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MCTS home lab help

Discussion in 'Windows Server 2003 / 2008 / 2012 Exams' started by veloce, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    Hi folks,

    not been on here in quite a while. Hope everyone is good.
    Simple question, I am due to be working towards MCTS (70-642/70-640) as part of an OU module working towards a BSc computing degree.
    Can anyone who has completed these MS exams advise me on a decent spec?
    I am looking at a laptop (preferably HP). OU advise the following spec:
    •2GHz processor
    •3GB RAM
    •20GB hard disk (40GB recommended).

    but I want something that can handle the virtual end without issue.

    Thanks in advance.

    Declan
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT
  2. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    Good luck with the OU course. I'm just coming to the end of doing the TM128 OU course - passed all the TMA's so far:D

    NB
     
    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
    WIP: MCSA
  3. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    Thanks notes bloke,

    thats a stroke of luck!
    Im signed up just a couple of days, really looking forward to it.
    Currently midway through TU100 which I enjoy, and have been getting reasonable grades in TMAs.
    What setup are you using for labs?
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT
  4. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    I've not done the TU100 (yet). How are you finding it?

    I mainly used the Microsoft e-learning labs, but they have been very unreliable. So I've been using my Vmware set-up on my desktop to do some of the labs.

    NB
     
    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
    WIP: MCSA
  5. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    not so bad.
    certain parts of certain blocks will leave you wondering what exactly the relationship is with IT, but as a broader introduction to OU study in general, they are of use.
    The senseboard and programming interface as a nice intro to programming fundamentals, but does not really excite me like networking. Which is where TM128 hopefully comes in!
    Are you working towards B62 or something else?
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT
  6. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    The cost of the TU100 is putting me off at the mo!

    When I first enrolled with the OU I intended to work towards the B62, but now I'm not so sure. With work commitments etc I've found it difficult to devote time to doing the TM128. The last 2 TMA's have been a struggle to get in on time. Not because they were difficult, but because I was busy with other stuff. Fortunately I managed to get them all in on time, and now I've just the EMA to finish for the middle of May.

    I'm not sure what my next course will be - if any at all. I may just do a course that interests me, and not one that counts towards the B62.

    NB
     
    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
    WIP: MCSA
  7. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    It is a fair old chunk, luckily I found financial support for two thirds of the amount.
    Its a hard ol slog alright, first year of potentially 5 for me. But if it was easy,we'd all be doing it :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT
  8. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi Declan,

    The spec's on that laptop are great if all you're going to be doing is using it to write assignments etc but as a virtual host it's somewhat lacking.

    The processor would do at a pinch, obviously the more horsepower you have the better it is if running more processes (multicore is a must here).

    Memory wise you really want something with a minimum of 4gb preferablly something that can even accommodate 8gb (each VM requires ram that takes it away from your physical machine) so the more ram, the more VM's you can run comfortably.

    HDD, this is something where you really want to look at a 500gb drive or larger unless you're happy running around with USB drives to store your unused VM's on whilst you don't need them. Depending on how you configure the VM's you may be able to save some space but in all honesty you want to get as much performance as possible so you may want to use thick instead of thin provisioned disks.

    Have a look at VMware Player as a possible virtualisation product, it's free and pretty decent.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  9. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    thanks for that Simon.
    I have been looking at 8GB of RAM with a few laptops. My almost 3 year old HP pavillion dv7 is getting a little slow. I ran a vmware version of xp on there for a+, and it lagged quite a bit.
    The general concensus seems to be that at most, I would have 3 VMs running at any one time?
    Is that correct?
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT
  10. jamin100

    jamin100 Byte Poster

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    I know youve said a laptop but have you thought about a headless server?
    This is what im currently doing.

    I have a HP Microserver sitting at home headless running Server 2008R2.
    It has 8GB RAM and various different hard disks that I use for storage.

    The server with 8GB RAM can be had for around £175 (new) after cashback from HP. It comes with a 250GB Hard Drive and you can add more as needed.

    Im then using Hyper-V to install a few servers and client machines. I can get away with 4 VM's running fine.

    I can access the server and vm's via remote desktop from any other device in my house connected to my wireless.
    I can also access the server and VM's from work (or any computer on the internet) with logmein (free) So essentially have access to my labs from anywhere :)

    Works well and means I dont have to carry my laptop to and from work when I want to work on my labs over lunch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
    WIP: 70-680
  11. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    re-he-he-heallyyyyyyyy:hhhmmm

    Not thought of that jamin, what is the model number?
    Where did you purchase? How did you add wireless capability?

    Thanks for the suggestion btw, sounds promising
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT
  12. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    If you're going down a headless server route I would probably go down the route of esxi instead, have it booting off the USB and use the disks as storage.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  13. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    why would that be, access speed?
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT
  14. jamin100

    jamin100 Byte Poster

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    Model is the HP Microserver N40L
    Purchased it from Dabs for £240 delivered
    2 x 4GB RAM from ebuyer for £30
    £100 cashback from HP (takes about a month to come through)

    For wireless mine is actually plugged into my wireless router as its sitting next to it, but you could add a wireless card.

    I tried ESXI but it seemed very picky with some of the hardware in the microserver and think to get it working successfully it would need a raid card installing.
    So i opted for S2k8r2 and hyper-v

    ESXI has a smaller footprint and uses less resources than windows and hyper-v so it would leave more RAM and CPU free for the virtual machines
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
    WIP: 70-680
  15. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
    Certifications: MCDST|FtOCC
    WIP: MCSA(70-270|70-290|70-291)
  16. veloce

    veloce Byte Poster

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    thanks for all the advice guys, have a lot to think of.
    If I can avoid the expense of upgrading my laptop (>£600) and go down the headless server option for half that cost, I'll be a happy bunny
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: BSc Hons Computing & IT

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