Tuesday, October 12, 2010

VMworld 2010 - Hands-on labs, first impressions

There's been a lot of talk about the hands-on labs at this years VMworld. Here in Copenhagen there are around 240 thin clients with each two screens running up against two datacenters in Florida and Virginia with a dedicated 100 Mbit line over the Atlantic. There's also a fail-over possibility to a datacenter in Europe, should an issue occur. The whole solution is based on a number of Lab Manager installations with a custom interface on top of it which has been built for the purpose.
So far, I have taken four labs, and I must admit that I'm impressed. It works so well that you're not even thinking about what is going on under the hood. What you're actually experiencing is that as soon as you're choosing a lab, then almost instantly you have two ESX servers and a number of VMs provisioned for you. A VMware employee told me that part of the custom code is calculating the most popular labs, and then pre-deploying a number of these up front as to reduce waiting time.
Furthermore, the whole user experience is pretty cool. They've made a GUI for choosing the labs, and on flatscreens around in the room you can see statistics such as most popular labs and total number of VMs created and labs completed (see pictures below).

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