PEX 2014 – Making Plans for Hands on Labs

PEX 2014 - VMware Partner Exchange RegistrationPEX 2014 is actually going to be my first VMware Partner Exchange. Exciting! The full pass is booked and paid for. No turning back now! The early-bird deadline is January 6th, so book now to save some money ($300). This year the boot camps are from Feb 8-10 with the event proper on Feb 10-13. I won’t be making it out to the boot camps, but will be attempting to get on-site as early as possible on the 10th for the Hands on Labs. I seem to remember reading that at VMworld 2013, they had access to the labs for anyone on-site, regardless of access to an actual lab station. Considering that and the success of the internet-facing Hands on Labs, it might not be important to be there at an actual lab station, but it would be nice. I’m not betting on the labs being immediately Internet-facing, but it would be nice to have access in the evenings.

PEX 2014 HoL won't be anything like this chemistry lab
By Kurt Barnett (UNSW Canberra) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Wait, you do know about the Hands on Labs Online, don’t you? It’s a terrific way to get your feet (hands?!) wet with hands-on VMware product experience. There’s a lab manual and a lab environment for you to explore the real product and interface. It’s not a click-through glorified slideshow, either. I don’t know for certain, but I’m assuming they’re using vCloud Automation Center and vCloud Director to spin up on-demand nested instances of the lab environment per-registration. That’s pretty cool tech even before you start messing around in your sandbox with the product or use-case you came to test! Go check it out.

OK, that being said, I’m assuming we’ll see the availability of the “2014 catalog” of new labs (I assume they’re still in the catalog model?). I’m hoping there are new versions of VSAN (I don’t have a lab yet) labs with additional use cases. I’d love to see an expansion of vCHS labs as I haven’t seen any Not For Resale licenses yet (I’d love to hear that I’m wrong about that. Anyone?). A new generation of End User Computing labs would be nice to see. Would love a “Mirage as XP Migration Tool” lab to familiarize people with the use case and the process. Fingers crossed. vSOM/vCOPS (whatever you want to call it) is another product which would be great to have expended scenarios in. How about a lab which had a series of failures present (randomized, possibly) which one used Operations Manager to identify the issues with and remediate? I haven’t taken the time to see what’s in the existing labs covering vCloud Director, but I’d love to spend some time with that as well.

And how about the partner product labs? I need to carve out some time to walk though the Puppet Labs automation, Cisco Nexus 1000V, and Netapp Virtual Storage Console labs. So much great stuff, so few hours in the day. I wonder if PEX 2014 is when additional partners roll out labs at.

Any labs you’d like to see in the future or existing labs you’ve been itching to try?

Are you going to PEX 2014? Any other first timers? Any veteran advice?

Published by


John White is walking the path to virtualization mastery.