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  1. Member
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    Default Anyone using MS Hands-on Labs for study?

    Is anyone using MS Hands-on Labs for study, rather than building a home lab? I know that for other vendors the hands on labs have got to a point where they can be used without the large expenditure that a home lab may incur, but wasn't sure if the MS ones were usable in the same way.
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  3. Member
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    #2
    whilst the cost of building a home lab can be quite expensive when it comes to the likes of cisco or juniper studies. the microsoft ones are suprisingly cheap to do.

    for example, i have the following setup:

    AMD FX-8350 8 core CPU
    32GB of RAM
    512GB - 2 x 256GB hard drives in RAID 0 (need the IOPS)
    Windows 10 pro.

    this is the PC i built as a gaming computer back in the day... but still serving me well as a lab computer. can run 6+ VM's in hyperV with minimal impact in performance and responsiveness

    a system similar in spec to this now would be really cheap if you bought pre-owned, and definitely less than $1000 if you bought all-new parts.

    this system is likely to be able to run ANY windows server labs that i throw at it for the forseeable future. hope that helps
    Current Certifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, Microsoft MCTS 70-640
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    Microsoft does offer some labs but they aren't necessarily comprehensive, and I found them to be a little buggy. I highly suggest building a homelab of some kind, even if it is something simple.
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/.../bb467605.aspx

    I did use the Boson virtual labs in the past for the 70-412 and found them a little helpful. They did offer packs for the full exam content but they weren't cheap.

    If you have a decent computer (16GB of RAM recommended; 8GB the minimum) you could run a local Hypervisor (Windows 10 Pro will allow for Hyper-V, otherwise look at VirtualBox). 8GB should be enough to run a couple of VMs and get through the first couple of tests before you'd need a little more juice.

    The last thing I could suggest is to look into using Azure VMs. This will incur a cost but if you are in the free trial period you can get a lot done in 30 days before you have to pay. Just make sure and be proactive about powering your VMs off if you aren't using them. Also, try to set your VMs in testing mode, it makes them cost a little less and ruins the SLA on them.
    2017 Goals: MCSA : Server 2016; MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure BOTH COMPLETED!
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  5. Member
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    #4
    I found Azure HOL are pretty cool:
    https://www.microsoft.com/handsonlabs/SelfPacedLabs
    They are enough to build base of Azure knowledge without paying for Subscription.
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  6. Senior Member stunnedsoup's Avatar
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by poolmanjim View Post
    Microsoft does offer some labs but they aren't necessarily comprehensive, and I found them to be a little buggy. I highly suggest building a homelab of some kind, even if it is something simple.
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/.../bb467605.aspx
    I agree here. Anything GP related I do on my personal lab (VMware Workstation w/ 2012 R2 evals + Win 10 evals). I can never get GP to work how I want it to in the TechNet labs. Albeit, they're great for using at work during my lunch break or if I'm away. I mainly use these to explore and get familiar with features/settings/tabs/etc. But, I just feel more "in control" with my home lab. I'll create random scenarios in my head and try to lab it at home. Also, if you break something with your home lab you are forced to fix it, whereas the online HOL you can just restart whenever you want.

    Quote Originally Posted by duta74 View Post
    I found Azure HOL are pretty cool:
    https://www.microsoft.com/handsonlabs/SelfPacedLabs
    They are enough to build base of Azure knowledge without paying for Subscription.
    Thanks for sharing this. I never saw this until now. This can be very helpful.
    Cisco: CCENT [] CCNA [] || MCSE: 70-410 [] 70-411 [ ] 74-409 [] 70-534 [ ] || VMWare: VCP [ ]
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  7. Self-Described Huguenot blargoe's Avatar
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    #6
    They are a nice supplement, but do not give you enough hands-on by themselves to pass the certification tests, in my experience. I still recommend doing them.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 3/22/2017 - Passed Microsoft 70-412; 2/11/2017 - Completed VCP6-DCV (passed 2V0-621)
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  8. Burn Baby Burn! Cisco Inferno's Avatar
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    #7
    Sure they are locked to 2 hours each without saving, but if you do some of the more advanced labs, you'll have the number of servers you want with full access to install roles, and work with what you have.

    Its cheaper and convenient and isnt an emulation. CBT Nuggests uses the same systems but actually dumb it down for the exam topics. with the MS official labs they are set for particular tasks which do count for exams. Things like a failover clustering lab, or a migration lab. Things people want at work.

    I do the same thing with my Cisco CCNP lab subscription. Use it for CCNP courses at uni, and use it for complex CCNA topics as I am due for a recert soon
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