If you’re getting to the point where the training capacity in your datacenter is insufficient, or on the contrary – you find that there is severe under-utilization of hardware that’s just lying there – you might consider a different option: migrating virtual training environments from VMware to AWS. By doing so you will increase your training infrastructure efficiency, you will not waste capacity, and you will gain other benefits – like geographical flexibility, fast environment provisioning, cloud economics, and more.
A productive training process is key to the success of new products (from internal training to channel partners and customers). Since ILT also involves a substantial investment, it isn’t surprising that more and more training organizations are seeking to understand instructor led training best practices – essentially – what they can do to maximize the effectiveness of their training sessions. At Ravello we believe that the essentials are: easily provisioned and deployed isolated full-featured product environments for each student anywhere and anytime, where the instructor and student can collaborate.
Virtual training infrastructure is essential for ISVs, for training providers and for enterprises. It is key that this infrastructure will support the nature of the training use case – hands on labs for each student should be easily configured, identical and isolated instances; you should have the ability to spin them up in any geography, and then quickly and easily tear them down. This post demonstrates how three different companies are using Ravello as their virtual training infrastructure to run ILT classes, self-paced trainings and more.
This blog focuses on Win7 on AWS but note that you can also run WinXP, Windows 8, Windows 10 etc by following similar steps.
If you have Active Directory in your environment and you’re looking for cloud options, or as you’re thinking about how you want to structure your client testing lab, you will most likely need Windows machines for your labs. Here’s a simple how-to guide to run Windows 7 on AWS EC2 very quickly, for any Windows use case. Follow this guide to install Windows 7 from ISO, install VMware tools, and you’re good to go.
One of the biggest and clearest advantages public cloud computing has over traditional data centers is the cost – with the cloud pricing model Capex becomes Opex, and with a quick use of all the provided calculators – you know exactly what you’re going to pay. No negotiation, “Plug and play”. With it’s own vCloud Air pricing calculator – does VMware-gone-on-demand also fit the description?
Ravello’s nested ESXi offering has been out for quite some time. With more and more users and use cases, and advanced setups created on a regular basis – we wanted to make sure you know where to find guides and tools to help you quickly run your VMware vSphere/ESXi lab on Ravello.
The last time I started learning what VMware was all about, I stopped at the high-level theoretical overview of the availability, scalability, management and optimization challenges that VMware technologies help organizations overcome. Having no physical servers at my disposal, the first time I went through the long list of VMware technologies vMotion, High Availability, vFlash and all the others – I didn’t do anything. This time, however, I used my ESXi lab set up on Ravello to try to get something done. The result: I migrated a VM using vMotion from one ESXi host to another.
To make the set-up, administration and delivery of classroom training, instructor-led training and self-paced training sessions, Ravello created an easily configurable training portal. The training portal is the hub for setting up and administering as many courses and specific instances of these courses as required, by accessing pre-created application blueprints, and providing each student an isolated environment of the relevant applications. In this post I will quickly go through the steps for creating and delivering training using Ravello.
There are many great guides out there to study for the the VCA and VCP exam, but many of us don’t have access to a proper lab setup to train on. Especially now with VCP6, often times it’s tough to meet the vSphere 6 requirements in the home lab. I’m not as far along in the certification process just yet, but I already have my own ESXi lab. Instead of purchasing hardware or using a hosting provider, I used set up my ESXi lab on AWS. I put together this quick outline hoping to help fellow exam takers.
In a world of customized and tailored training solutions, you might wonder what is the benefit of the notion of standardized training environments. However, central training organizations are well aware of the frustrations, challenges and resource requirements that can be avoided by controlling templates, updating them in a centralized way, and provisioning high-quality “blueprints” that trainers can deliver throughout enterprises. In this blog I will show how this quality through standardization can be achieved, without losing the customizability that is indeed sometimes necessary, using Ravello’s virtual training smart lab features for your software training platform.
NetScaler has a large ecosystem comprising of developers, test engineers, trainers, sales engineers, channel partners, resellers, and of course, enterprise customers. All of these players and use cases have one important element in common: they all require fully featured and complete multi-VM environments that are truly representative of a data-center NetScaler environment (be it for training, for sales demos and PoCs, for upgrade testing, etc.). This post is meant to help the ecosystem learn about the best answer to this need and run the VMware/KVM NetScaler VPX on AWS or Google Cloud.
Don’t depend on FedEx: dramatically decrease costs of your hands-on lab sessions and avoid capacity planning for your user conferences and channel partner events
Setting up a smooth and successful channel partner or user conference presents significant infrastructure challenges to ISVs – capacity planning, costly hardware shipments, provisioning enough environments in advance while encouraging attendance. This post presents a cloud-based alternative which allows the ISVs to run VMware/KVM based environments on AWS or Google while saving 60% of the cost of shipping hardware.
The Smarter Way to Use the Cloud: Run VMware-based applications with complex networking on AWS or Google Cloud unmodified on-demand
ISVs and enterprises know the benefits of using the public cloud. If creating an exact copy of their data center application (a VMware or KVM-based multi-VM application with complex networking) and deploying it in AWS or Google Cloud wasn’t the immense challenge that it is, the upside would be huge. Ravello enables these organizations do just that – without conversions or cloud migrations, Ravello’s HVX encapsulates applications complete with complex networking. Powered by nested virtualization and software defined networking, these workloads can run unmodified in the public cloud.
The curious case of cloud-based sales demo labs – dramatically decreasing cost and increasing utilization
For software vendors running smooth and top quality sales demos is essential for successful business. Thus, the sales demo lab is critical for these enterprises. However, the economics around demo environments are problematic:
- Varied demand in lulls and peaks of the new release cycles leads to a requirement for specific but quickly adaptable capacity for the lab.
- The limited business operation hours, almost by definition, mean severe under-utilization of datacenter-based sales demo environments.
Running the software demo lab in the public cloud helps ISVs overcome these challenges.
Sales demos and PoCs are a crucial part of successful software sales cycles. The ability to provide complete demos and to give the potential customer a top-quality experience is essential and a key factor in the buying decision. Constraints like hardware dependency, geographic distance from the customer location and inconsistent demo environments can seriously jeopardize the sale process. Running the sales demo and PoC lab in the public cloud can help software vendors overcome all of these challenges, and thus to accelerate the sales cycle and lead to many more successful transactions. For instance F5, Juniper, Check Point are all vendors with VMware virtual appliances who need multi-node environments for their sales demos. A Smart Lab can significantly accelerate their sales process.
The curious case of cloud-based virtual training – increasing utilization and decreasing cost per training environment
Most major independent software vendors (ISVs) and other enterprises that develop and produce software, security appliances, networking appliances etc. provide their corporate customers trainings on their products, on new releases, specific features, etc.. These enterprises often hold classroom trainings, or instructor led training sessions, where a fixed number of pre-provisioned environments in the datacenter can be used to train up to that number of students in each training session. This post shows how training managers can overcome under-utilization in slow times, excess demand in peaks and avoid provisioning each and every environment for each session. Training managers can in fact reach maximum utilization and provide as many training environments as required to meet the variable demand for training by using Ravello to run training environments in AWS or Google, while only provisioning the environment once.
The curious case of cloud-based development and testing for VMware environments – a 75% cost reduction
Most enterprises have teams of developers and test engineers working on building new applications and adding features to existing applications that run in the enterprise data center or a dedicated colocation facility (usually on virtualized infrastructure like VMware). In order for these teams to work on their projects, they need several pre-production environments (development and test environments). This post outlines how enterprises can save anywhere from 30%-75% (see table 1) on the cost of these development and test environments by using Ravello to run their existing VMware based applications in AWS or Google (without modifications to the VMs) compared to hosting it in a dedicated colocation facility.
Summary: This post will focus on getting my VMware based application to run on AWS with Ravello. In my last post in the VCA-DCV certification series, if you remember, I stopped my exercise when I had two Ubuntu VMs running in Ravello’s ESXi and was starting to set up an application to run on them. This is how it turned out.
This post will focus on my hands-on experience with vSphere, taking my VMware VMs (I created on our Ravello’s ESXi) and eventually deploying them on AWS EC2 (as you might remember from my last post in the VCA-DCV certification series, I didn’t get as much hands-on experience as I would have liked, and the whole thing seemed a little amorphic at the time).
I work at Ravello Systems. Understanding data center virtualization is non-negotiable. I get virtualization. I get the Cloud. It’s all good. But then again, I work at Ravello Systems. Most of the people I work with talk about nested virtualization on nested virtualization and then nest it again (I think). They’re running OpenStack/KVM on top of Ravello on AWS. I get virtualization. But it’s time to get serious.