Last year, when I heard that Ravello Systems are offering free access to vExperts, I was amazed at the offer.

Even though I have a fairly good sized lab in my study, there are many times when I want to play with some cool new technology but don’t have the time or expertise to build it into my lab quickly. Sure, one day I get there by reading the relevant documentation but sometimes, it’s just not possible.

If you don’t know already, Ravello Systems offer “Smart Labs” where you can have “self-contained capsules” to run your VMware/KVM development, test, training and demo environments in the cloud (AWS or Google).  You choose based on your performance or cost requirements and then run them for as long you want.

Another great feature is that there are many shared blueprints in the “Repo“, which you can add to your library and create applications based on them. This actually is the part I love the most as it solves the issue I was talking about earlier where I need to play with something new and don’t actually know how to build it. Some of my favourites are:

The beauty of all this is that with no (or minimum) fuss, I can have an environment very quickly (deployment time depends on how big or complex the environment is) and shut it down whenever I like. Once I am done with it, I can destroy it very quickly, safe in the knowledge that recrating it won’t be a problem.

This is also great for demos at work or for a client as you can develop your own blueprints exactly how you want them, build the demo for a particular event or meeting and destroy once no longer required!

I am lucky to be a vExpert and when it comes to the benefits that come with it, this certainly is at the very top and for that, I am very grateful to Ravello Systems. This is giving me and many other vExperts a huge benefit when it comes to evaluating new technologies.

If you work in an environment where you frequently need quick access to a very competitively-priced lab that’s accessible from anywhere, try Ravello Systems out for free. You get 2,880 CPU Hours to use (free for 14 days), which is more than enough for you to see its power first hand. While testing it out, I am sure you’ll find that even large and complex application are very affordable on this platform, especially if running for a limited time. I am totally sold on the idea that even if you think it can’t replace your test environment, it can definitely be a very valuable addition to it.

As there is nothing to lose, I would strongly suggest you find some time to check it out. Try out some of my favourites for starters or some cool things other people are doing but do give it a go. I am sure you’ll be impressed too!