VMware has started a new Lab Manager video series and has kicked things off by posting three inaugural videos:
- Lab Manager Introduction and Product Overview
- Organizations within vCenter Lab Manager
- Workspaces within vCenter Lab Manager
VMware states that the next videos in the series will be:
- Managing Users and Groups within vCenter Lab Manager
- Networking within vCenter Lab Manager
The videos are authored by Graham Daly who works for VMware out of the Cork, Ireland office. The videos are short at well under 10 minutes each and provide introductory level information on Lab Manager components and administrative containers. If you haven’t used Lab Manager before, it’s enough to get you curious.
KB article (1020915) is going to act as a central location or a “one-stop-shop” for tutorial style videos which will discuss and demonstrate the various different topics/aspects of the Lab Manager product. As new videos become available, they will be added to the article.
I haven’t seen any books to date on use of Lab Manager. From a training and education standpoint, the Lab Manager installation guide and the Lab Manager user’s guide actually isn’t too bad. Someone last night was looking for advice on Lab Manager training and I recommended printing these two .PDF documents out and sticking them in a 3-ring binder like I did. You’ll be able to whip through them in a few hours as much of the content is repeated time and again in the user’s guide. Beyond that, the best Lab Manager training is continuous use of the product. As I stated last night, Lab Manager is a bit of a different animal, even for a VMware junkie (like me).
Boil down the complexity and black magic of the Lab Manager product by looking at it as a tiered application consisting of
- virtual infrastructure (ESX(i) and vCenter, you know this already),
- a web front end (that’s the Lab Manager server, which by the way runs great as a VM),
- and a database (which also runs on the Lab Manager server and only on the Lab Manager server – yep, it’s local MS SQL Express, and yep, it has scaling and migration issues).
The Tomcat on Windows web interface is the front end where Lab Manager environments are built and managed. The web interface sends tasks to the vCenter Server which in turn commands the ESX(i) hosts (ie. build this VM, register it, power it on, make a snapshot, now clone it, etc.) State information and other configuration items are stored in the database. For obvious reasons, the database and vCenter always need to be on the same page. When they get of sync is where hell begins but I’ll save that discussion for a distant blog post entitled “Lab Manager: fun to build and play with, no fun to troubleshoot”. It’s a lot like Citrix Presentation Server in that respect.