MCSA/MCSE - Windows Server 2012 - Home Lab suggestions

MichaelD95MichaelD95 Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
So I will be more than likely passing my MTA soon, in the near future and have got my eyes set on doing MCSA then progressing to MCSE

My question is, what home lab would you recommend? Like the devices and layout, I will however be using Azure or VMWare before I go out spending. Money isn't my primary concern, provided the lab will be a sub £3000, if it is above then I will be continuing to invest until I reach the needed amount, I've always been a 'shiner' when it comes to theoretical, however I have no practical hands on. Well with the exclusion of Account Management and Group Policy in AD.


  • BGravesBGraves Member Posts: 339
    Well, getting some free copies of Server 2012 to learn on obviously. Might as well start with R2 since that just came out and the exam questions will probably shift to reflect it.
    Windows Server 2012 R2 | Microsoft

    As for hardware, if you're going virtual this is much easier. Build a machine with a large amount of ram so you can run multiple virtual machines at the same time. Plenty of internet advice you can google regarding this.
    If you're going physical server hardware, you'll probably want to find some deals on ebay or etc, or a local comp shop that has a few laying around at a decent price. And of course, a switch. I really don't recommend the physical route unless you really feel you need to.

    Generally you're going to want to aim for things like:
    2 Domain controllers - Redundancy, seeing how replication works, Account generation, etc.
    File server - Setting up file shares/ permissions/etc
    Print server- The biggest pain in the butt ever, you could probably skip this and be ok as it's more real world and less exam tested.
    General use server for other technologies, NPS, Certificates, etc.

    Generally my process is install a base image and update, copy/snapshot, add roles and features desired and play around with, restore and repeat.
    I haven't spent much time with Azure, mostly VmWare and some Hyper-V.
    If you want to pursue the MCSE level, you're probably also going to want to get familiar with SCCM/Hyper-V.
    Second shots available for these exams till next may I believe, google to be sure.
    Good luck!
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