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Curated Article

Why I Have 12 Virtual Labs

By Eric Wright @DiscoPosse

12 Labs. Yes, that is 12 (twelve) as in 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11…12 labs. Why would someone have 12 labs you may ask? Well, this is a great question. In fact, if I really did subdivide by guest platform, there are much more, but for all intents and purposes, each lab is a different hosting environment for testing resources.

Update: I actually did exclude Microsoft Azure. Had an inexplicable loss of account there. Long story. That’s another post unto itself ;)

What do I mean by  virtual lab?

These are nested virtualization labs that run a variety of different products, servers, hypervisors, and can be comprised of many different components all the way from something as simple as a virtual Windows desktop for using Microsoft Office, right up to running a cross-boundary OpenDaylight implementation, and everything in between.

The virtual lab resources can also range from ongoing, long-term resources to one-and-done deployments just to do a quick install test or shorter term proof-of-concept tests. There really is no set of rules about what it is that you can use your virtual lab resources for.

Where are my virtual labs?

Ok, hold on for the list. I actually have two more locations pending, but those are also special projects and have to stay under wraps for a bit longer ;)

  1. Mac Mini (permanent home lab)
  2. VMware Workstation on Windows (lab on the go)
  3. VMware Fusion on OSX (light use lab)
  4. Vagrant/VirtualBox on Windows
  5. Vagrant/VirtualBox on OSX
  6. AWS
  7. Digital Ocean
  8. vCHS
  10. Office isolated lab
  11. Office vCloud lab
  12. VMware Hands-on-Labs

Rather than having one large lab, my tactic has been to have more lab locations that are stored in different locations.

Why so many labs?

I sum up what labs are for as having three specific use-cases:

  1. Trying new things
  2. Learning more about new things
  3. Testing new things on existing things

It really is just that simple if you break it down. There are some labs that are used for doing product specific testing inside applications. I also test hypervisor features, high-availability options, cross-platform deployments, automation and orchestration.

How do you use all these labs?

Great question! And I’ll answer it with a very simple answer: WIP(3)

Find out what Eric means by WIP(3) by reading the rest: