Welcome to my virtual world...


The labs that go along with the course material for the VMware ICM class have always been one of the biggest barriers to offering the class.  In the professional classes the service providers "rent" these from providers that have these resources dedicated for the enterprise customer.  However the costs per student is just not possible for the class room setting to follow the same model.  However a few options do exist.
One of the most popular for education is the Netlab environment from NDG. The Netlab environment is a pre-canned environment that can setup very quickly provided you have the Netlab infrastructure.  The labs are provided as part of support contracts from NDG and one of the nicest things is Netlab also provides the lab manual for the environment which means if you wanted the manuals from Gilmore would not be required.

The Netlab environment for the instructor is the ideal situation as it involves the least amount of setup for the teacher and tends to "just work".  Of course the downside is the cost of the servers, infrastructure and licensing for NDG.

Another option is to host the labs locally using VMware Workstation or local hardware.  Using hardware would involve at least four dedicated machines per student which in most environments is just not feasible.  However it is possible to simulate it all in VMware Workstation running on Windows or Mac.  Today that is what we do at Milwaukee Area Technical College.  While we have Netlab the infrastructure needed for the VMware classes would of prevented us from using Netlab for a host of other classes.  

MATC created the labs based on the VMware lab book inside of VMware workstation allowing them to run on any Windows desktop with 12GB of memory.  The labs contained snapshots at the start of each lab allowing students to start fresh each week and as a bonus they are portable allowing students to work on them at home if they have the proper hardware.  In fact we rewrote the labs from VMware to specifically focus on using workstation.  Now this was not an easy process and took about 80 hours to complete both the labs and documentation.  

Both Netlab and using VMware Workstation has plus and minus the final outcome will depend on how much time and resources that you have to invest in the setup.  At this time we (Milwaukee Area Technical College) or VMware offers a place where you can download the labs to run inside VMware workstation.  The only option for a all in one download is NDG.

If you do want to use VMware Workstation many of the products can be downloaded from Onthehub.com which provides both VMware Workstation and various VMware professional software to students and instructors for free.