Well, Phone Boy's been rather busy over these last 3 weeks, running the first alpha rotation of our OCS Master program. I'm sure he'll get on here soon and talk a bit about how it went (I had my review with the class today, and it sounds like we're off to a great, great start!), but I wanted to give you all a sense of what we mean when we talk about Hands On Labs in the mean time.
The lab is awesome. Each participant has a pod. Each pod has 2 Vista laptops with web cams and headset, 1 Office Communicator Phone Edition powered device, 1 3rd-party IP Phone and their own Windows 2008 Hyper-V server running 26 virtual servers with a OCS 2007 R2 environment with ISA, Edge, Directory, EE pool, Archiving, Monitoring, CWA, Group Chat, MOM, IP-PBX, 5 Mediation Servers and 5 Windows XP clients.
The networking in the lab simulates a corporate network, the Internet and a telephony network. The 24 different pods are each configured as its own company in its own town in its own country and all have a branch in Redmond. All the countries are connected using a simulated PSTN and all OCS environments can be federated to each other.
I'm going to give Adrian and team a big pat on the back for coming up with this setup that's pretty darn unique, if I say so myself. That environment was used throughout the 3 weeks to do goal based labs. And with goal based labs we mean (as always) - no 'click next', 'click continue', - homey don't play that...we mean, "We just talked about it for a couple of hours - so now go do it!", i.e. you'll actually know what you did when you get to the end of it 😉
I don't think you'll see this type of lab setup anywhere else, do you?