Training classes for complex applications are a challenge to manage and operate. They are typically ad-hoc in nature – the class schedule, number of students, venue (on premises or online), and geography of the class varies. This schedule is often driven by short-term business needs and can be difficult to predict. Automating all this typically requires mastery in IT and scripting. Instead, Ravello gives you built-in end-to-end automation for training and classrooms that require provisioning complex applications -- or as we fondly call it “automatic automation”.
The students (customers, partners, prospects) are one-time visitors to your IT systems, and have neither the time nor inclination to learn them. When the training starts, each student needs to quickly obtain the connectivity details for his or her own separate (but identical) environment, and then complete the tasks outlined in the training guide. Upon completion of the training, they leave the environment in a "post training" state that cannot be used by other students.
All of the above means that preparing and managing training environments is quite a challenge – the number of parallel environments available and their location is hard to predict, some ‘cleaning’ needs to be done on each environment after the training is complete, and supporting online on-demand classes is almost impossible. This is especially the case for training on complex applications involving several VMs and some networking topology between them.
Ravello greatly simplifies the management of training environments – generating on-demand multi-VM environments with complex networking on top of AWS or Google is a breeze. After preparing an environment once, you simply save it to a Blueprint, then it’s easy to generate identical copies of this Blueprint on demand in various clouds and regions.
Ravello’s new training portal completes the support for training classes by adding the ability to manage training classes and courses and sharing connectivity details with the students.
The training portal has three types of users:
The trainer can create new courses. A course is a type of training provided by the organization, for example, “basic certification course” for some network appliance. The course includes one or more blueprints. Each blueprint is used to create separate environments (which are in fact Ravello applications) for the students.
Here’s a view of adding a new course:
The trainer can also create new classes. A class is a training session that is part of a scheduled course. For example, the basic certification course for my network appliance scheduled for EMEA on March 2014. Each class includes a list of students (email, user, and password). The trainer can assign specific permissions to students for starting a VM, stopping a VM, and getting console access.
Here’s a view of adding a new class:
The trainer can also monitor a running class. In the monitoring view, the trainer can see which environments were created for the students. These environments are in fact Ravello applications and can be tracked within Ravello if needed.
Here’s the monitoring view of a class:
The student has no access to the Ravello account of the organization that provides the training. The student only has access to a very simple portal for the training class. The portal shows the name of the class and its dates as well as a list of environments made available for this student. Each such environment is an identical copy of the blueprint defined in the course that this student is taking. Depending on the permissions provided to the student, he or she can start VMs, stop VMs and obtain console access to some or all of them. The student can also click on each VM and get its DNS name and list of available ports and services on this VM.
To get an early preview of the training portal and see how it fits your training needs, request a demo by clicking below.
Using Ravello’s core capabilities of spinning up complex environments on the public cloud together with the new training portal allows for flexibility and fast reaction to business needs.