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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default What's the best way to setup home lab for studying MCSA?

    Azure? AWS?
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  3. There is no spoon. p@r0tuXus's Avatar
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    #2
    In a study class I participated in, the teachers used VMware and based the vm's off the Wiley lab-book. Which means typos and all.
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  4. Burn Baby Burn! Cisco Inferno's Avatar
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    #3
    If you have some ram on your home pc (better yet a sep box), and a router capable of port forwarding, Do what I do and RDP from anywhere.

    You just need.

    1) a Bridged adapter VM of 2012r2 running Hyper-v role. so that it has an IP on your network.

    2) maybe 16gb ram available for it.

    3) Always on cable/fiber connection

    4) Router capable of port forwarding port 3389 (RDP) packets received on your WAN IP to your local IP of your VM. You can change this port in the registry and the forwarding.

    5) Since your ISP dynamically assigns your an external IP, you need something to track those changes so you aren't remembering numbers when you want to lab from outside. Look into NO-IP.com. free service with a client updater on your pc. All i remember is "myname.ddns.net".

    basically i use this for my GNS3 server for Cisco, and Hyper-V server, and some file sharing stuff. I just have port forwarding on my router so that specific layer 4 protocols forward to the right IP address on the network.


    If youre not into that, just do the same as above and use the local IP address to console in/rdp into.

    Start with one DC and one Client first and expand from there. Theres also a free Azure trial for a month, and free labs on CBT Nuggets for 7 days. Theres also free labs on MS virtual labs but they kind of have no structure for certification.
    2017 Goals
    [x] MCSA: Server 2012 [X]70-410 [X]70-411 [x]74-409

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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    If you don't a box where you can install Hyper-V, then pick your favorite VM environment. For the 410 you can really get by with less than 10 VMs with no more than 5 needing to be run at any given time. A system with 12-16GB of RAM should be able to handle this pretty well, especially if you utilize dynamic memory.

    For the MCSA I highly recommend running Hyper-V somewhere. Little pieces of Hyper-V show up throughout the MCSA and you can almost check off a lot of the labbing for Hyper-V by just running Hyper-V for your lab.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
    2018 Goals: Security+
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    Thanks for the replies. Because I don't have much space left at home, so I'm thinking of getting some cloud service to host all the VMs as lab. Is it possible?
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    Azure, AWS, Google... the list goes on all have VMs you can use but you may miss out on some of the experience. It can also get pricey and requires a lot of micro management to keep the VMs spun down unless you need them.

    Does your home computer run Windows 10? Does it have more than 8GB of RAM? If so, you can install Hyper-V in Windows 10 and use that. If you don't have both of those, look at VirtualBox and perhaps look at upgrading your RAM.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
    2018 Goals: Security+
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    I've done all of my labbing on an old Dell Optiplex 755 with 8GB DDR2, never had any reason to have more than 5 VMs (512MB RAM a piece) running at a time and they've always ran comfortably.. apart from the one time I messed up the whole environment after playing around with RRAS/DHCP and the network traffic became uncontrollable.
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    I have one of those too! Though I managed to cram 12GB into it.

    8GB on a dedicated machine is actually pretty good for a starter lab. When I was doing my 412 stuff that would have stretched it but I could have made it work.

    If you are using your desktop with Hyper-V, VirtualBox, or VMWare Workstation you may want to go above 8GB as just the regular stuff in the background may eat up more RAM than you would think. My system right now is at 6.6GB/16GB and that is mostly due to the 5000 tabs I have open as I study. Also, Windows reserves a bit more than it needs sometimes.

    In short - 8GB on even a dual use system will work but you may have some struggles.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
    2018 Goals: Security+
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    I suppose I should mention that the only thing really running on my lab machine is the host OS(ubuntu) plus virtualbox. I have another PC next to it to have technet and my study guides open. So yeah if you have everything running on one machine then you do need more memory than 8GB, but I think for a dedicated lab machine 8GB probably will suffice, although I have only ran 2008 R2/Windows 7 VMs, and presumably 2012/Windows 8 require a bit more in terms of resources.
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