The most common question I get asked in every course is: “Can we take the virtual machines with us?”. Short answer. No. The virtual environment I build up for each course actually belongs to Microsoft! But, you can build your own Test Lab and setup various scenarios quite easily. First, you need a decent pc. I7 processor, at least 16GB RAM and a quick HDD; big enough to store all your vhds (virtual hard disks). Operating system? If you’re running Windows 8 or higher, you have a built-in feature, Hyper-V, that can easily be turned on. If you would rather run a Server o/s (operating system) then you either have to use one of your company’s licenses, or download a 180 Evaluation version from TechNet. You’ll need those evaluation versions in any case, because you’re about to build a Base Test Lab. Using the TLG (Test Lab Guide) available from Microsoft, you’ll be able to build, relatively quickly, an entire test environment. The graphic below shows what I mean:
What’s even more exciting (in a geeky way!) is the new ability to build your test lab in the cloud!!
Awesome! Once you have your Base Lab setup, BACKUP! and BACKUP again! You’ve just put a lot of hard work into setting you Lab up, don’t lose it.
Now that you backed up the Lab, you can start playing, building, breaking, and fixing your resources. If you want to extend the Base Test Lab, go back to the wiki and look at the additional Labs that have been written: Exchange, SCCM, ADFS, Direct Access, and a multitude of others! http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1262.test-lab-guides.aspx
Take checkpoints (or snapshots) of your Lab before installing or testing, that way you can revert to a pristine Lab environment, ready for you to break it all over again. This has to be one of the best ways to learn, and a whole lot of geeky fun as well 🙂
get IT right!