July 26, 2017

VMblog Q&A with VMware: #VMworld 2017 Hands-On Labs - What to Expect and More

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The world's largest virtualization event, VMworld, is right around the corner, taking place August 27-31, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center.  The event is always jam packed with information from the keynotes, to the sessions, to the expo hall which is filled with vendors and solution experts.  But, every year, one of the event's fan favorites is the VMworld Hands-On Labs.  

To find out more ahead of the show, I had the opportunity and pleasure to speak with Pablo Roesch, Director of Technical Marketing for VMware Hands-on Labs at VMware.

VMblog:  What inspired this year's "I AM..." theme for VMworld 2017?  What does it mean to VMware? 

Pablo Roesch:  The "I Am..." concept celebrates VMworld attendees as the heroes of the IT ecosystem, giving voice to their sense of empowerment inspired by a "culture of possibility."

VMblog:  Can you give a brief overview of what Hands-on Labs is and what purpose it serves?  

Roesch:  The VMware Hands-on Labs enables users to quickly preview new products and features from a live cloud based environment. Users do not need hardware or licenses to evaluate our products. The Hands-on Labs at VMworld complement more than 600 sessions, panel discussions, and expert roundtables, offering a comprehensive educational experience.

VMblog:  What gets attendees so excited about Hands-on Labs each year?

Roesch:  This year we have more than 85 new labs covering the complete VM product catalog, including product versions newly released at VMworld. We will feature Hybrid Cloud labs that allow users to interact with our third-party services such as AWS.

VMblog:  What is Hands-On Lab Connect?

Roesch:  The Hands-on Labs Connect area is the nerve center of the Hands-on Labs room. From Hands-on Labs Connect, attendees can check in to the self-paced labs, chat with other attendees about their lab experience, participate in "pop-up" discussions around interesting topics, stay engaged while waiting for their Expert-led Workshop to start or take a lab on their own laptop device.

VMblog:  What are some of the Hands-on Labs that will be offered this year? 

Roesch:  We have exciting new Hands-on Labs showing users how our AWS integration works. One example is the VMware NSXaaS - Secure Native Workloads in AWS lab that will walk users through the NSX / AWS integration using actual AWS capacity. We also have the VMware Cloud on AWS - Getting Started lab, an introduction level lab that gives users a view into the key features of new services available in the near future. 

VMblog:  What is new and exciting about Hands-on Labs at the show?

Roesch:  We are excited to show attendees Hands-on Labs running across multiple clouds: our Private Cloud (run and operated by VMware IT) and our IBM Cloud we use to achieve scale. We will be debuting the VMware Cloud on AWS and showing these capabilities at our Hands-on Labs Command Center Wall. If you are planning to attend, please book a Hands-on Lab Tour for a closer look. Contact your VMware Business Partner to schedule an appointment for the VMworld Hands-on Labs Tour. For customers or partners that do not have a VMware Business manager, just come to the Hands-on Labs Tour Check In Desk and sign up for a tour on site. The tours at VMworld Hands-on Labs are a great way to get a closer look behind the scenes and cover both the business and technical side of the Hands-on Labs.

VMblog:  How do Hands-on Labs improve the attendee experience at VMworld?

Roesch:  Hands-on Labs complement the varied and comprehensive learning opportunities at VMworld. Labs spark interesting conversation and creative solution making in a collaborative, active environment. Always a popular element of VMworld, Hands-On Labs fill the needs of attendees wanting to experience VMware products "hands-on" in either a self-paced or instructor-led format.

VMblog:  Which VMware experts can attendees look forward to working with at the Hands-on Labs?

Roesch:  We have more than 250 Product Engineers staffing Hands-on Labs this year. Many of these engineers are the actual authors of the Labs. This is a great opportunity for attendees to have an informal discussion about any VMware product with any of our experts.

VMblog:  In what ways are Hands-on Labs customizable to match attendees' interests and experience level?

Roesch:  Based on previous attendee feedback, we design our content for all types of attendees, product interests and experience levels. For users that are new to VMware, we have "Getting Started" labs. For those who are familiar with our products, we have "Advanced" labs. "Challenge Labs" are designed to test attendee knowledge on common problems that VMware users encounter. All labs are presented with the hope that attendees can share the knowledge or recommend the lab to a colleague.

VMblog:  How can attendees take what they've learned at Hands-on Labs and use that experience in their personal workspaces?

Roesch:  Attendees will walk away from the Hands-on Labs room feeling confident about a solution they are evaluating and be able share their learnings with their colleagues and leadership teams. After VMworld Europe, taking place September 11-14, 2017 in Barcelona, we make all of our labs available to the public via vmware.com. We localize them into popular languages like Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Traditional Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese. And one more tip - users will be able to email their transcripts to themselves so they can share their Hands-on Labs success with their management teams.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you at the show.

Last modified on July 26, 2017
David Marshall

David Marshall has been involved in the technology industry for over 19 years, and he's been working with virtualization software since 1999. He was able to become an industry expert in virtualization by becoming a pioneer in that field - one of the few people in the industry allowed to work with Alpha stage server virtualization software from industry leaders: VMware (ESX Server), Connectix and Microsoft (Virtual Server).

Through the years, he has invented, marketed and helped launch a number of successful virtualization software companies and products. David holds a BS degree in Finance, an Information Technology Certification, and a number of vendor certifications from Microsoft, CompTia and others. He's also co-authored two published books: "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" and "Advanced Server Virtualization: VMware and Microsoft Platforms in the Virtual Data Center" and acted as technical editor for two popular Virtualization "For Dummies" books. With his remaining spare time, David founded and operates one of the oldest independent virtualization news blogs, VMblog.com. And co-founded CloudCow.com, a publication dedicated to Cloud Computing. Starting in 2009 and continuing all the way to 2016, David has been honored with the vExpert distinction by VMware for his virtualization evangelism.

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