learning the topic.
On the left side there is a dock with the consoles, on the right – the manual with lab instructions, etc. The buttons to reset, power off, insert ctrl-alt-del combination, etc. are in the bottom next to the username information and remaining time.
Within the duration of the lab you can close the browser and resume the lab. When you end the lab, the server is powered off, but all your saved work will wait for you and the time is paused till you resume the lab.
It is really surprising how smooth the labs go. There is almost no lag. Maybe it is due to the fact that it is still beta with few people using it, I don’t know.
There’s really no much more to say about the HOL. Just login and try yourself. I will be definitely busy with the labs for the next few days. Can the HOL really replace the lab? I don’t think so, there is nothing like setting up everything from the beginning by yourself, breaking at and fixing it again. Only a real lab or test environment will allow such flexibility. What HOL can do however is to let you deepen your knowledge in certain areas without the need to set up all to play with a certain topic. To sum up: great job VMware!