VMworld 2014 Preview: Hands-on Labs

Hands-on Labs are a staple at VMworld. They offer customers access to curated experiences for VMware, and VMware partner, solutions in a working environment. It’s not demo wizardry, you actually touch and interact with the real products, in an actual environment spun up just for you. That’s right, each environment is created¬†on demand, thanks to all the hard work and effort that has gone into VMware’s Project NEE initiative.

About 4,000 people sat for the labs at last year’s VMworld US. The goal of the Hands-On Lab team this year is to double that number. They’re employing a few interesting tactics in pursuit of that goal, including teaming up with CloudCred to award lab goers. There are also Expert Lead Workshops where learners are guided through various labs. These sessions are extremely popular and filled up right away, however there’s always a chance you may be able to fill a last-minute vacancy.

Use HOL to Boost your Cloud Cred

New this year is collaboration with Cloud Credibility, where you can earn points and prizes for participating in the Hands-on Labs. Upon lab completion you will be presented with a code for that lab. Use the QR code on the screen to go directly to the CloudCred task to enter the code and claim your points. Prizes will be awarded based on points earned, as well as randomly throughout the conference. For more information check out the VMware HOL Blog.

Lightning Labs

While Lightning Labs have been around for several VMworlds now, my impression is that they’re not well-known. A Lightning Lab is a 15-30 minute segment from a more comprehensive lab. This allows you to get a taste of a full lab, as well as provides flexibility for your schedule. If you don’t feel you have time for a full lab, or you haven’t experience HOL yet and you just want a taste, the Lightning Labs are an excellent option.

The Hands-On Lab Guide

Last, but not least, the VMworld Hands-on Labs team have put together the Hands-on Lab Guide. This PDF file lists and describes all the labs available this year, including which components are available as a Lightning Lab as well as the complexity level and breadth of the lab.

It’s expected that these labs will be available to take online soon after VMworld, and for some that means they prioritize other schedule items. I think it’s worthwhile to make it down to the HOL space and at least try out a Lightning Lab. There’s no other experience like it!

Featured image photo by Lauren Manning

Dee Abson

Dee Abson is a technical architect from Alberta, Canada. He's been working in the field of technology for over 20 years and specializes in server and virtualization infrastructure. Working with VMware products since ESX 2, he holds several VMware certifications. He is a 9x VMware vExpert. You can find him on Twitter and Mastodon.

2 Responses

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