Practical exercises in the laboratory form a cornerstone of academic education in engineering and
natural sciences. Besides experiment and theory nowadays, simulations become increasingly relevant.
In particular in distance education, due to the absence of in-class teaching a comprehensive IT
infrastructure is necessary, allowing for the mutual use of a broad variety of remote controllable
experimental set ups and virtual laboratories through students and professors.
So far, such solutions have mostly been limited to individual universities and research institutions.
Since these are yet by construction available over the Internet, and thus independent of the location,
the challenge is to build a comprehensive web-based portal infrastructure for experimental set ups
under open source/access/content policy. In this article we discuss the underlying architecture, give
some examples of typical components and highlight our background and motivation.