In these labs, Microsoft provides you with an Azure-powered live environment you can use to practice their new and current products without the risk of messing up your own systems.
Currently, they provide a pretty wide range of options including Server 2016, Azure, SQL Server and many more. (note: For some reason sorting the labs by newest places the newer products at the last page instead of the first).
Let’s get started, fire up those VMs!
So, let’s start with a randomly chosen lab to see how it all works, shall we? First we pick a lab and view the details:
Looks interesting enough, time to launch the lab and let Azure do it’s magic..
When launching the lab, we get redirected to a new webpage and you get to see a progress window, just to let you know it’s working hard to start your lab. (Wouldn’t want people to think Azure is taking it easy, would we?)
Creating and booting up the required VMs was faster than I expected, within a few minutes you are greeted by a short introduction of the lab objective and you are ready to get that knowledge flowing into your mind.
Is it any good?
Based on the short time I spent clicking through a few of the labs, I have to say that I’m very positive about the Hands-on Labs.
The process of launching the labs, creating the VMs and working with the labs is very straightforward and works pretty smooth. I expected this process to take a lot longer, but Microsoft does a good job of providing their users with a fully functioning environment in a very short time.
If they manage to provide new labs before or shortly after the release of new products or product versions, I can see this becoming a must-use tool for exam preparations and a very handy tool to get some hands-on experience with the products you are planning to implement in your own environment.
Conclusion: Very positive first experience, with a lot of potential uses.