Since the start of 2012 I’ve been working on a big community project. The project is the AutoLab and it is a tool to make it easy to build a vSphere lab environment for learning and testing. The lab runs a VMs on your existing laptop or desktop under VMware Workstation, Fusion or ESXi and the magic is in the automation of the parts.
The project lives at www.labguides.com where you can download the pre-built (mostly empty shell) VMs and the deployment guide that will help you with the initial setup.
Being a freely distributed download it doesn’t contain any licensed software, you need to bring your own vSphere and Windows installers.
I’m very proud of the AutoLab and even more proud of the community that is contributing back into the project. Particularly the ongoing help of my vBrownBag brother Damian Karlson. The vCloud and vSphere 5.1 builds were done by people who use the AutoLab and increasing portions of the documentation are being produced or polished by community members.
The AutoLab has helped many people achieve VCP and VCAP-DCA certifications, since hands on experience is so important to learning. I am surprised by the uptake, one of the interesting measures is the number of hits on the web site, over ten thousand in January 2013 alone. There have also been AutoLab presentations at a dozen VMUG meetings around the world and at VMworld in the vBrownBag community TechTalks.