The use of laboratories in higher education enable students to gain experience of practical engineering disciplines that form important employability skills. Two computer networking laboratories are used on a computing program to teach and assess students studying networking and security subjects. Challenges are faced in the configuration management and assessment of large numbers of students across a wide range of taught modules with diverse and multivariate requirements. The functional requirements of an application to automate the configuration and assessment of laboratory environments involving real and simulated multi-vendor network devices and operating systems hosted on virtual machines were defined . The application based on solution templates has now been developed and tested. It has been possible to demonstrate that the new application can successfully provision the environment necessary for practical exercises in the laboratory and asses the outcomes of student work. This paper presents the challenges faced in designing the application and discusses the decisions made in its implementation to meet the defined requirements. Finally it will discuss the results and observations made from initial testing and make recommendations for further work.