AutoLab to create quick test labs

One of the best way to learn how to do things in the field of technology is to actually get your hands dirty and practice doing something. That’s one method I have followed for years and has helped me learn most of what I know today.

One way that helps do this is with creating virtual machines through software like Hyper-V or VMware or another program to help build and run things locally on your own machine. I’ve been doing this for a while, but it’s always a struggle I find to quickly spin up machines with certain things enabled and configured a certain way.

I’ve tried different methods in the past to help streamline things like this, but the other day I was made aware of a project on GitHub that really looks like it could be a great help for people who need things built a certain way quickly.

The project is called AutoLab and was created by Jason Helmick b|t a great trainer who has made some fantastic online courses through Pluralsight and other venues as well.

I’ve watched several of his PowerShell training videos in the past to help learn new things, but I think there is some real value here in AutoLab. It only works in Hyper-V but it even helps enable it on a Windows box as part of the installation process.

The basis of the project is another GitHub project called Lability.

The features of this project combine PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) to use config files and other functions to quickly build up a lab, refresh a lab, take a snapshot of multiple VM’s at once, and even when you are done then tear down the entire lab in one command.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!! Very awesome indeed!

Right now there are many configurations that people have added to in order to setup different scenarios.

I think there’s some great potential here for this to quickly build up test labs when you need to learn a particular skill or subset of features on a new product.

If you get a chance, check it out and try it out and give feedback to the creators.

I’m going to do my part to help this take off because it’s a great idea!

Thanks and enjoy!