MCITP LAB setup Help me choose

kash79kash79 Posts: 4Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi all,

I am new to the forum and was hoping that someone might be able to guide me. I am on the road to start my AD exam 70-640 which is my very first certification attempt. I ve seen this and other forums regarding the setup of virtual lab and the system requirement.

I have to admit, im on a tight budget so looking for a used system to serve my needs. My laptop is quite old with pentium m 1.86 and 1gb ram, xp home-

Please advise which of these systems would get me through MCITP-SA or EA.
Plese also advise if there is any expansion in ram possible with a cheaper system among these.

LINK: GALAXY COMPUTERS | Buy Online | Laptops in Pakistan | Laptops in Karachi | Pakistan Laptops | New and Used Laptops | Gaming Pc's | Evga Distributor in Pakistan | XFX Distributor in Pakistan | His Distributor in Pakistan | Corsair distributor in pakis

I await and appriciate your suggestions.

Comments

  • LAN_GuruLAN_Guru Posts: 119Member
    kash79 wrote: »
    Hi all,

    I am new to the forum and was hoping that someone might be able to guide me. I am on the road to start my AD exam 70-640 which is my very first certification attempt. I ve seen this and other forums regarding the setup of virtual lab and the system requirement.

    I have to admit, im on a tight budget so looking for a used system to serve my needs. My laptop is quite old with pentium m 1.86 and 1gb ram, xp home-

    Please advise which of these systems would get me through MCITP-SA or EA.
    Plese also advise if there is any expansion in ram possible with a cheaper system among these.

    LINK: GALAXY COMPUTERS | Buy Online | Laptops in Pakistan | Laptops in Karachi | Pakistan Laptops | New and Used Laptops | Gaming Pc's | Evga Distributor in Pakistan | XFX Distributor in Pakistan | His Distributor in Pakistan | Corsair distributor in pakis

    I await and appriciate your suggestions.


    I will try to offer some advice without making specific recommendations:

    1) The processor/s need to be 64-bit and support hardware virtualization. You also need at least 4 total CPU cores. A lot of the inexpensive used servers do not have 64-bit processors. You will need to have your vendor give you the CPU steppings from the EXACT server you are ordering so you can verify whether or not they are 64-bit and support hardware virtualization. A lot of the used equipment dealers mix and match parts so be careful. You may want to tell them up front what you are trying to do so they can work with you on this.

    2) You need at least 4GB RAM. 8GB (or more) is highly recommended.

    3) At least 3 hard drives is ideal. That way, you can run the host OS on one drive and configure the other 2 drives in a RAID 0 for the VHD's. You will probably want at least 500GB on the RAID 0 to store the VHD's. Large SCSI/SAS drives are expensive. SATA is fine for a lab server.

    Not sure which generation HP Proliants started using 64-bit Xeons...G5 maybe?

    You could always build a cheap AMD-based PC with a quad or hex-core CPU and SATA drives. Most Windows 7 x64 drivers will work with Server 2008 R2.
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  • kash79kash79 Posts: 4Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    LAN_Guru wrote: »
    You could always build a cheap AMD-based PC with a quad or hex-core CPU and SATA drives. Most Windows 7 x64 drivers will work with Server 2008 R2.

    Thanks for ur input.

    Talking about AMD system, well here is something which i have chance to buy within my budget. Does it fit in to what im trying to do?

    IBM IntelliStation A Pro 6217 Workstation
    Processors (Dual) AMD Opteron 254 / 2.8 Plus 2.8 GHz (2 Processors)
    Mainboard Chipset type AMD-8111 / AMD-8131
    RAM Installed 8 GB, Max RAM Support 16 GB
    Hard Drive Installed 500GB SATA Seagate
    Optical Drive DVD RW HP
    Graphics Card ATI Radeon X600 256 MB GPU
    Integrated Ethernet Controller Broadcom BCM5703ci Broadcom
    Power supply530 Watt Heavy Duty Branded Hipro

    Please visit the link for more detailed Specs and Options.

    IBM IntelliStation A Pro 6217 - Opteron 254 2.8 GHz - Search Results - CNET Archive
    http://www.starnet-it.de/sites/pdfs/pc/intellistation-apro-6217.pdf



    This doesent seem to have a quad core but will it be ok for the purpose?

    Here is the ad with complete pics of the system

    Heavy Duty IBM Workstation - Islamabad - Computers - Hardware - Rawalpindi


    Thanks
  • LAN_GuruLAN_Guru Posts: 119Member
    kash79 wrote: »
    Thanks for ur input.

    Talking about AMD system, well here is something which i have chance to buy within my budget. Does it fit in to what im trying to do?

    IBM IntelliStation A Pro 6217 Workstation
    Processors (Dual) AMD Opteron 254 / 2.8 Plus 2.8 GHz (2 Processors)
    Mainboard Chipset type AMD-8111 / AMD-8131
    RAM Installed 8 GB, Max RAM Support 16 GB
    Hard Drive Installed 500GB SATA Seagate
    Optical Drive DVD RW HP
    Graphics Card ATI Radeon X600 256 MB GPU
    Integrated Ethernet Controller Broadcom BCM5703ci Broadcom
    Power supply530 Watt Heavy Duty Branded Hipro

    Please visit the link for more detailed Specs and Options.

    IBM IntelliStation A Pro 6217 - Opteron 254 2.8 GHz - Search Results - CNET Archive
    http://www.starnet-it.de/sites/pdfs/pc/intellistation-apro-6217.pdf



    This doesent seem to have a quad core but will it be ok for the purpose?

    Here is the ad with complete pics of the system

    Heavy Duty IBM Workstation - Islamabad - Computers - Hardware - Rawalpindi


    Thanks

    Opteron 254 is single-core and does not support hardware virtualization. So, even though the server is dual-CPU, you still only have 2 cores (that don't support hardware virtualization.)

    icon_rolleyes.gif Google is your friend...
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  • LaminiLamini Posts: 242Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    you will have and use this lab setup for some time. dont gimp on it. the amount of hair pulling you'll do can be greatly reduced by exceeding minimum hardware requirements.

    If you can use SSDs, highly suggest, If you can afford memory, get as much as you can (need). Most importantly, dont gimp on processors, you are afterall working w/ servers. you work by the hour, your productivity is measured by the hour, dont spend your time waiting on your hardware. pay for it up front, reap its rewards and it will pay you back before you know it. While you are saving on time, you can be doing more important things.

    This becomes much more true when you put virtualization into the picture.
    CompTIA: A+ / NET+ / SEC+
    Microsoft: MCSA 2003
  • kash79kash79 Posts: 4Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Lamini wrote: »
    you will have and use this lab setup for some time. dont gimp on it. the amount of hair pulling you'll do can be greatly reduced by exceeding minimum hardware requirements.

    If you can use SSDs, highly suggest, If you can afford memory, get as much as you can (need). Most importantly, dont gimp on processors, you are afterall working w/ servers. you work by the hour, your productivity is measured by the hour, dont spend your time waiting on your hardware. pay for it up front, reap its rewards and it will pay you back before you know it. While you are saving on time, you can be doing more important things.

    This becomes much more true when you put virtualization into the picture.

    Well i must agree to that.

    At this point if im restricted by my budget, how about i start off with this custom rig and maybe later get an I5 or I7.

    1) Motherboard:P8H67-V*INTEL H67 (B3 REVISION) CHIPSET (LGA1155) SOUND - LAN - VGA - DDR3

    2) Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-2100 Processor (3M Cache, 3.10 GHz) LGA1155
    LGA1155

    3) Ram: KINGSTON DDR3 12GB-1333

    4) HDD: 2 X SEAGATE 500GB 3.5" HDD 16MB Cache (ST-3500418AS)

    6) Casing and PSU :COOLER MASTER CHASSIS CM ELITE 371 WITH 420W POWER SUPPLY

    can it get me throught the start?

    im actually about to build it in a couple of days.
  • LaminiLamini Posts: 242Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    2 thumbs down on the I3. i would go w/ no less than a desktop I7 processor if youre doing this as a career or are serious about it, get lots of memory, and SSDs or the likes. Please note i said LAB.

    Ideally, you would want server processors on your lab, again, if youre serious. Talking about xeons here, on something like dell/ibm servers... some might fall in your budget if you look hard enough. I'm not even sure if you can get started on the I3, Ive tried on I5/540 w/8gbRAM and would NOT recommend. I7s... get at least 8gbRAM. all depends... if you combine multiple roles, more horsepower you'll need. if you buy multiple lab servers and split the roles, then i7's should do. if you want to go mobile.. i7's on SSDs.. :P, you dont have to be stuck in your lab and can study at cafe's, library, park, etc.

    I do quite a bit of testing/research on my sager NP9280 (i7-960) laptop (that uses a desktop processor), 12gb RAM. And it does games quite nicely (gtx-285), and is upgradeable to the extreme processors as well... though they're $1000+ right now, will wait. The machine can run S2k8+E2kX+WSUS+WDS+hyperV just fine i must add (did I mention its running on raid0 intelx25s, and a 1tb internal HDD storage drive). Its not budget, but considering its mobile, does work, study, and play, and everything else... i save because a single machine does it all. And having all that on the same machine means, everything i need (VMs, CBTs, books, email, backups, etc) is also right in front of me.
    CompTIA: A+ / NET+ / SEC+
    Microsoft: MCSA 2003
  • LAN_GuruLAN_Guru Posts: 119Member
    kash79 wrote: »
    Well i must agree to that.

    At this point if im restricted by my budget, how about i start off with this custom rig and maybe later get an I5 or I7.

    1) Motherboard:P8H67-V*INTEL H67 (B3 REVISION) CHIPSET (LGA1155) SOUND - LAN - VGA - DDR3

    2) Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-2100 Processor (3M Cache, 3.10 GHz) LGA1155
    LGA1155

    3) Ram: KINGSTON DDR3 12GB-1333

    4) HDD: 2 X SEAGATE 500GB 3.5" HDD 16MB Cache (ST-3500418AS)

    6) Casing and PSU :COOLER MASTER CHASSIS CM ELITE 371 WITH 420W POWER SUPPLY

    can it get me throught the start?

    im actually about to build it in a couple of days.


    I have to start off by saying I am an Intel biggot. I had bad experiences with AMD 486DX2-80 processors back in 1994/95 and it left a bad taste in my mouth. However, I know that AMD has come a long ways since then and lots of people run them. From a cost perspective, you may want to look at some of the AMD quad-core CPU platforms for building a low budget lab server...


    A good budget machine could include the following:

    AMD Phenom II X4 925 CPU
    8GB RAM
    2 x 250GB or so 7200RPM SATA drives in a RAID0 configuration

    Search Google and you will find various forum threads where people have found system boards that support the AMD CPU and will work well with Server 2008 R2 and RAID. The problem with desktop boards is drivers but the 64-bit Windows 7 drivers usually work with Server 2008 R2.

    While SSD drives, Xeon CPU's, etc. are really nice to have, I understand that you are on a tight budget and need to get an inexpensive but functional lab built ASAP.

    If it were me and I was on a tight budget, I would in a heartbeat use an AMD Phenom II X4 CPU, put 8GB DDR3 RAM in it, two 250-500GB 7200RPM SATA hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, and get busy studying and labbing. Cheap but functional. Leave the Xeons and SSD's for later after you have gotten certified, gotten a job (or a higher paying job), and have extra money to play with more expensive toys...

    As a side note, I like the Socket 1155 Core i3 2100 CPU. It returns a lot of bang for the buck in a value workstation. I used it in machines for my mother and my fiance. It is a hyperthreading dual-core CPU and gives surprising performance for deskltop productivity apps, web surfing, email, etc. However, it is not well suited for a lab/virtualization server due to lack of cores...
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  • sherrillsherrill Posts: 54Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well, I simply built me a custom home PC. Put in a quad i7 proc, 12 G memory, one 1TB HD. Got a spare 1TB ext for backup.

    Downloaded VmWare Player (free). I have a TechNet subscription, use iso's from that to build server/client. I can build a new server in 15 minutes from scratch, including activation. 20G HD space, 1 G memory for each vm box. I don't bother patching since they're offline.

    I've not had any issues, plenty of space for the vmdk files, the only time I've ever come close to maxing the memory is when I set up the fed services for the 70-640 and had 7 servers running at once.
  • LAN_GuruLAN_Guru Posts: 119Member
    sherrill wrote: »
    Well, I simply built me a custom home PC. Put in a quad i7 proc, 12 G memory, one 1TB HD. Got a spare 1TB ext for backup.

    Downloaded VmWare Player (free). I have a TechNet subscription, use iso's from that to build server/client. I can build a new server in 15 minutes from scratch, including activation. 20G HD space, 1 G memory for each vm box. I don't bother patching since they're offline.

    I've not had any issues, plenty of space for the vmdk files, the only time I've ever come close to maxing the memory is when I set up the fed services for the 70-640 and had 7 servers running at once.

    The OP has stated more than once that he is on a very limited budget. He could buy all the parts to build an AMD-based quad-core machine similar to what I listed for roughly the same cost as just the quad-core i7 processor alone costs. I am an Intel guy. I have never owned an AMD machine since 1995. But if I were on a tight budget and needed a quad or hex core lab machine, I would take a long, hard look at AMD.

    For example, if you look at Newegg, the cheapest AMD quad-core CPU is $79.99. The cheapest Intel quad-core is $184.99. That $105 difference will buy a very decent system board and 8GB memory for a budget lab machine...

    If you look at hex-cores, the difference is far greater. The cheapest AMD is $144.99 and the cheapest Intel is $549.99.

    But I will clarify again, I personally only buy Intel because I can afford it. But if I were on a tight budget and needed a lab machine I would buy a quad or hex core AMD in a heartbeat...
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  • ID10T#ID10T# Posts: 9Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    So, I'm having a hard time setting up a lab with a windows 7 client.. Everytime I try to use an ISO, the Activation Periods expire on me. I can't get any lab work completed. icon_sad.gif

    Can you re-use Eval copies of win7/server for lab setups?
  • cpartincpartin Posts: 84Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    What would the recommended minimum amount of primary storage for VHDs be? I'm speccing a server for EA study and would love to use a SSD for the performance benefits. I don't mind paying for the performance boost as long as it's not that much more expensive than a traditional HDD + RAID solution. Would a 120 GB SSD be too small? That seems to be the tipping point in cost.
  • LAN_GuruLAN_Guru Posts: 119Member
    ID10T# wrote: »
    So, I'm having a hard time setting up a lab with a windows 7 client.. Everytime I try to use an ISO, the Activation Periods expire on me. I can't get any lab work completed. icon_sad.gif

    Can you re-use Eval copies of win7/server for lab setups?

    I see no reason why you couldn't. I can see how using base VM's over and over would be a problem after the eval period is up but if you are doing fresh installs it shouldn't be an issue.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong...
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  • LAN_GuruLAN_Guru Posts: 119Member
    cpartin wrote: »
    What would the recommended minimum amount of primary storage for VHDs be? I'm speccing a server for EA study and would love to use a SSD for the performance benefits. I don't mind paying for the performance boost as long as it's not that much more expensive than a traditional HDD + RAID solution. Would a 120 GB SSD be too small? That seems to be the tipping point in cost.

    The system requirements for Server 2008 R2 state that 32GB minimum free disk space is required. This applies to virtual machines as well as physical machines. The labs for AD-FS in the 70-640 book calls for at least four simultaneous server VM's. A 120GB SSD will not have enough space, especially after formatting. Two 120GB SSD's in a RAID 0 config would offer blazing performance and would have enough disk space...
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  • crosariocrosario Posts: 4Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    LAN_Guru wrote: »
    The system requirements for Server 2008 R2 state that 32GB minimum free disk space is required. This applies to virtual machines as well as physical machines. The labs for AD-FS in the 70-640 book calls for at least four simultaneous server VM's. A 120GB SSD will not have enough space, especially after formatting. Two 120GB SSD's in a RAID 0 config would offer blazing performance and would have enough disk space...

    He could create a template VM with sysprep and then use Differencing Disks to save time and space while deploying multiple Server 2008 R2 VM's. I use this methodology on a regular basis while doing labs and most of the time can do a 4-6 VM lab using less than 30GB disk space.
  • kash79kash79 Posts: 4Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    LAN_Guru wrote: »



    3) At least 3 hard drives is ideal. That way, you can run the host OS on one drive and configure the other 2 drives in a RAID 0 for the VHD's. You will probably want at least 500GB on the RAID 0 to store the VHD's. Large SCSI/SAS drives are expensive. SATA is fine for a lab server.

    sorry to get back so late.

    I got my system at last. I have 2 500gb hard drives each 7200rpm with 16mb cache. Shall i buy a third hard drive of lower capacity ,say...80gb for os and boot purpose? Cant afford any ssd. Need to install Win 7 ultimate 64bit so please advise.
  • MentholMooseMentholMoose Senior Member Posts: 1,550Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    LAN_Guru wrote: »
    The system requirements for Server 2008 R2 state that 32GB minimum free disk space is required.
    An installation of Server 2008 R2 won't use 32GB, even after adding some roles. The 32GB requirement is not enforced and is safe to ignore in a lab environment.
    crosario wrote: »
    He could create a template VM with sysprep and then use Differencing Disks to save time and space while deploying multiple Server 2008 R2 VM's. I use this methodology on a regular basis while doing labs and most of the time can do a 4-6 VM lab using less than 30GB disk space.
    Definitely! By using linked-clones along with thin-provisioned disks, you can really get a lot of VMs onto an SSD. I have a 120GB SSD in my laptop and haven't found it too limiting. I have to pay attention to the free space but that is a small price to pay for the fantastic performance.
    kash79 wrote: »
    I got my system at last. I have 2 500gb hard drives each 7200rpm with 16mb cache. Shall i buy a third hard drive of lower capacity ,say...80gb for os and boot purpose? Cant afford any ssd. Need to install Win 7 ultimate 64bit so please advise.
    Install the OS on one of the 500GB drives. For now it should be fine. If/when you start running out of disk performance, you can buy another disk for the OS.
    MentholMoose
    LFCE - MCITP: EDA7, VA, SA, EA - MCSA:S 2003 - CCA (PVS 5, XD 3 / 4 / 5, XS 5 / 6) - VCP 4 / 5
  • bdubbdub Posts: 154Member
    ID10T# wrote: »
    So, I'm having a hard time setting up a lab with a windows 7 client.. Everytime I try to use an ISO, the Activation Periods expire on me. I can't get any lab work completed. icon_sad.gif

    Can you re-use Eval copies of win7/server for lab setups?

    You can rearm eval copies several times. I do this for both Win7 and 2008 R2 labs. Look below.

    Slmgr.vbs Options

    In short, open up a command prompt and do slmgr /rearm
    You can use slmgr /dlv to see how many rearms you have left.
  • demonfurbiedemonfurbie Posts: 1,819Member
    for a lab setup is it better to have more cores with less speed or less cores with more speed?

    im looking at a hexcore 2.8 amd over a quadcore i5 3.3, the price differance isnt all that much when the intel boards are cheaper than the amd ones i think over all id be paying about 20.00 more for the intel

    and is 16 gig of ram/1tb hard drive gonna cover the requirements for labbing id need for the mcitp:ea
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  • MentholMooseMentholMoose Senior Member Posts: 1,550Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    for a lab setup is it better to have more cores with less speed or less cores with more speed?

    im looking at a hexcore 2.8 amd over a quadcore i5 3.3, the price differance isnt all that much when the intel boards are cheaper than the amd ones i think over all id be paying about 20.00 more for the intel

    and is 16 gig of ram/1tb hard drive gonna cover the requirements for labbing id need for the mcitp:ea
    For MCITP: EA I think a quad-core CPU is enough, and 16GB will be great. A single 1TB hard drive probably won't cut it, though. The lab machine I used for the EA was a Core 2 Quad Q9500, 8GB DDR2, and 4x 250GB SATA drives in RAID 10, and the most limiting factor was almost always the disk performance.

    I'd go with a cheap quad-core AMD CPU and use the saving plus whatever you planned to spend on the 1TB drive and get a 120GB SSD instead. It will require a bit of effort to not run out of space, but IMO the performance is worth it. When the disk, CPU, and RAM are working in harmony, it is a beautiful thing. :D However, if you plan to use the machine for stuff besides labbing, the 120GB might be too small and thus not feasible.
    MentholMoose
    LFCE - MCITP: EDA7, VA, SA, EA - MCSA:S 2003 - CCA (PVS 5, XD 3 / 4 / 5, XS 5 / 6) - VCP 4 / 5
  • bdubbdub Posts: 154Member
    In my machine I have an
    i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz
    16gb of RAM
    x2 1tb drives mirrored
    x2 500gb drives striped
    x1 120gb OCZ Agility 2 SSD

    I'm running 2008 R2 as my OS with the Hyper-V role installed. I've got about 6-8 VM's that are on all the time and performance never seems to be an issue. All my VM's are stored on my two 500gb drives that are striped and they are all fixed disk VHD's. If I'm installing things on multiple VM's at the same time they can get a little slow but for the most part they perform just fine. Definitely a lot faster than when I was using VMware Workstation on this same machine.
  • GaberGaber Posts: 19Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Has anyone labbed a SAN environment? I'm looking to get some more hands on experience of creating data stores, LUNs etc. For e.g. a SAN with two front end servers, but im not really sure where to start hardware wise in regards to a SAN.
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