Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How to start learning NSX? VMware's Hands On Labs

This is a very short post but I want to start pointing people in the right direction.

You may or may not know that testing VMware server virtualization is a fairly easy affair. Sign up for an account at my.vmware.com, request a product trial for vSphere, and once you locate the downloads, you could be burning your first ESxi ISO and using it to boot almost any home computer. Likewise, you can get the installer for VMware workstation very easily and within a time limit, discover all you want from the product with no limitations.

VMware's NSX is not offered this way. There is a big reason why: there are several layers that need to be in place before you can run NSX, and being fair, you have to be fairly comfortable with ESXi and networking to be able to grasp the concepts needed to understand what NSX does. 

For your typical VCP or VCAP (VMware certified individuals) this sounds like a bother, but this is actually a good thing. NSX is a very broad-encompassing product that is useful for not just server administrators, but network and ITSEC professionals as well. Thus, reserving the actual installers is a protection from complexity - the installers are actually only available if you undergo a formal trial with VMware and they assist you in the validation and installation of your test.

So, how can anyone see and test or learn about NSX on their own? VMware has a site dedicated to Hands On Labs that has several NSX sessions. This is not a click-click simulation - this is a real lab, dedicated to you, that even has step by step explanations and tasks you must complete before moving to the next step. This is essentially free training - no need to setup your own lab, VMware provides one over the network!

The link for the "VMware NSX Introduction" hands on lab:

The lab is also not particularly restricted. You can tinker around and if you somehow make it stop working, you can end it and start over. This is quite the free service that VMware offers and their recommended path to start learning about NSX.

As a bonus, if you are totally unfamiliar with VMware's products, this is now their introductory lab for virtualization, "Virtualization 101: vSphere with Operations Management 6"


As you can tell from the links, VMware offers most of their portfolio through the Hands On Labs, and is continually adding more. You can't beat this much free training.

More posts coming soon, starting with the theory behind network virtualization. See you soon!


  1. You have to start somewhere... I too found this to be the best place.

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