Virtual IT Labs: The Future of Training and Development

In today’s fast-paced digital world, the demand for new skills training is growing at a rapid pace. Because of this, many companies are looking to develop virtual training solutions to help their employees get up to speed as quickly as possible. The popularity of virtual IT labs has increased in recent years due to their ability to provide users with remote, guided, and self-paced instruction, allowing trainees to access resources from any location with internet access. In this blog post, we’ll explore what virtual IT labs are, why they’re important for businesses, and how you can implement them in your organization.

What are Virtual IT Labs?

A virtual IT lab is a hands-on remote lab environment where employees can practice and perform tasks. Virtual IT labs allow organizations to create, manage and deploy virtual machines for training and development that can be accessed remotely. This allows employees to learn more at their own pace, on their own time, and in a secure environment. Virtual IT labs are also known as virtual labs, cloud labs, or desktop services (DaaS). These labs are created and maintained in the cloud by a managed service provider (MSP) such as a virtualization service provider or a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider.

A virtual IT lab is usually built for collaborative and hands-on activities that are driven by a specific set of virtualized systems. Virtual IT labs are designed to simulate real-world scenarios so employees can practice what they’ve learned in a safe environment. They can be used to train employees at scale, regardless of their geographic location. This is ideal for organizations who have distributed teams and require employees to follow the same process or workflow. 

With virtual labs, organizations can create an environment where everyone can follow the same process and receive the same training no matter where they’re located. This helps minimize the risk of creating issues in customers’ environments. Virtual labs are also useful for organizations that need to comply with regulatory requirements. This is because you can put together all your controls and checklists in the lab environment and then deploy them to customers from there.

How Technology Has Shaped Training Demands

Technology is rapidly changing how we operate as organizations. These changes are not just from the adoption of new software, hardware or processes. It is also about how we use technology and the ecosystems around it to create experiences that go beyond what typical users expect. Technology adoption has forced us to reimagine our processes and adopt new ways of working so we can remain competitive in the market. Technological shifts require a new approach to training and development programs within an organization—particularly because many businesses have been using the same approach for decades. In today’s market, however, many people are unwilling to undergo this type of learning again and again at different companies. As such, virtual IT labs are key to the future of training.

Why is Virtualization Important to the Future of Training?

As the world becomes increasingly virtual, organizations will need to develop greater hybrid environments. This is particularly true when it comes to training and development programs. As such, virtualization is important to the future of training. Virtualization allows for the centralization and management of resources, as well as the scalability and sustainability of training programs. It also allows for the creation of multiple environments that can be utilized for various scenarios, such as testing or implementing new technologies or software. This ensures consistency and accuracy when training, plus a reduction in risk that could occur when administering certain actions on a live system.

How Can Virtual IT Labs Benefit Organizational Change?

The sooner virtual labs are adopted, the sooner organizations can realize the many benefits that come with this technology. However, they can only do so if organizations are willing to make the change from traditional methods. Companies that adopt virtual IT labs can expect to see higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness, as well as greater consistency in training programs. These labs will also allow for the reduction of costs, as organizations do not need to purchase as many servers for training purposes. This is helpful for organizations looking to reduce costs or manage expenses. 

While there are a wide range of benefits associated with virtual labs, the most critical one is the ability to scale or expand training programs as the organization grows. While traditional training programs often result in the need to re-train employees, virtual labs can be easily expanded to include new employees.

Organization-Wide Change Requires Cultural Change

Organizational change is often a painful experience. This is especially true when it comes to changing how employees are trained. The shift toward virtual IT labs and a more hybrid approach to technology will require a cultural change. Employees will need to learn new skills, accept new ways of doing things, and be willing to use new tools and technologies. The best way to create a culture of change is to first understand what is holding employees back. This could include fears, concerns, or misconceptions about certain aspects of the technology. Organizations can then work to address these concerns and move toward a better future.

Employees Need More Effective Training Strategies

The current approach to training employees in many organizations is simply not effective. In fact, it is estimated that only 10% of employees retain information after attending a training workshop. Training methods have not changed much in the past few decades, which is why many businesses are now looking for new ways to train employees. 

Virtual labs offer a number of benefits that make it an ideal solution for training employees. Virtual labs offer a realistic environment for employees to practice and to simulate real scenarios. This is particularly beneficial for fields such as IT, where employees need to be able to practice with certain tools and scenarios. Virtual labs can be used to create exact replicas of production systems with all the appropriate data, which is helpful when practicing with systems that deal with sensitive information. There are many more reasons why you should implement virtual IT labs, however, so keep reading!

Why Implement Virtual IT Labs?

The benefits of implementing virtual labs span across the organization. From training new hires to testing and troubleshooting existing IT infrastructure, there are a number of ways virtual IT labs can be used to benefit your business. 

Easy to Access 

Virtual labs make it easier to train new hires who may be in different locations. They can use these labs to learn how to do their job even if they don’t have easy access to equipment or if there isn’t a convenient location nearby where they can get hands-on experience. The labs can also be used to train employees who are working remotely. 

Easy to Scale 

With virtual labs, organizations can easily scale their training efforts. This can be important for growing businesses because it can be difficult to hire and onboard new employees. In some cases, it can take weeks or months before new hires have the skills and knowledge necessary for their jobs. 

Cost-effectiveness 

It can be expensive to build and maintain a lab that has all the equipment your trainees need to learn. Virtual labs save you money because you can use whatever equipment you have available, regardless of its condition. 

On-Demand Access 

With virtual labs, when employees need training, they can usually get it quickly because it doesn’t require any additional setup. This can be helpful for organizations that need to train new hires quickly, or when existing employees need to practice their skills.

Conclusion

The future of training is all about creating better experiences. While in-person training courses can be helpful, they are often too limited in their ability to provide real-world application. 

Virtual IT labs provide organizations with the opportunity to create immersive, practice-based experiences for employees. Virtual labs can be used to create simulations of production systems, allowing employees to practice with real data. They can also be used to create custom-designed experiences that allow employees to practice skills in more creative ways. In the future, it is expected that more organizations will make the transition toward virtual labs, particularly as technological advances continue.

As the digital landscape grows and evolves, so too must the training and development of employees who work in these fields. Virtual IT labs are an innovative approach to the challenges companies face in providing adequate training on the latest technologies. 

Let’s Talk 

ReadyTech provides a hosted training solution that offers hands-on, self-paced and remote training software to aid employees in practicing job skills. Companies that invest in employee training benefit from reduced attrition rates and hiring costs, better productivity, more knowledgeable employees, and a competitive hiring environment.

ReadyTech provides you with all the software you need for your virtual classroom, and we offer a full-service setup process as well as 24/7 live support. Contact us today.



Virtual IT Labs that provide your learners and prospects with a real hands-on experience.

ReadyTech provides lab hosting options to meet and exceed your IT lab needs no matter the situation. Lab hosting options to fit any scale and budgets.

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Multiple IT lab hosting options to fit any scale and budget.

ReadyTech has hosting options to meet and exceed your IT lab needs no matter the situation.

At ReadyTech, we understand that virtual IT lab requirements vary depending on technology, use case, cost, and other unique variables. Whether you want to connect using a third-party cloud provider, host on our cloud, require access to bare metal servers, or require access to custom equipment, we’ve got you covered.

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Axis

Axis turns your AWS, Azure or GCP account seamlessly into a training delivery solution.

With Axis, you are able to seamlessly schedule, create, and tear down IT labs on either AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. You also keep your team away from managing complex cloud provider consoles with its user-friendly training-focused interface. Training coordinators, curriculum developers, and instructors can easily manage course templates, lab plans, and class schedules. Instead of running your virtual machines 24 hours daily, Axis will allow you to easily schedule instructor-led classes and provide on-demand lab time for self-paced and blended learning, saving valuable computing resources and money.

Why Axis

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Easy-to-use interface

Using the cloud provider consoles to manage and deploy labs is difficult and cumbersome and can result in high cloud provider costs. A key goal of Axis is to isolate training staff from the complexities of working with the cloud provider console. Axis provides an easy-to-use, training-focused interface, allowing you to work with familiar objects, such as course templates, classes, and student seats.

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Cost Effective

Running virtual IT labs directly through the cloud provider often results in high provider costs due to virtual machines being left running unnecessarily. You can avoid all that with Axis. It allows you to start, pause, and terminate virtual training labs according to a schedule. Virtual machines will only run when needed, and nobody has to remember to shut them down at the end of the day. When the event has finished, Axis will ensure that all cloud provider resources, such as virtual machines, storage, and networks, are terminated.

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On-demand lab access

On-demand lab access for self-paced and blended learning programs is becoming more popular daily. Students can access labs on their own time from anywhere in the world. By adding on-demand lab time to an instructor-led schedule, students can work in their hands-on labs after class, supporting the concept of blended learning. For self-paced lab access, you want to give the students the flexibility to access the lab whenever they want but still stay in control of cost. Axis will allow you to do both.

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Easy scheduling

Axis is a Virtual IT Lab management application that allows you to schedule and deploy your labs with one of the major cloud providers. This means you can pick the best cloud vendor for your specific needs, price, platform availability, regional availability, corporate policy, or something else. With Axis, scheduling is streamlined and intuitive, eliminating the need for complex, time-consuming lab setup processes. You can effortlessly deploy labs for many classes worldwide with just a few clicks, ensuring that all resources are available precisely when needed.

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Secure, reliable connectivity

Secure and reliable connections to the lab are critical. The cloud providers natively offer public access to lab environments using tools such as SSH and RDP. However, many firewalls block this kind of access, resulting in students and instructors not being able to connect. Axis includes ReadyTech HyperView—a proprietary viewer technology—which allows users to access their virtual training labs using firewall-friendly protocols and without labs being exposed to the open internet. HyperView provides a secure connection and high-performance remote desktop experience with a browser. No downloads, plug-ins, or extensions are required.

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Partner management

Using training partners (ATPs) to deliver courses is a common practice, but using a partner network comes with some challenges too. One of the challenges is making sure the partners use lab environments that perform well and match the lab instructions. Axis makes it simple to share lab environments, stay in control of quality, and provide a consistent learning environment for students. Cost allocation can be handled in various ways by either making the partner entirely, partly, or not responsible for expenses associated with virtual IT labs.

Axis Hub

  • IMG ILPd Instructor-Led Portal

    An all-in-one turn-key solution for instructor-led training delivery. Including a full-featured virtual classroom with audio, webcam, whiteboards, and polls. Course materials management and remote lab access all through a single web portal.

    axis icon1 Self-Paced Portal

    A high quality, on-demand learning experience specifically designed for self-paced learners. Access to course materials and hands-on labs in a single web portal.

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    Axis is a training management application that allows deployment of your virtual training labs to one of the major cloud providers. Axis supports AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

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    IMG ILPd Instructor-led Portal

    An all-in-one turn-key solution for instructor-led training delivery. Including a full-featured virtual classroom with audio, webcam, whiteboards, and polls. Course materials management and remote lab access all through a single web portal.

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    axis icon1 Self-paced Portal

    A high quality, on-demand learning experience specifically designed for self-paced learners. Access to course materials and hands-on labs in a single web portal.

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    ready tech host VM Management

    Automate deployment and tear down of virtual labs on the 3 major cloud providers.

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    Give instructors an overview and control of students' virtual labs. Other features include lab timers, inactivity monitors, help queues, chat, and screen sharing.

    ready tech host VM Management

    Automate deployment and tear down of virtual labs on the 3 major cloud providers.

    axis icon3 LabManager

    Give instructors an overview and control of students' virtual labs. Other features include lab timers, inactivity monitors, help queues, chat, and screen sharing.

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    Included
    Group 33 Axis API
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    icon VM Management
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    plus
    IMG ILPd Instructor-led Portal

    An all-in-one turn-key solution for instructor-led training delivery. Including a full-featured virtual classroom with audio, webcam, whiteboards, and polls. Course materials management and remote lab access all through a single web portal.

    axis icon1 Self-paced Portal

    A high quality, on-demand learning experience specifically designed for self-paced learners. Access to course materials and hands-on labs in a single web portal.

    icon VM Management

    Automate deployment and tear down of virtual labs on the 3 major cloud providers.

    axis icon3 LabManager

    Give instructors an overview and control of students' virtual labs. Other features include lab timers, inactivity monitors, help queues, chat, and screen sharing.

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"ReadyTech is a cost effective employee training platform. It helps us get hands-on experience and it’s an excellent option for virtual training suitable for both employees and trainers."

Don’t want to use AWS, Azure or GCP, no problem.

Host your labs in ReadyTech’s data centers.

ReadyTech’s data centers offer several lab hosting options to meet your specific requirements and budget. Whether you are looking for a cloud-based solution or hardware environment or need a complete custom IT lab environment, we have a solution for you.

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Global Infrastructure to connect anywhere

Cloud Labs

Our cloud was designed from the ground up to provide the ideal solution for global IT training labs.

All clouds are not created equal. With data centers in the US, Asia, and Europe, your students get excellent performance anywhere in the world. ReadyTech’s cloud offers you the perfect balance between performance and price to meet the needs of any training organization of any size.

"Not only has Johnson Controls reduced training costs, they’ve improved employee productivity 40% and experienced customer satisfaction levels well above 85%. Future plans include dramatically increasing their online training offerings, leveraging ReadyTech’s infrastructure to offer training to remote employees, and accessing a larger student market.

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Better lab performance

Hardware Labs

Powerful bare metal servers for an ideal solution running hypervisor, ESXi, or Hyper-V.

Bare metal servers are the ideal solution when you need access to a hypervisor such as ESXi or Hyper-V and don’t want to jeopardize performance by double virtualizing on a cloud-based solution. A hypervisor can run many virtual machines per student and support any network topology. Beyond the lab quality, IT professionals and students get faster response time, greater customization, and control of their lab environment. Get options you can’t find in the cloud.

"ReadyTech offers superb scalability - so now we can scale up and down as needed. ReadyTech also handles variable demand well, whether it's adjusting for the school year, software release cycles, class schedule changes - without breaking a sweat. They come through for us every time."
Ben Schmitz
Training Services Project Manager

Custom Labs

Your hardware is not too custom or complex for ReadyTech.

As a technology company, we love custom hardware challenges. Whether you train on a proprietary network or security equipment, BIOS-level programming, or some abstract wireless equipment, we can host your virtual IT lab environment and scale it to your needs. We can host your proprietary equipment in our data centers or connect securely to your equipment in your office or data center.

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Case Study

Johnson Controls partners with ReadyTech to reduce training delivery costs by 83%

This training initiative includes highly customized virtual training labs that also increase their student pool through VILT software.

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24/7 Live Support

Successful training delivery solutions don’t stop at great technology and reasonable pricing. That’s why we provide complimentary 24/7 live support to our customers, instructors, and students. So, no matter where you are teaching or when your students are accessing their labs, ReadyTech’s 24/7 live support is always available.

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