Laboratory in the Sky? Why Cloud-Based Labs Are Replacing Conventional Ones

Laboratory in the Sky? Why Cloud-Based Labs Are Replacing Conventional Ones

If you need to train or teach new employees, cloud-based labs allow for increased flexibility in where and when courses take place and give trainers the ability to review several ongoing projects at once.

Moran Shayovitch is the Marketing Manager at CloudShare.

As any educator knows, retention rates are low for mere theoretical learning. To truly internalize new information students must have the benefit of an experiential encounter with the subject. That's why tech lab work is so crucial. Unfortunately, for most students, the computer lab experience is limited due to time, space and financial constraints. Enter the cloud. Cloud-based computer labs are becoming prevalent in organizations around the world, replacing conventional labs. Cloud-based labs reduce training expenses, allow instructors to remotely monitor the progress of all students, and enable students to use the facilities both before the course begins and after it's completed. The following will show how cloud-based computer labs can improve your training program.

Easy Does It – Simple Configuration and Maintenance

In a conventional campus, each student accesses a laboratory application running on a specific operating system and hardware configuration. To offer the application on different operating systems and hardware configurations requires modifying the parameters to suit the new environments, as well as on-going maintenance which can be costly. These multiple environments can quickly complicate set-up and lead to chaos.

With cloud computing, lab configuration is easy. You simply install your lab application once in the cloud environment, clone it and send each student a URL complete with a unique, pre-installed and configured training application. The operating systems and hardware used are irrelevant, because the application does not reside on your computers.

From a cost perspective, cloud-based training environments are web-based platforms that require no software installation on your company’s hardware system. This eliminates the need to manage your own servers, especially important if you don’t have the IT expertise or staff to handle such a big project. The software is managed for you by the cloud-based provider. This results in significant savings on capital expenditures as well as implementation and operational expenses. According to elearningindustry.com, cloud-based online classes reduce training expenses by up to 50 percent.

Someone to Watch Over Me – Complete Instructor Oversight

In conventional labs, instructors can often see only one student session at a time and must move physically between students to interact with them. Cloud-based labs allow instructors to monitor the progress of the entire class simultaneously through real-time thumbnail images of each student’s lab session. They can then drill down into selected student instances to provide personal assistance with questions and problems - all from their own terminal.

Late Night at the Lab – After-Hours Access

A traditional training course offers fixed start and end times. To review the material before or after the course, trainees typically receive printed documentation, which they can review at home. But the lab application for a specific course is only available for a limited time. As a result, the effectiveness of the lab sessions weaken the more time elapses after the course is completed.

Since online training is not tied to a physical campus, the same lab application can easily be made accessible even beyond the official training session. This enables instructors to send trainees pre-course prep assignments, or allow students to practice in the lab long after the course concludes. Since access to the training lab is rigorously monitored, after-hours access is often offered as a premium service.

So Close and Yet So Far – Remote Lab Access

Many organizations have more than one office distributed across the country. Often, conducting lab trainings for the entire enterprise can be difficult to manage. However, with the implementation of a cloud-based training lab, this is easy to achieve. All the offices require is a working internet connection.

Cloud-Based Labs Get High Marks

With simple set-up and maintenance, remote and after-hours access, and global monitoring, the popularity of cloud-based labs is likely to continue to grow.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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