I'm a Sales Engineer for a software development company and one of my responsibilities is to manage our software demonstration environments. I'm hoping to get a better idea as to how others in my position manage these types of environments and what solutions they use to do so.
Currently our setup consists of the following:
- A "master" demo environment hosted in our data center (vSphere VMs). Only few have access to this as it's where we maintain the database used for demo's.
- Several "user" demo environments hosted in our data center (user specific vSphere VMs). Application code and databases are updated from the master environment on occasion. This is what our Solution Consultants (demo team) access as their primary demo environment.
- "Local" demo environments. This a copy of the user VM (VMDK's actually) run using VMware Workstation on their laptop. This is used as a backup demo env. in the rare scenario the demo person does not have internet access at the onsite demo. The User VM/VMDK's are only copied a few times a year (after a major application or framework update for example), but we have a homemade tool that allows the user to refresh the database from their hosted user environment before a demo (in case they've done a bunch of prep for a specific demo for example).
As you can probably gather, management of this environment is a bit of a pain - especially with a demo team of 20 individuals - and I know there has to be a better way to do this.
In the bit of searching around I've done, there look to be several cloud-based software environment management solutions, including those geared specifically designed to manage environments used for software demos such as Oracle Ravello and CloudShare. While these solutions look like they could definitely streamline the first two types of environments, they do not address the third - having an "offline" version of the demo environment somehow.
I realize this discussion may not involve VMware solutions - though we're certainly open to using them if it makes sense - but thought this forum would be a great resource to find out how others in my position handle this.
Any input is very much appreciated! Thanks!