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Thread: Home lab

  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #1

    Default Home lab

    Hello all

    I am working my way up the ladder of certifications at the moment. I do realise I need a home lab to master the tech. I do not know what I need hardware wise. I might have gotten a overkill..

    I want to use this machine as a Hyper-V host with some virtual machines running on it to get my server certs (MCSA 2012) and maybe MCSE 2012 aswel

    I have about 1000 euro's to spend. This is what I came up with:

    1 x Intel® Core™ i5-4460, 3,2 GHz (3,4 GHz Turbo Boost) 1150 processor HW5I27 € 186,90*
    1 x be quiet! Pure Power L8 300W, 300 Watt voeding TN3V2L00 € 44,99*
    1 x Antec ISK600M, behuizing TDIA07 € 79,90*
    1 x Crucial MX100 CT128MX100SSD1, 128 GB SSD IMHMCP € 68,90*
    1 x Crucial BX100, 500 GB SSD IMJMCQ € 182,90*
    1 x MSI H97M-ECO, socket 1150 moederbord GWIM47 € 91,90*
    1 x GeIL 32 GB DDR3-1333 Quad-Kit, geheugen IFIF83JK € 254,-*

    the SSD's are cheapest I could find of reasonable size.
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  3. NOC Manager / Instructor bohack's Avatar
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    #2
    MadDonkey,

    That looks to be a lightning fast machine... May I suggest an alternative? To have a Hyper-V box dedicated to Hyper-V is somewhat a waste of money. Today's home labs can run all virtualizalized... I myself run a Hyper-V at home, but it is my main server running pfsense for my cable routing and it has 8TB of Storage Space / Storage Pool for the family's movies and music. It's not a lab box and not even close to your specs.. 8Gb of RAM and i3 CPU, again it was built for a specific purpose of running two VMs and storage.

    An alternative is to invest in your main PC... i5, i7, personally I run an AMD 8350 because of price. 16GB of RAM at 1666 and a gaming mother board. My main hard drive is a magnetic 7200k 1TB and my fast drive is a Samsung 840 EVO. Look at the specs of the cheap SSDs, I wouldn't settle for anything other than 6GB/s SATA and 80,000 IOPs also 256GB if you can afford it.

    Once built buy a copy of VMware Workstation 10 or higher and follow this tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG3vXlo2q7M. It is basically how I teach classes, mock up POC at work and make videos for the NetworkedMinds channel on YouTube. It's lightning fast and allow you to do Hyper-V nested inside of VMware. This gives you the ability to switch back and forth from applications instead of PCs. Like following video tutorials for labs or reading Technet articles.

    Bohack
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    I would venture away from Hyper-V and go with a VMware Shell. Nothing against Hyper-V but it still resided inside of Windows and can be slow. You'd have more use with a VMware ESXi 5.5 (heck even in the free version) and use that as your husk for testing.

    Plus, I know from experience, you can then host, like I do, 4 different windows domains and have them all talk to each other as if it different networks and really watch or screw up your site-to-site replication and AD functions. The labbing possibilities for MCSA are much for deep if you use ESXi at the core vs Hyper-V.

    If you need help or ideas you can bounce over to my blog @ www.G15IT.com and see how I got things setup. If you have questions just reply here myself or others can provide insight.

    Also if you want to get VMware software for your home cluster, VMUG Advantage offer Licensed yearly software for $200 for vSphere, vCenter, and vROps. it's a great deal and if you get serious about home labbing it's a great perk!

    VMUG : EVALExperience
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  5. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Thanks for the quick and helpful replies!

    I have a laptop as my private computer and will receive a laptop from my employer soon. So that will help with watching tutorials and work on the home lab at the same time.

    At work we only use Hyper-V. We don't use VMware at all. So I want to use Hyper-V as much as I can. To get the hands-on experience as much as I can.

    The difference in speed between cheaper and more expensive SSD's doesn't make up for the higher price in my opinion, this might change after the build

    I am glad I could do with a lot less CPU power and RAM. I want to use this machine for a while. I think it is wise to make the investment now and have a solid machine that will last for some certs instead of spending more and more money on it. This way I might be able to get a nice tax deduction at the end of the year!
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  6. NOC Manager / Instructor bohack's Avatar
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    #5
    Never a problem... As for the Hyper-V you can run that nested inside of the VMware workstation... I do it all the time. You just won't be able to run Windows 7 inside Hyper-V inside VMware. But I've managed to install other lighter OSs like XP and they run meh... Hyper-V all comes down to the configuration of replication and Windows Failover Cluster Services. Just a thought...
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MadDonkey View Post
    Thanks for the quick and helpful replies!

    I have a laptop as my private computer and will receive a laptop from my employer soon. So that will help with watching tutorials and work on the home lab at the same time.

    At work we only use Hyper-V. We don't use VMware at all. So I want to use Hyper-V as much as I can. To get the hands-on experience as much as I can.

    The difference in speed between cheaper and more expensive SSD's doesn't make up for the higher price in my opinion, this might change after the build

    I am glad I could do with a lot less CPU power and RAM. I want to use this machine for a while. I think it is wise to make the investment now and have a solid machine that will last for some certs instead of spending more and more money on it. This way I might be able to get a nice tax deduction at the end of the year!
    I got over a grand for my home lab from taxes.
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    Anyone have any tips/guides on creating an awesome lab using Virtual Box on a Macbook Pro? I have a TB drive and trying to plan out specs for domain controllers, and other services. Working on MCSA/MCSE right now so current Windows tech is key.
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  9. Senior Member JeanM's Avatar
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    #8
    Look at the specs needed for each MS server instance based on it's roles, you can always re-size the allocated ram/hdd as needed anyway

    I usually give my test/lab server 2008 boxes about 40-80gb depending on their function, if it's for sql or exchange or wsus or sccm it's much much more than that.

    Having enough ram is key, and SSD helps a lot.
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    So far I was able to make a nice master reference image for Windows 7. Dang, every time I patched it up and rebooted, there would be another 10 patches to download. Then Id reboot, and 5 more. Sheesh..

    But I got Win7 x64 for clients as a linked clone in VirtualBox. I also created a template for a Win 2008 R2 Server and cloned that. I promoted 1 to a domain controller, but thats as far as I got. I need to play with VBox networking setting to get the virtual machines all to have a working virtual LAN configuration and can use their own services.

    Since I have a 1TB hard drive, disk space isnt the biggest issue. But I have 16Gb of RAM, much of which the Mac uses. Keeping RAM available so far has been tricky.
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