Migration Coming up, would like to practice in a virtual enviroment

So we have a SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 Migration coming up soon and it will be my first migration. I have been pouring over the guides (thank you Demazter!) and while i feel more prepared than i was, i would love to practice this in a virtual enviroment. I'm not familier with VMware so i'm curious where i would start? should i just go download the trial of VMware vsphere? or am i over thinking it? Any insight would be appreciated.
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Glen KnightCommented:
It all depends what resources you have available.

VMWare Server is no longer available.  I'm not familiar with VMWare player so don't know what functionality this will give you.

I use VMWare workstation for all my testing but that is a paid offering.

The other option is Hyoer-V if you have a Windows Server you can "play" with.

Alternatively something like VirtualBox: https://www.virtualbox.org/
Download the trial and practise your migration.

Makes sense to me
use Windows Server 2008 R2 (or a trial of Windows 2008 R2) and install the Hyper-V role.  Create virtual machines using Hyper-V and install the test OSes in the virtual machines.

However, you'll need a lot of RAM in your test machine.  You'll need at least 4 GB of RAM for an SBS 2011 installation.  You'll want at least 1 GB in your SBS 2003 installation.  Assuming both virtual machines are on the same server, you'll need at least 6 GB of RAM (5 GB for the two virtual machines and 1 GB unassigned in Hyper-V that will be used by the host OS).

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You could practice using:-

1. VMware Player 4.0 or VMware Workstation 8.0 as the Hypervisors. If yiou have access to a spare server, which is on the Hardware Compatibility list you could use VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)

VMware Player 4.0 Free Download

VMware Workstation 8.0 (60 day trial, $199)

VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)

2. VMware vCenter Converter to "Copy" the Servers you wish to play with. We call this P2V - Physical to Virtual Conversion.

I would recommend and use VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0 or 4.3.

Download VMware vCenter Converter 5.0 here
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0 Documentation
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0 User Guide

Download VMware vCenter Converter 4.3 here
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 Documentation
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide

If you have issues, you may want to consult the following articles and guides

Read fellow Expert Bestway's article.

Best Practice Video Guide here

Some Videos I've develeoped for Experts Exchange

A Tutorial video by me:- Restore a Virtual Machine using the FREE VMware vCenter Converter to VMware vSphere 4.x, 5.0 ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.0, ESX 4.0

A Tutorial video by me:- Backup VMware vSphere 4.x, 5.0 ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.0, ESX 4.0 for FREE using VMware vCenter Converter

A Tutorial video by me:- VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Process at work

A Tutorial video by me:- VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0 Convert monolithic sparse to monolithic flat for use with VMware vSphere 4.x 5.0 ESXi 4.x 5.0
JoemtAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for the input i really appreciate it. This migration has me pretty nervous so any help is welcome. i will look over the information you guys have provided and if i have any questions will let you know. This is a great starting point.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems, Happy Vmware Year to you. You should be able to completely "mock-up" your Migration in the Lab using VMware.

and then test, test, test and test again......that should then give you the confidence to go forward and do it live on the production server equipment.
JoemtAuthor Commented:
So i need to install the VM stuff on a spare server? I cant do it inside my laptop? What about the VMwareGO? is that an option? i just want to play around with this stuff for a bit. I guess i could setup a new server and install it on it...
it doesn't need to be a server.  It can be any machine.  But as I noted, if you want to create a virtual machine with 4 GB of RAM - you'll need at least 5 GB of RAM in the computer itself.  You'll be assigning 4 GB to the virtual machine and you'll need 1 GB to run the host OS (the OS that is not a virtual machine).  Hyper-V is super easy.  Download and install Win 2008 R2 64 (even on a machine that doesn't have >4 GB of RAM).  Install the hyper-v role.  You'll see how easy it is to create a virtual machine and assign resources to it.  But the issue is assigning resources to it.  In order to assign enough resources to an SBS 2011 virtual machine, you'll need 5 GB of RAM or more in the machine where you're installing Win 2008 R2 with the hyper-v role.
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