One of the best parts of my job is talking with IT Professionals / SysAdmins / Students from all over. It doesn’t matter if they are independent IT consultants, staffers / lifers at “company x” or someone just getting started in the IT field – they all at some point ask me about “spinning up a lab” for one thing or another.
That’s when I let them in on a little secret: The Microsoft Virtual Labs Experience.
I use our Virtual Lab Experience when I need to quickly get something up and running. Why?
- It’s a virtualized Sandbox that can be yours to play in for the duration of the lab time – FOR FREE.
- It comes with a pre-defined lab including step by step instructions that allows you to test drive all sorts of Microsoft Technologies and solutions
- Better yet, even though it comes pre-configured – you are NOT RESTRICTED on what you can do within it!
(Yes – I am encouraging you to colour outside the lines)
What can you find in this plethora of sandboxes (as one size does not fit all)? Just over 500+ Hands On labs most providing 2 hours of lab access!!! 60+ labs from TechEd North America 2013 were just posted earlier this week. More RTM updated labs with Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 were recently added as well.
You can mix and match which ones to try, select different technologies or scenarios for whatever tickles your fancy. You can even rate the labs and sort them by most popular or most relevant to your searches. Heck – you can get social and share out what environments you are trying out with your various social networks.
Being that I am very passionate about the Windows Server 2012 R2 stack, here is one more tip. You can get a good “trial” by registering to kick the tires with a simple 4 part series:
- Windows Server 2012 R2 – Configuring and Managing Servers
- Windows Server 2012 R2 – Storage Infrastructure
- Windows Server 2012 R2 – Network Automation using IPAM
- Windows Server 2012 R2 – Exploring Hyper-V Server
Check out the labs and start giving the team your feedback and opinions using the post-lab survey. They are just down the hall, tell them I sent ya.
If you are like me and are curious by nature about how all this back end virtualization works… check out this interview I snagged with Corey Hynes, architect from HOL systems. They are the guys and gals who host this virtual lab experience for us.
They have a very cool Windows Server powered solution that handles all the heavy lifting to get these spun up on demand when you click on “Launch Lab”.