Yesterday I took the opportunity and joined the VMUG VMworld Lab Tour to sneak a peek behind the scenes of HOL. Bill Call and some of his collegues were so kind to show us around.
Hands on Lab is delivered by VMware’s internal private cloud and vCloud Air. Therefore VMware is relying on their flagship products like ESXi, vCenter, NSX, vROPs with Log Insight, Hyperic, vRealize Suite, …).
To deliver the labs as fast as you are used to, HOL pre-pop’s the labs. This means, that they pre-provision the labs based on their experience values. As some labs take more than 2 hours to be deployed, it would not be possible to launch them on request. If you start a lab, you get one off the top of the stack and backdrop a new one is automatically deployed to replace the one you have consumed. So it is possible to make the labs available in under one minute!
If you have some time left go to the lab area and take a look at the info boards. I am sure you will be impressed by the infrastructure behind HOL.