I Need Some Help Creating a Test Environment

I need some advise!  We are in the process of implenting a new ERP software package.  The developer of the ERP software is writing an intregration package that will allow their ERP software to have bi-directional communication with our Microsoft Dynamics CRM software.  Since they are writing this for us I definitly want to test out exactly how this integration will work before we implement it into our live production servers.

At first, I took some old hardware and installed VMWare ESXi on one of the boxes.  I then created three virtual machines...a domain controller, CRM server and SQL server since our production environment uses three seperate servers for these tasks.  Within the VMs, I created a new domain and so forth.  Then it occured to me that my approach may not work because none of my Active Directory users and other other info are in the newly created domain.  So I had to reevaluate everything that I was trying to do and I have come here for some help.

How can I create a test environment that matches our current setup?  Should I image the servers move those images into my test environment?  If I image these servers, can I still use VMs in my test environment or do I need a box for each and every server that I am trying to replicate?  

Any and all suggestions are very appreciated.  This is the first time that I have had to setup a test environment that duplicates our production environment and I am at a loss on how to do this.
csimmons1324IT ManagerAsked:
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Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
You're basically just looking for a proof of concept.  I would create some dummy users that is a subset of your main in your current VM setup.

I wouldn't image the servers so there's no confusion and this way you know for sure that it's only talking to test.  

Make sure you throw in some tricky names like O'brian and O'Reilly-Smith.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's quite simple.....

P2V the servers you need in your virtual environment. For a Test and Dev Environment it's quite safe to P2V "Production" Domain Controllers, providing you P2V them at approx the same time. (and why I say at approx the same time is so they are in SYNC!)

P2V them into your ESXi environment, and then Create a Virtual Switch,. vSwitch1, which does not have a NIC to the outside world, e.g. NO PHYSICAL NIC, and create a Virtual Machine Portgroup to use this vSwitch.

You will be able to manage your test environment fully using vSphere Client. (upload and download files using floppy images or cdrom ISOs, build with Magic ISO).

This is what we do.......and we capture of Production DCs and Customers DC's weekly for test and dev work.

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