Setting up a virtual training lab for IT wizards

virtual labs

It’s easy to understand why so many IT enterprises have begun to see the value of virtualization when it comes to testing out the functionality of their technology and products in a safe and secure environment. Since the introduction of x86 virtualization, using virtual labs as a way of supporting training, development, and testing has been one of the most popular starting points for organizations headed down the path of virtualization. It’s an easy solution, because you don’t have to deal with the potential problems of production resources and so on. Not only do virtual labs provide a low risk environment to test, but also provide other Benefits including reduced server needs, automatic lab provisioning etc. Furthermore, having hands-on lab-based training with access to new technologies and tools can help to prepare IT professionals for the upcoming technologies. Essentially, knowing how to set up a virtual training lab can help your company turn a modest hardware investment into an incredible learning tool. Now, how can you give your IT wizards a way to use their very own virtual training lab? here are some tips:

Start By Avoiding Production Environments

One of the biggest benefits that any virtual training environment can offer, is that it’s isolated from production environments, delivering a safe location in which IT technicians can play with new features, tools, and innovations. Perhaps one of the greatest things about virtual training labs is that they offer professionals the opportunity to make mistakes, break things, and come up with terrible ideas – all without causing any issues for the people that are already working on production. In other words, setting up a virtual training lab means that you get to test things out without any risks to your profitability or company productivity.

With that in mind, the first step of setting up a training lab is to make sure that you dedicate isolated resources and networks to them – particularly for infrastructures and servers. Often, a single server blade combined with some virtual networking elements can help to emulate a wide variety of planned production environments.

Make Sure Your Lab Is Easy to Access

Another important thing to consider is the fact that your virtual training lab probably won’t do a great deal of good unless your IT professionals are able to frequently access it. Today, the use of remote access tools and VPNs or virtual private networks, have made it possible for various IT pros to start gaining access to the virtual test lab whenever they need to complete a potentially disruptive activity. Although a certain number of your IT staff may benefit from visiting the lab personally, most of the hands-on tasks, and a great deal of practice tests and training materials should be available to access remotely – from wherever your IT technician needs to get their hands on them. This can be essential for IT professionals who generally use the hours they have outside of the working environment to improve their training.

By setting up a VPN connection, and providing remote access infrastructures to IT workers, you can ensure that you’re encouraging your professionals to continue training whenever they want to – even if they decide that it’s time to work outside of the regular working hours.

Support and Promote Your Test Lab

Although creating a test lab may only be considered as a modest investment for some companies, it’s worth making sure that you’re consistently getting the most out of your money. IT staff should consistently promote the use of the test lab for training and production purposes. What’s more, it’s a good idea to make sure that the work that does take place within the training lab is well-documented and easy to understand for all of the people who may be involved.

When hiring new employees, be sure to promote the use of the test lab facilities, and remind your employees frequently of the fact that it is available and offers numerous benefits. It’s also worth announcing any new offerings, updates, or content that might become evident within the lab as they are introduced.

Be Prepared for Hard Work

No business should commit themselves to investing in a new lab for their IT wizards unless they have the time and resources to dedicate in informing IT staff how they can access it, and experience the extent of all of its potential benefits. Try to make sure that you are consistent in promoting your lab, otherwise the chances are that your IT wizards will end up forgetting about it altogether.

If you’re ready to work hard, any manager can build a valuable virtual training location for their IT pros to start furthering their knowledge and ensure mistakes are kept under control.

Author: Rahul Sharma

Image Courtesy: nokhoog_buchachon ,