Need advice on setting up a home lab

evoxdcevoxdc CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, Microsoft Azure FundamentalsPosts: 22Member ■■■□□□□□□□
I recently passed the 70-682 and obtained my MCITP: EDST. A skin by my teeth pass indeed, I feel I may be coming to the limits of what I can do without a proper readily available testing environment. Recently took an intro to SharePoint Learning Tree course for work and now I am very interested in learning more about SharePoint and to that end I want to learn about Windows Server. I have a MSDN: AA / Dreamspark account and have already downloaded the iso for SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013.

I have a self-built desktop currently configured as a triple-boot system running Windows 7 Ultimate (partially corrupted) and 8 Pro that running off a hybrid drive, and a yet to be configured Server 2008 R2 image off an ssd. I recently upgraded the ram, by maxing out the board at 24 GB. I'd like to setup a proper environment to help with working towards the MCSA: Server 2012 path and ultimately to MCSE: SharePoint. I'm also interested in getting my virtualization muscles trained as well and would love to hear any suggestions that my peers have to offer.

Thanks for reading my post!
Considering Studying: MCSA Server 2012 (70-410/411/412), Linux+
Reviewing: Java, C++, Reading up on Networking theory, Algorithms and general programming
Studying: the color of my ceiling, taking a break
Working on: Getting finances together. Personal programming project planning. Mental Detox before I have meltdown ;)
Completed: M.S. in Information Systems Management[/b] w/ a focus on Systems Tools and Information Security

Comments

  • EssendonEssendon Posts: 4,548Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I'd install VMware Workstation on the desktop and create VM's inside of it. Or you can go with VirtualBox, which is a free software. Both do the job for labbing purposes, Workstation just has some more tweaks available. Workstation costs a bit of money (something like $130), VirtualBox/VirtualPC are free. Any of these will work for a home lab. What vendor's virtualization technology do you want to go with? Hyper-v or vSphere? Or even Oracle OVM?

    There are abundant threads about creating a home lab for similar purposes to yours. Take a peek at them and thou shalt be enlightened! Let us know if you have specific questions.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • evoxdcevoxdc CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Posts: 22Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the quick reply Essendon. :) I'm actually in the process of tracking down a posting that i remember seeing late last week where someone had detailed setting up VHD's and creating a baseline server image that they could reuse for their lab environment, I was hoping to compare the process against some other threads. I'm sorry if it seems like haven't tried searching here, I like to lurk on this board reading through other's threads rather than post, but I find myself still having questions as I try to figure how cross the gap of my lack of knowledge from the desktop to the server.

    I've played around with VMware workstation 6 & 7 on my desktop at work and I like it aside from some weird networking issues related to the VMware tools needing to be updated and the host hanging somewhat while the two client VM's were loaded. I tried VirtualBox for a few days on the desktop before I had to RMA the motherboard and later re-image the drive, it seemed ok, but the OS X VM that I cobbled together crapped out after performing some updates and I just left it at that.

    I'd be curious to try out Hyper-V, non-bare metal as the brief explanation that I came across made me balk. As it is, the brief bit of server core that I've seen in the early part of my cbnuggets videos definitely tells me I need to get hands on with this kind of stuff in a safe environment.

    I'm pretty open to the technologies, my co-workers have been suggesting the Hyper-V route as we are going in that direction. I've seen more than a few posts of people using Workstation or ESX, but I think my decision would probably come down to what is it that the industry is using? Speaking to Workstation, I may be able to get it with my student discount, but I wanted to hear how people who may or may not be actively using post-testing felt before I shell out the cash.
    I like where I'm at now, but if I had to find a new job which of these technologies is more widely used today ? Also, which has the best support structure for a solely Windows Server Domain environment or a blended Windows Server / Linux setup?

    Additionally, as I would like to keep this environment well after my testing is done I'm a tad confused about the licensing as it was mentioned that the key may expire. I'd like use it to work on some database driven apps after I'm no longer a student and want the best bang for the buck so I don't go broke while trying to make it big. ;)

    Thanks again.
    Considering Studying: MCSA Server 2012 (70-410/411/412), Linux+
    Reviewing: Java, C++, Reading up on Networking theory, Algorithms and general programming
    Studying: the color of my ceiling, taking a break
    Working on: Getting finances together. Personal programming project planning. Mental Detox before I have meltdown ;)
    Completed: M.S. in Information Systems Management[/b] w/ a focus on Systems Tools and Information Security
  • EssendonEssendon Posts: 4,548Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    As for which virualization technology a company would use, it depends. If they are a small(ish) company supporting SMB type customers, they'd be likely using Hyper-v. A larger company could be using VMware vSphere or a combination of the two or more. The company I work for is pretty large global business, and there's a mix of vSphere, Hyper-v, OVM, Citrix Xen and others. But I reckon if you did a keyword search for VMware, you'll probably get many more hits than you would for Hyper-v/Citrix put together. That should give you an idea, however both Citrix and MS virtualization products are steadily eating into VMware's market share.

    The licensing for Workstation is permanent, just download trial copies of the various OS's and you'll be fine. AFAIK, MS trials are good for 180 days, Windows 8 is 90 days (I believe?). Do all your stuff within Workstation, that way even if a trial version ran out, just blow away the VM and start afresh. You can extend the trial for most MS evals, I've been using 2008 R2 trial as my desktop OS for over 2 years, I just keep extending the trial by 180 days every time. When I can't extend it anymore, I'll just reinstall or go Windows 8.

    When I labbed up for the VCP and VCAP, I installed ESXi 5 as the base OS and nested ESXi inside of it and the VM's ran inside of those nested ESXi's. No problems at all, a few things wont work but you can easily live without them. For a more vendor neutral setup, just use Workstation and you can nest ESXi inside. Just depends on what you want to do really.

    While labbing up for the MCSE: Private Cloud, I just installed Win 2012 as the base OS and added the Hyper-v role. I created VM's for the various System Center roles and there were no problems.

    Hope this helps.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • evoxdcevoxdc CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Posts: 22Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    It definitely helps, I went ahead and purchased a copy of VMware Workstation 9 while I was a work yesterday. I can see with their prices why someone would want to go the bundled route, they want you buy a minimum of 10 licenses to get the support & subscription option. The current $150 option went from $311 to ~$3000 icon_sad.gif .

    I think I'm going to go the Nesting route. I'm now going to be in search of a proper book, but from what I've been reading it seems the stuff that is currently available for purchase isn't 100% accurate in some areas.

    Thanks for your suggestions here and in some of the other threads that I've come across under this topic.
    Considering Studying: MCSA Server 2012 (70-410/411/412), Linux+
    Reviewing: Java, C++, Reading up on Networking theory, Algorithms and general programming
    Studying: the color of my ceiling, taking a break
    Working on: Getting finances together. Personal programming project planning. Mental Detox before I have meltdown ;)
    Completed: M.S. in Information Systems Management[/b] w/ a focus on Systems Tools and Information Security
  • gabyprgabypr Posts: 136Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    If you are going to study for the MCSA or MCSE 2012 you will have to rely on various sources of information. Currently the books Exam Ref are not very complete and doesnt provide exercises to practice properly. You will have to rely on CBTNuggets or Trainsignal, Technet and a Book. Good luck!!!
    EC-Council Master in Security Science M.S.S [Done]

    Reading Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam prep by Sohel Akhter
  • jonny72jonny72 Posts: 68Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I still don't get why anyone thinks that using VMware for a lab, to study for Microsoft certs that cover Hyper-V is a good idea. It isn't.

    Sure, in the real world VMware rules the waves (at present). But if the cert exam is testing you on Hyper-V, you should be using it in your lab.
  • gabyprgabypr Posts: 136Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    jonny72 wrote: »
    I still don't get why anyone thinks that using VMware for a lab, to study for Microsoft certs that cover Hyper-V is a good idea. It isn't.

    Sure, in the real world VMware rules the waves (at present). But if the cert exam is testing you on Hyper-V, you should be using it in your lab.

    That was exactly what I did. I purchased a Windows 8 Pro to be able to use the Hyper-V client to create my virtual lab. Many questions for Windows Server 2012 rely on Hyper-V itself.
    EC-Council Master in Security Science M.S.S [Done]

    Reading Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam prep by Sohel Akhter
  • discount81discount81 Posts: 213Member
    I used to use ESX on my home lab server, and had a separate NAS box with iSCSI to store the VMs.

    However when I began studying Server 2012 I wiped ESX, installed a Standard version of Server 2012, (I used VMware workstation as I was too lazy to convert all my VMs to Hyper-V).
    Setup a pool of storage with all my NAS disks and now run Server 2012 as a File Server/Hypervisor

    Obviously bare metal Hypervisor is a better option, but I wanted a file server and hypervisor in 1 box so I could save space and power.
    http://www.darvilleit.com - a blog I write about IT and technology.
Sign In or Register to comment.