During the start-up charter of my Scriptimus Ex Machina(yeah, pretentious but I had a plan) it was my intention to create in-depth guides on Test Labs as they are the foundation of all IT, from training to Proof of Concepts. Anyway, it turns out that Microsoft had beaten me to the punch.
There is a Wiki and blog surrounding Microsofts Test Lab Guides. There’s a Base Configuration guide that gives a blow by blow walkthrough to creating a Test Lab Base Configuration. It sounds basic and it is except it is such a powerful foundation for your training labs. This is the network diagram:
The Base Configuration has a DC with ADDS, DNS, DHCP and ADCS. It starts with a Domain Controller with a Certificate Authority and a fully functional Public Key Infrastructure. There is a corporate network and an internet network for testing technologies such as DirectAccess and Forefront etc. You also have a server that spans both networks emulating a DMZ.
After you create and snapshot your base configuration, you can download guides to build and test your technology. This includes everything from SCCM, Exchange, SQL, Remote Desktop to the entire System Centre range. Wow!
There are over 100 test lab guides currently. There are LAB guides from Microsoft and others produced by community members. I may knock one up myself when I get a chance.
Now, I’ve produced my own labs for years using my own blueprints and hydration kits but this base configuration is so impressive and sparks so many ideas and possibility’s that I have adopted it as the base configuration for my own labs. For anyone who works with Microsoft systems I would recommend downloading the guides and using them as a foundation to building your labs.