Handy use for VMWare #2: Instant training setup

My practice has put together a “Documentum Boot Camp” which is an intensive course aimed at taking folks with Java development experience and turning them into Documentum developers in much less time than if you were to take formal training on each topic. We cover everything from Administration, Security, and Workflow to writing custom Documentum WDK-based applications.

Keeping a pristine training environment set up, or better yet, providing each student with their own training environment wouldn’t be practical if it weren’t for VMWare. With VMWare we’re able to create a standard “client” and “server” image, each pre-configured with everything the student will need to get through the Boot Camp exercises. So, when it is time for someone to go through the Boot Camp, we give them a CD with the courseware, lab book, and instructions, and two DVDs with the VMWare images. They use the VMWare Player to run their images. If they trash their environment it’s no problem–they simply re-copy the image from the DVD.

I’ve seen training providers handle this with ghost images in the past. The nice thing about the VMWare approach is that the images run on the student’s machine on top of the OS they already have installed. This is the first time I’ve seen a training class where you can actually take the training “machine” with you when the class is over. The next time you pay for training, instead of asking, “Is this course material going to be available for download?” you should ask, “Is my training machine available over BitTorrent?”