1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How to set up a Lab?

Discussion in 'Windows Server 2003 / 2008 / 2012 Exams' started by epsilon20, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. epsilon20

    epsilon20 New Member

    9
    0
    1
    Hi every one im new to the forum so i just want to say hellow to all out here.:D

    Im studying for my 70-290 exam and up until now i have been using just one old p3 750mhz laptop do do all my practicals something that has not been too easy to do.I did have another laptop i was using making a total of two but someone broke in my house and stole it:( a few months back. im still at the learn at your own pace part of the book so id like to prepare for the near future when ill need to be doing lab exercises like crazy:biggrin

    I wanted to buy some cheap dell systems on ebay such as this one -Dell GX150 /1.0GHz / 256Mb/ 20Gb / CD /NIC costing around 70 quid. but i heard someone say that getting drivers for these are a problem when using server 2003. I just wanted to know if this is truelly the case.I also considered getting an actual Dell 4300 server DUAL CPU (500mhz x2), 256MB RAM,20gb hd for about 80 quid- but i dont know whether this is too much or too little for my needs.

    At the moment im thinking of this set up once i buy the systems

    Dell server running server 2003 + Dell gx150 running windows xp + Laptop running windows XP/Server 2003 (on dual boot)

    Just wanted to know if this is going to work and what is the ideal setup. Ive read the forums and everyone seems to have a different way they want their labs set up.I would prefer not to use VMware as that may complecate things for me. Ive used it in the past to put linux on vmware while running Xp as the host.

    Ill appreciate any suggestions
     
  2. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

    3,748
    330
    187
    Hey bud - welcome

    There are two ways you can go about setting up a lab - the 'real' way or the 'virtual' way. The second way is pretty new, but can be a massive benefit to you if you're short on space/cash/power.

    Setting up a lab the first way is actually pretty easy - although it will require some financial outlay, time and patience. The best way to do it is to scour EBay for old redundant stock. Plenty of companies out there specialise in clearing organisations' old equipment out and you can get some real bargains if you're after a stock of workstations for testing. Amongst the other stuff on my home LAN are eight little PIII deskpros that I got for 350 quid (I had to drive to the midlands to get them but it was worth it). These little puppies had a 733mhz processor, 256 MB RAM and 40Gb hard drives. Eight more 256MB sticks of RAM later (about ninety quid on EBay) and you have eight machines that can all run 2K3 Server at a push.

    These are perfectly adequate as servers for a test lab, but if you're worried about them being too slow you could always get a couple of cheap old tower systems with faster processors & more RAM as servers and some systems similar to the ones I described above as workstations.

    Virtualisation opens up a whole new arena for you - using VMWare or Virtual Server/PC you can build truly complex networks using your current PC. This might be more worth looking into if your budget is tight and you don't want a power bill the size of Sizewell B every quarter... :oops:
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  3. epsilon20

    epsilon20 New Member

    9
    0
    1
    Thank you for your quick reply,
    The reason i was thinking of the dell server was so that i could learn how to manage the hardware side of servers too.Is this server overprices at 70 quid? And which brands should i stay away from i.e compaq,ibm? As i was saying earlier my old teacher told me that the dells he had were giving him trouble when it came to finding drivers.He is nolonger my teacher so i could not get an answer from him.

    What are the minimum specs i should be looking at. and also do you think the set up ill have is overkill for the 70-290.The server has a dual PIII CPU at 400MHz- Does that mean im running at 800mhz or is the other CPU just there for redundancy

    I think the virtual way will really confuse me as i would not feel confident that its a "reall world" scenario. i plan to spend no more than 300 quid and for 2-3 systems.
     
  4. moominboy

    moominboy Gigabyte Poster

    i used to have a lot of lab info but cant locate it at the minute.

    but i got it all from zimbo so if you're lucky he might have it still mate.

    good luck! :tongue
     
    Certifications: ECDL
    WIP: A+
  5. epsilon20

    epsilon20 New Member

    9
    0
    1
    who is zimbo? maybe ill try and contact them if you can let me know.thanks for the tip.

    Just got myself a Dell poweredge 300sc with the specs for 50 quid;

    Intel P3-850Mhz (Dual capable 1 processor installed)

    383Mb ECC SDRam

    10Gb HD ,Cd rom, FDD

    2 NIC fitted.-

    Server key is included

    What you guys think?

    I decided that ill just stick with the Laptop i had and this new system and get another cheap system when the need arisesTurns out i forgot to facter int he cost of a new moniter and the accesories.When i get more money ill buy a dell 150x pIII 1 GHz for 50 quid.
    I hope i figure out how to replicate all the settings i had on my laptop running server 2003.i remember reading about multiple master replication in my N+ material but i have not come to that part yet in my mcsa studies.
     
  6. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    5,215
    98
    181
    im zimbo!:biggrin :biggrin :biggrin :biggrin :biggrin

    the way i see it you got 2 options....

    1. Beef up a *good* pc to make the specs around 100GB HDD and 1GB Ram... Processor around 2ghz+ if you have a PC or can upgrade a PC to that then a very good option is VMware (www.vmware.com)

    2. You will need around 3 pc's maybe... look for 500Mhz+ 256Mb machines... nothing less or you will be super slow... that should be fine for upto MCSA... later you can always get another pc... you will need a hub... if you have a dedicated internet you will need a router to give all your pc's internet and a few metres of patch cable.
    To start off 70-270 only 2 pc's are needed so start looking for them!

    Personally i have gone with option 1 because i dont have space for machines and they very untidy! 8)
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  7. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

    408
    21
    35
    Virtualization is great, but nobody wants to go into a dogfight *only* logging hours on a simulator.

    Discrete machines, at least until virtualization matures to widespread use (multi-cores, baby!), is the current standard in most businesses. I still maintain that using several machines replicates the data center (or office workgroup) much more effectively. No system's admin (or support tech) doesn't have stories of long, drawn-out fights with hardware -- and that's part of the experience factor as well. Networking, especially, has a very hands-on physicality to it. In addition to machines -- get a decent cable crimper, and make your own cables. I knew a MCSE that never made a cable, much less knew which wires went where, and what they did. Virtual computing for training has it's drawbacks.

    Not to say that it's bad -- some people effectively learn and pass exams using 1 PC and a hard drive full of images. Especially if they've made the choice to purchase 1 muscular box, as opposed to several unworthy boxes. Space and power consumption is a major issue, as well. However, the days of being a specialist are over (if they ever were). Being a jack-of-all-trades is the mainstay these days, and is very valuable to any employer.

    Regardless, I've worked in a few data centers, and most are not what you see in commercials -- rows of identical shiny Dell servers, with a slide-out service terminal LCD. Bzzt. The ones I worked in had a bit of everything, with a squeaky-wheeled service cart. Very reminiscent of my home lab.

    Good luck and great studying!
     
    Certifications: A+,Net+,Sec+,MCSA:Sec,MCSE:Sec,mASE
  8. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

    3,661
    106
    167
    There are advantages and disadvantages to both the virtual and the actual labs.

    Creating a virtual lab on one powerful computer is usually going to be a little cheaper, but if the power supply dies hard and takes out a couple of other components your entire lab is down until you rebuild your machine.

    My lab consists of 5 computers, two routers (1 wired, 1 wireless), 1 keyboard, 1 mouse, 1 monitor (other than the keyboard, monitor and mouse on my laptop), and 1 kvm switch. I have had parts of my lab die but no failure has never completely taken out all my ability to use my lab. Thus I can repair at my leisure and ability to buy parts and still study.

    This has cost me more money than one physical machine with multiple virtual systems on it, but in return I get much greater overal reliability/redundancy. Anyone building a lab needs to take these things into account.

    For the price of one monitor you can buy a good kvm switch that will handle up to 8 machines using just one keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Then it's simply a matter of lining up all the physical boxes in a row.

    All mine sit under my desk, but I do have a large desk. It's a u-shaped workstation that's a little less than 3 meters square and enclosed on 3 sides in a way that any part of it is accessible by just swiveling in my chair. It has a couple of drawers for holding files and paperwork, a small book case that holds 50 or so of my most frequently used books and corner-oriented, slotted storage sections for holding cd's, paper, 3-ring binders, a 19 inch monitor, a pull-out keyboard tray, and under shelf areas for my kvm switch, phone, pen and pencil storage, etc....

    I am pretty danged spoiled by having such a set up.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  9. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    6,281
    85
    174
    I did install and use Virtual PC (when it was a bonus in the actionpack, rather than a freebie :biggrin ) but felt i was missing out on the points you mention Fortch.
    The way my brain works seems to aborb things if i can <see it> for myself.

    Si
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  10. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    5,215
    98
    181
    if i had the money and quite frankly the space to i too would have a lab of 4-5 pc's.... i actually have a second *medium* pc with 512mb and 1.5ghz.... my two machines take up alot of space so i wouldnt have a clue where to put PC 3- 5!:biggrin
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  11. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    6,281
    85
    174
    Yeah, space is the main factor for the base units, although there is a lot of wires in my <4> set up.

    Si
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  12. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

    3,661
    106
    167
    With Debian, and I haven't built one yet, it is possible to build "headless" servers--no monitor, keyboard, or mouse--and just administer them remotely. That way all you have are the boxes sitting there with their power cords and ethernet cables. It's quite a space saver and also means you can place the physical boxes in a closet, another room, etc.... You just need a small router and some ethernet cable to put them someplace out of the way.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  13. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    6,281
    85
    174
    That is really good. No KVM switch or spaghetti of wires behind the desk, that is a pain if one has to be removed.

    Si
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  14. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

    3,748
    330
    187
    I've got sixteen (count 'em!) sixteen boxes of varying power/type on my network at home.

    There's my two DCs, four little deskpros as test workstations, two beefed-up tower PCs running as DB servers, my Snort box, my Exchange Server, my ISA Server, my main workstation, the wife's tower and three lappys - one of which runs BackTrack for pen-testing, one which i sit in the front room with and the other used mainly in the kitchen when I'm cooking!

    I'll post some pics later - it would be really cool if anyone else posted some of their own lab :)
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  15. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    5,215
    98
    181
    well create a thread with yours and ill add my 2 yes 2 machines!:oops: :biggrin
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  16. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    6,281
    85
    174
    love to see the set-up. I'm sure i have a pic somewhere.....
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  17. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    8,871
    167
    256
    LOL Zeb you really are a lost cause :twisted:

    Gotta love ISA though, I need another box now just to run that baby 8)
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  18. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

    3,748
    330
    187
    Don't tell me - tell the wife!

    Seriously, last quarter our electric bill came to nearly £350... she nearly blew a gasket when she saw that... :blink

    ISA 2004 is superb - I can't live without it. I still haven't quite had the balls to run OWA through it yet, but I plan on familiarising myself with the (no doubt hundreds of) vulnerabilities that exist for it before deciding whether to risk publishing my Exchange server through it. Not sure I can stump up the readies for a third-party signed cert from Verisign or someone though :hahaha
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  19. epsilon20

    epsilon20 New Member

    9
    0
    1
    Nice to meet you all:D and thank you for the encouragement.Seems to be a close nit family in here

    I thought i had it good getting one "real server" lol while some have 16:eek: bet you dont need any central heating in your place as the lab provides much of the heat. Are they ever on all at the same time:ohmy

    I found your information Zimbo on the lab setups in the Lab partners forum which was very helpfull- makes me feel like im in an actual class with class mates :beatnik

    I too need to be able to see the systems so make it as real as possible cause the thought of keeping track of all the virtual systems will confuse me.

    Ill save up for a beefy machine after i pass my 290 exam and in the meantime just familiarise myself with all the server hardware and terminologies like scsi,hot swapping, rack mount stuff.
     

Share This Page

Loading...