The Importance of Practice Labs

The Next Generation of IT Practice Labs

At Cloud People, we have been working with large education institutions now for almost ten years. These include TAFEs, Universities and private RTOs. One challenge that we’ve found that all these institutions have in common, is giving their students access to real IT equipment. This could be for labs, practical assessments or coursework. Students enrolled in IT courses want to roll their sleeves up and get hands-on practice.

The challenge of providing hands-on labs is even greater as education moves from traditional classrooms to an online environment. Online learning is seeing significant growth at the moment. In the past 5 years revenue has grown by on average 14% a year, and the forecast for 2018 is $8.8 billion dollars. However, student engagement levels and completion rates continue to drop with this change.

There are a number of ways that we have seen institutions try to solve this challenge. They either build an in-house solution or, they provide their students access to the software vendors online lab offering. Both of these approaches have their own challenges. In-house solutions are expensive to implement and difficult to manage. The software vendors online lab solutions, while usually provided at no cost to the institution, often suffer from poor performance, are limited in course availability and technical support, but most importantly the institution loses visibility of student activity.

Two years ago at Cloud People, we started to develop a platform to solve those challenges. There were number of key features that it needed to have to really provide value to our customers. The first was that it needed to be cloud hosted and fully supported by our technical staff. This would allow institutions to remain focused on teaching, and not the management of the underlying technology. By hosting it in the cloud, and allowing access from any modern web browser without the need to install additional software, it would provide easy and secure access for both remote and classroom based students. We also considered the needs of course administrators during our two years of development. Our platform would need to provide detailed reporting of student activity to assist in managing engagement levels and completion rates, the creation and publishing of courses needed to intuitive. And lastly, it should become an extension of the institution by custom branding and learning management systme (LMS) integration.

The result of these two years of development is Virtual Labs. Virtual Labs is a cloud hosted IT practice labs platform. It is fully integrated with all major LMSs to provide students seamless access to practical modules of IT courses. Students are given hands-on access to real equipment – servers, desktops, and networking equipment, in their own secure private cloud. They have full administrative access to interact with the equipment and they can carry out their own configurations, or follow lab guides. Course administrators are given access to detailed student metrics that allow tracking student progress and management of engagement levels.

We have seen institutions increase student engagement and completion rates, while reducing the total cost of ownership by implementing Virtual Labs. This has been very encouraging for us. We still consider Virtual Labs to be a young product, and feedback from our customers is invaluable in helping us define the future product roadmap.

We understand that moving online is difficult for traditional education institutions and try to assist in everyway possible, including building and running free Virtual Labs trials for all customers.

Product Update Released

We have recently released a significant update to our product.

Here’s the media release….


Cloud People’s Virtual Labs platform provides TAFEs and Universities with a fast, easy and secure method to create full-featured IT practice labs in the cloud. With the Cloud People platform, organisations can increase student engagement and completion rates, while reducing the total cost of ownership. By using Virtual Labs, students gain unparalleled hands-on access to virtual environments from anywhere.

“This latest release of Virtual Labs has a very strong focus on analytics.” said Jason Kinsella, Director at Cloud People “One of the key messages we received from visitors to our stand at the EduTech conference this year, was that they all struggled to get access to accurate and detailed student activity information.”

He continued to say, “As education moves from classrooms to online environments, student engagement and completion rates significantly decrease. These dropout rates can be as high as 80%. Our latest release of Virtual Labs captures all student activity in real time and provides both online dashboard reporting and scheduled engagement triggers that are completely customisable. By exposing these granular student metrics to course administrators we have already seen significant increases in student engagement and retention rates by our customers. Virtual Labs has always been very strong in providing students with an excellent experience, and now with the introduction of analytics on the platform, the course administrator experience is also greatly enhanced.”

Benefits of the Cloud People Virtual Labs include:

  •     All aspects of the platform are fully managed to ensure each student has a secure and predictable experience. This allows educators to focus on teaching, and not the management of the underlying technology.
  •     Virtual Labs can be scaled to match teaching needs and student numbers. Learning organisations need never be restricted by physical lab environments again. Everything is done on-demand, in the cloud.
  •     Security risks are eliminated by removing the need to grant access to an organisations internal infrastructure from untrusted traffic sources. Every student environment is fully isolated and secure.
  •     Significant cost savings can be realised compared to physical infrastructure deployments by only paying for consumed resources.

For more information, please visit

Cloud People Announces Partnership with Numecent to Bring Application Jukebox™, Numecent’s Cloudpaging Application Virtualisation Technology to Australia.

Cloud People announces their partnership with Numecent to bring Numecent’s cloudpaging application virtualisation technology – Application Jukebox™ – to businesses in Australia.

The partnership between Cloud People, a leader in cloud computing and Numecent, the application virtualisation pioneer expands Cloud People’s cloud platform offering to meet its continuing promise of innovative and cost-effective virtualisation solutions that address the challenges facing many businesses today.

For enterprises and educational establishments, there is a constant push to reduce costs: virtual desktops, thin clients, and server-based computing technologies provide many low-cost models with higher levels of control for IT. Often these solutions impact application performance, leading to low user satisfaction and skyrocketing help desk costs. Application Jukebox™ is a powerful alternative for delivering any Windows® application to employees, students and partners.

Application Jukebox™ uses cloudpaging technology to transform native software delivery, deployment and provisioning via the cloud. Advantages include:

  •     Application Jukebox™ can virtualise 100% of Windows® applications while retaining central control.
  •     Applications behave exactly as if they are locally installed, making Application Jukebox™ perfect for memory intensive, high-CPU applications.
  •     Real-time license control capability allows administrators to see exactly how and where licenses are being used, and allocate licenses appropriately.
  •     Applications can run without a network connection, without the loss of licence control.

“We’ve been involved in implementing application virtualisation solutions for over fifteen years now,” said Jason Kinsella, Director at Cloud People “and Numecent’s Application Jukebox™ technology is the first product we’ve seen that can provide a rich user experience at a cost that allows organisation-wide adoption. The fact that a single virtual server can serve 5000 clients running virtualised applications at native speed has blown us away! When you combine this performance with Application Jukebox’s ability to virtualise 100% of Windows applications, it is well placed as an alternative to Citrix XenApp® and Microsoft App-V® for on-premise deployments. As a cloud-based deployment, it’s got no real competition.”

For more information, please visit

About Cloud People
Cloud People is an Australian cloud computing provider. Their cloud computing platform gives you instant access to virtually unlimited processing power. Complex environments can easily be provisioned and are ready to use within minutes. Host your business in the cloud and save on costs by only paying for what you use.


For more information, please contact:
Jason Kinsella
Tel: +61 421 733 465

About Numecent
Numecent is a software company and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider which recently came out of stealth to wide-spread industry acclaim. As a pioneer in the virtualisation space, the company’s recent groundbreaking cloudpaging technology automatically cloudifys any native Windows application to deliver it 20 to 100x faster than digital downloads with no installation required. With partners all over the world, Numecent offers secure, comprehensive, patented solutions for digital software delivery through virtualisation.