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Lab Setup Advice

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Killian, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. Killian

    Killian Byte Poster

    Wasn't too sure where to post this but figured it's related to Training and Development so here goes;

    I'm in the process of moving house and when we're setup there I want to get myself a proper lab setup for help with my future certs. I've been asked by my employer to tackle the Hyper-V certs next and then move on to the System Centre varieties (SCCM, SCOM, etc) and whilst my laptop has sufficed for past certs (running vmware) the hyper-v MS Press Book requires a complete setup in order to get the most from it.

    Whilst I could probably pass without having to do the exercises I want to get the most from my studies and there I things I could do in my own lab that I couldn't do on the work domain.

    My question boils down to this; I want to get a 2 machines with the specs listed below, would I be better off building them myself or just buying them online? If anyone has a similiar lab setup that they use for certs then any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Specs required for both machines;

    • x64 Virtualization compatible CPU (e.g. Intel-VT or AMD-V)
    • DEP Capable CPU (for Hyper-V)
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 4 x HDDs (size not such an issue but want to RAID 5 with hot spare)
    • RAID Controller
    • DVD Drive
    • 2 x NICs (1 PCI, 1 on board)
    Certifications: See sig.
    WIP: Everything!
  2. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

    Building a machine yourself is usually cheaper, but not for everyone as some just don't want the hassle.

    Shame about going with only 4GB of ram, yet having a RAID5 setup... Depending on the OS you install, it won't hold that many machines so coulda just got two disks in RAID1 to save cash as a lower number of VM's per machine won't tackle the disk system as much.

    You could probably also do all your tests with a single NIC in each server, not sure you really need two of them, but then again I haven't honestly looked at the latest HV exam so I don't know if there are recommendations in your book that specifically state that two NICs are required, no if's and no but's.

    CPU doesn't have to be that great, you are highly unlikely to be maxing that thing out at any point in time ;)

    But I'd say, get more RAM, lets you build a much better (more expanded) lab. I run about 32GB between my machines and am currently building the following environment (runs with 'some' concessions on my laptop with 16GB of ram):

    2 DC's (one 2008 R2 and one 2003 which I'll retire once all schema changes have run fine)
    1 RODC (2008 R2)
    2 Exchange 2010 CAS+Hub servers
    2 Exchange 2010 DAG MBX servers
    1 Exchange 2007 CAS+Hub+MBX server
    1 Exchange 2003 FE
    1 Exchange 2003 BE
    (setting up an Exchange 2003 MBX Cluster on some physical servers on the side)
    1 Exchange 2010 Edge
    1 Exchange 2010 UM
    1 2008 R2 Certificate server
    1 Win7 client
    1 WinXP client
    1 FIM 2010 server
    1 Lync 2010 archiving and monitoring server
    1 Lync 2010 Front-end server (may build a second one if I install Kemp's HV image of their HLB)
    1 Lync 2010 Edge server
    1 Lync and OCS back-end (i.e. SQL DB server)
    1 OCS 2007 R2 Front-end
    1 OCS 2007 R2 Mediation server
    1 OCS 2007 R2 Edge server
    1 OCS 2007 R2 archiving and monitoring server

    Hopefully I'll have all of this completed by Tuesday as I'm attending a Microsoft sponsored event as a dude that our customers can approach to ask questions about AD, Exchange, Lync and FIM :eek: (I'm screwed, haha)
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, MCDST, MOS, CIW, Comptia
    WIP: Win7/Lync2010/MCM
  3. Killian

    Killian Byte Poster

    Well I'm thinking I could always upgrade RAM and such in the future providing I get a MB that will support it, perhaps up to 8GB in each. As for the HDDs, it doesn't actually mention anything about RAID, I just figured I could do it for setups sake though I suppose two 500GB (or even 320GB) HDDs in a RAID 1 would be more than suitable.

    The 2 NICs is one of the requirements in the book though as for why I'm unsure, could just be it wants to dedicate one for management, either way I'd like to put an extra NIC in as they aren't expensive and will help when I come to do setups with stuff like TMG (2 NIC setup and 1 NIC setup).

    It also asks for a DC already setup and a couple clients but can use my Laptop for those.

    Any suggestion on a MB and CPU? I'm not fussed about the speed of the CPU as as you say, I'm hardly going to max them and if I did cause slow-down it's not a production environment so isn't going to matter all that much.

    Nor am I fussed whether it be Intel or AMD, am thinking possibly the latter as last time I built myself a PC (about 3 years ago) AMD were cheaper though arguably not as good as their intel counterparts.
    Certifications: See sig.
    WIP: Everything!
  4. Killian

    Killian Byte Poster

    Nobody? Anybody have any forums in mind where this type of post would be better posed?
    Certifications: See sig.
    WIP: Everything!

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