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VMware vSphere 5 Lab Guide and Practice Labs

VMware vSphere 5.x Self Study Lab RentalsWe've put together a complete remote lab solution for people who want to learn how to install, configure and use VMware vSphere 5x. Our solution includes the rental of 2 physical enterprise class PC servers for up to 7 days and a 250 page Lab Guide that takes you through vSphere 5 including ESXi 5 and vCenter 5 from beginning to end.

Your remote lab servers are Enterprise class PC servers which include:

  • 2 physical HP DL360/365 servers with 8GB of RAM, local storage 3 or 4 NICs, remote management, a quad core CPU and more
  • An iSCSI SAN with dedicated SAN LUNs for your use
  • An NFS / NAS share with all of the install media you need to get run through all of the labs
  • Remote access using Microsoft Terminal Services, available from any location
  • Our Lab Guide with 220 pages of step-by-step instructions on how to install, configure and use ESXi, vCenter and all of its major components

The real jewel of our solution is the included vSphere 5 Lab Guide. This guide helps you through installing, configuring and using all major features of ESXi and vCenter including labs on Converter (physical to virtual migration) and Update Manager (patching and updating) and much more. To maximize your learning experience, your lab is delivered to you an a pristine, ready to start, powered off state.

Your task will be to connect to our lab servers (we tell you how), power them on, install ESXi, install vCenter and configure/use these products while learning best practices as you go. Our Lab Guide contains detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to complete every task. When you are done, you will have completed labs on all major components of vSphere. To see a sample of our Lab Guide, please visit: www.esxlab.com/pdfs/v5sample.pdf


Our price for this service is $250USD. We accept Visa / MasterCard (sorry no American Express) and PayPal. If you are interested in booking time on our servers, please contact us.

Lab Guide Contents

With the help of our remote labs and Lab Guide, you will perform all of the following labs:

Lab 1. Connect to our Remote Lab Environment

  • Use MS Terminal Services to connect to your remote Windows access server

Lab 2. Install ESXi

  • Power on your PC servers
  • Boot the ESXi installer
  • Partition/format your local storage
  • Perform an initial install of ESXi
  • Perform post-install configurations
  • Install the vSphere Client
  • Finalize your install of ESXi using the vSphere client

Lab 3. Work with Standard Virtual Switches (vSS)

  • Add a second vSwitch
  • Create an Internal only vSwitch (no NIC)
  • Create a new Port Group on vSwitch0
  • Add a VMkernel port for VMotion

Lab 4. Connect to and Browse NAS / NFS Shares

  • Add a VMkernel port to vSwitch0
  • Define and connect to an NFS share
  • Browse the NFS datastore

Lab 5. Virtual Machines

  • Create a new Virtual Machine
  • Install Windows 2003 into the VM
  • Install VMware Tools into the VM
  • Customize the VM with additional 3rd party tools
  • Manually remove and then re-add a VM to your ESXi hosts' inventory

Lab 6. Install, Configure vCenter

  • Install vCenter Server onto a dedicated Windows server
  • Included will be Microsoft's free SQL Express 2008
  • Log into vCenter with the vSphere Client

Lab 7.1. Working with Clones and Templates

  • Configure your vCenter server for Guest OS customization
  • Convert your existing Windows 2003 VM to a template
  • Deploy a new VM from this template
  • Convert your new template back to a VM
  • Deploy a new VM as a clone of an existing VM

Lab 7.2. Hot Add a Virtual Disk

  • Select a powered on Windows 2003 VM
  • Add a 1GB virtual disk
  • Use Disk Management to find, partition and format the disk
  • Cold remove the virtual disk

Lab 7.3. Hot Extend Basic, Dynamic and System Disks

  • Increase the size of the virtual disk
  • Review the current disk size and partition layout
  • Use Disk Management to create a new partition and file system

Lab 7.4. Grow a System Disk

  • Grow a Windows System Disk
  • Grow the volume partition and file system using the Gnome Partition Editor (GPartEd)

Lab 7.5. Hotplug CPU and Memory

  • Promote a VM to dual vCPU and test
  • Reconfigure a VM for Hotplug memory
  • Hot add memory to a Running VM to relieve memory stress

Lab 7.6. Virtual Router Appliance

  • Use IPCop to create a minimal router/firewall VM
  • Connect to our Internal LAN Segment
  • Move a VM behind the router to protect it from the public network

Lab 8. Permissions

  • Create a new folder in the VMs & Templates view
  • Drag and drop one of your Windows 2003 VMs to this folder
  • Assign restricted permissions to the local Guest account

Lab 9. Shared SAN Storage

  • Configure the iSCSI software adapter
  • Rescan the iSCSI software adapter for new LUNs
  • Examine the Storage view for any new VMFS datastores

Lab 10. Working with VMFS Volumes

  • Build a new VMFS volume on a SAN LUN
  • Add a second LUN to your new VMFS volume to create a SPAN
  • Delete your VMFS LUN span
  • Create a new, single volume VMFS that does not use all available space
  • Grow your VMFS to use all free space

Lab 11. Resources and Resource Pools

  • Create a new Resource Pool
  • Place a powered off VM in the Resource Pool
  • Boot the VM and run a CPU intensive application
  • Change the VM's resource settings and see how that impacts performance
  • Change Resource Pool CPU settings and monitor VM performance

Lab 12. vCenter Alarms

  • Create custom alarms
  • Review, activate stock alarms
  • Configure vCenter for SMTP and SNMP alerts
  • Create a high CPU load and generate SNMP traps

Lab 13. Host Profiles

  • Use our current ESXi host as the source of a new Host Profile
  • Review the configuration properties contained in a host profile
  • Make a host configuration change
  • Attach our saved Host Profile to our ESXi host and scan for compliance
  • Apply the Host Profile to restore our original configuration

Lab 14. Physical to Virtual Migrations with vSphere Converter Standalone

  • Verify that vCenter Converter Standalone is downloaded and enabled
  • Add Sysprep 2003 to Converter's sysprep repository
  • Use Converter to reach out to a Windows 2003 machine and hot migrate it into a VM

Lab 15. Back Up and Recovery with VMware Data Recovery

  • Perform a back up of one of your VMs
  • Perform a conditional restore of your VM, and
  • Recover a VM

Lab 16. Virtual Machine VMotion and Storage VMotion Migration

  • Cold migrate a windows VM onto the Production SAN LUN
  • Power on the VMs and verify that they are running on shared SAN storage
  • Add a second ESXi host to your vCenter server
  • Hot migrate a VM from the original ESXi host to the second host
  • Use Storage VMotion to migrate the storage of a hot VM onto a shared SAN LUN

Lab 17. Distributed Resource Scheduling Clusters

  • Create a DRS Cluster
  • Add your ESXi hosts to your DRS Cluster
  • Review, tune DRS cluster properties
  • Create an out of balance situation
  • Review, accept DRS recommendations to rebalance the cluster

Lab 17.1. VMware Power Management

  • Enable Power Management on your DRS Cluster
  • Configure ESXi hosts for out of band management using ILO
  • Watch as Power Management powers off an unneeded ESXi host when CPU load drops
  • Create CPU contention and watch Power Management power on your standby ESXi host

Lab 18. High Availability Clusters

  • Enable, configure HA Clusters
  • Simulate an ESXi host. Watch VMs as they are placed, restarted on a surviving ESXi host
  • Reboot your ESXi host and watch as it is re-inserted back into your cluster

Lab 18.1. VMware Fault Tolerance

  • Update your vSwitch configuration to support Fault Tolerance
  • Verify your hosts and configuration are Fault Tolerance compliant
  • Enable Fault Tolerance on one of your VMs
  • Review Fault Tolerance status and overhead
  • Simulate a host failure and watch as Fault Tolerance swings the VM over to the Secondary VM copy

Lab 19. VMware Update Manager

  • Install and configure VMware Update Manager
  • Download patch definitions
  • Create a patch baseline and attach it to inventory
  • Perform a patch scan and remediate any ESXi hosts found to be out of compliance

Lab 20. Performance Analysis and Tuning

  • Hot add a second virtual SCSI disk to your VM
  • Create a disk I/O workload on the VM
  • Measure disk I/O throughput using the vSphere Client performance graphs
  • Create and measure a Network I/O load between VMs

Lab 21. vCenter Redundancy with vCenter Linked Mode

  • Create a new Windows 2003 Server VM to act as a secondary vCenter VM
  • Install vCenter onto your new VM in Linked Mode
  • Verify full management redundancy

Lab 22. Advanced Virtual Networking

  • Create a vNetwork Distributed vSwitch
  • Create a NIC Team by adding unused physical NICs to vSwitch0
  • Improve the security of a port group

Reasons to Rent Our Servers

There are many reasons to rent our server pods with our vSphere Lab Guide... Here are just a few:

  • You are preparing to sit the challenging VMware Certified Professional exam (VCP-510) and you want extra practice time on real, physical servers
  • You already have a good handle on vSphere basics but you want to learn to use advanced VMware vSphere 5 features (such as Fault Tolerance, Power Management, etc.)
  • You need to try out some configuration changes on servers but don't want to put your production systems at risk
  • You sat a VMware authorized class but only did 1/2 of the labs because VMware forced you to share your server with another attendee
  • You don't want to spend the $3,500+ that it would cost to sit a full 5 day class to learn how to work with vSphere 5
  • You don't want to take 5 days out of your busy schedule to sit a full class
  • You learn best by doing. You don't need big explanations... just access to the labs so you can get on with the interesting work

What You Get

You will receive your 250 page Lab Guide of detailed, step by step instructions, in encrypted PDF format along with a license code that will unlock your Lab Guide to just one computer. We do this to prevent unauthorized sharing of our books. You will need to install the Drumlin Javelin PDF reader on your Windows desktop or notebook or your Apple Mac/MacBook or iPad before you can access the Lab Guide. Currently we do not support Android devices - sorry.

Note: printed versions of our books can be arranged but will cost substantially extra (due to the cost of printing, binding and shipping). This auction does not include a printed copy of our Lab Guide.

We will provide you with an e-mail address to contact regarding your server rental period. You will need to provide us with the start date for your 5-day server rental period. Rentals start at 9:00am EST (or earlier) on the day of your choice, continue for 24hrs/day until the end 7 days later. Rental periods will not normally be extended unless you contact us in advance and make suitable payments for extended access.

Be advised that you will be using the software included in our remote lab environment in evaluation mode only. No software license keys are included with your server pod rental.

Note: While we do have over 130 servers, they are often in use and may not be available on your preferred starting date. Be sure to have 2 or 3 available starting dates so that you get your servers released to you exactly when you need them.

What You Must Have

To benefit from our VMware vSphere remote access labs and Lab Guide, you must have the following items:

  • A desktop PC or notebook computer or other device that is MS Terminal Services V6 or higher compliant. We recommend a minimum screen resolution of 1280x1024 or higher
  • A reliable, high speed Internet connection capable of 256kb/s or faster for both inbound and outbound traffic
  • Unrestricted Internet access. That is, no firewalls or other Internet security devices that would prevent you from connecting to our servers using non-standard ports

Please verify that your local PC, network satisfies the above requirements before bidding. We will not refund your purchase price if you have network issues.

Your Background

To benefit from the use of our vSphere labs, you should be an IT administrator who is familiar with Windows Server (2k3, 2k8, 2k8 R2) or Linux. You should have PC or server administrative experience and be familiar with the basics of Ethernet networking, DNS, DHCP and Windows. If you work with computers on a daily basis, you should have more than sufficient background to successfully complete these labs.


We provide support through our web based trouble ticketing system during your lab rental period. If anything doesn't work as documented, file a new trouble ticket at www.vlab.pro/support and we will help. If we are slow to reply, we will extend your lab access to give you the time you need to complete the labs.

Scope of this Course

The lab exercises in this course book take you from absolute first principles (server powered off, no OS installed, etc.) to a full and complete vSphere installation. This lab guide includes most of the topics in VMware's vSphere 5 Install, Config, and Manage class and some additional topics only found in VMware's vSphere 5 FastTrack class. By getting our Lab Guide, you can teach yourself exactly how to install, configure and administer vSphere without the expense of a costly 5-day class.

Note: This service does not include our 620 page vSphere 5 Study Guide. If you are interested in a complete training solution that includes our Study Guide, our Lab Guide and remote lab server access, please e-mail me.


This item is 100% electronic so there are no shipping charges. Your Lab Guide will be delivered to you within 1 day of your winning the auction (when you click Buy It Now). We ship anywhere, so happy bidding! Taxes Canadian purchasers must pay appropriate PST, GST and or HST. Taxes will be calculated at the end of the auction and added to your final purchase price. There are no taxes to non-Canadian purchasers.

Why Is It So Expensive?

It is natural to ask yourself why our remote lab service is so expensive... So let me answer that for you:

  • We have over 130 physical PC servers that are all VMware vSphere 5.0 certified and include full Fault Tolerance support. That is a lot of $$ tied up in servers
  • We rent space in a class A datacenter. Our datacenter partner provides very fast, low latency Internet connectivity that is highly redundant - so it is always available
  • We've rented servers to customers in North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom and Africa. They all tell us the same thing... It's just like the servers are in the next room!
  • The Lab Guide you will get is the result of months of work and is based on more than 9 years of working with VMware enterprise virtualization products. The author earned his first VCP certificate in 2004 and holds VCP in ESX 2 and 3, and vSphere 4.x and 5.
  • The Lab Guide can act as a blueprint for you to build your own vSphere environment. Don't start from first principles. Use our design and get the job done fast
  • Finally, this is actually about 50% of the cost of our normal server rental fee. We are discounting our servers to provide individuals with a cost effective way to get access to a professionally designed and implemented vSphere lab at last-minute prices.


  • Q.What if I run out of time...

A. E-mail us and we will work with you to ensure you have the time you need to successfully complete the labs

  • Q.Can I get the Study Guide or Lab Guide in printed format?

A. Yes. Please contact us for more details on printed versions of our courseware.

  • Q.Is basic DSL service good enough to access your remote labs?

A. Yes. If you have 256kb DSL or faster, then you are good to go.

  • Q.Can I test Lab Access before I buy so that I can be sure I can access your remote labs?

A. Yes. Contact us for details on how you can perform a connectivity test to our remote labs.

  • Q.I would like a sample of the training material before I commit. Is one available?

A. Yes. Please visit us here: www.esxlab.com/pdfs/v5sample.pdf to get a free sample of the first 4 chapters of our Lab Guide