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Building home lab/ ISO files

Hi

I am trying to learn for my MS certs and am building a virtual lab at home that will have:

Windows 2008 Server
Exchange 2010
AD 2008
Lync 2010
Citrix

I've got a x64 hardware server (Proliant model) from ebay. I'd like to have VMware installed on here so that I can install the virtua servers.

I've downloaded VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5 from the VM site in the form of an ISO file.

I also have Windows 2008 Server in the form of an ISO file.

The rest of the stuff I have in the form of EXE files.

Some questions -

i. What's the best way to install ESXi onto the server
ii. What's the best way to install Windows 2008 Server
iii. There's going to be quite a few different servers I need to install, is there a way to copy some sort of Server template so I don't have to keep building the different 2008 servers (which will be time-consuming)
iv. I was thinking of having the DC and Exchange 2010 Server on the same virtual server, any reason not to do this for lab purposes?
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neil4933
Asked:
neil4933
3 Solutions
 
Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
What's the best way to install Windows 2008 Server - Best way to install is to simply install it make it a DC\GC with DNS ... all required very much rest depends on your needs (Along with Support Tools)

There's going to be quite a few different servers I need to install, is there a way to copy some sort of Server template so I don't have to keep building the different 2008 servers (which will be time-consuming) - Simple once you have the first machine installed with W2k8 stop the Machine and make copies of the VHD but the only issue would be that the Server instance would have some conflicting data -- I guess the tool is called Sysprep

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd440865(v=WS.10).aspx

Run Sysprep to generalize the image before using a VHD for native boot on a different computer. Sysprep generalize prepares a Windows image that is installed on a physical partition or on a native boot VHD that is to be used on another computer. After you run Sysprep, you can copy the VHD to multiple physical computers or virtual machines for native boot. During the first boot from the VHD, Windows completes the specialize configuration pass to detect the hardware devices and initializes Windows to run on the new computer
I was thinking of having the DC and Exchange 2010 Server on the same virtual server, any reason not to do this for lab purposes? - This is more of Production recomendations but if its lab all is fine

- Rancy
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Nagendra Pratap SinghCommented:
Single Server will not help much. You would need a SAN /iscisi device too.

That said, this should help.
i. What's the best way to install ESXi onto the server

Well install this in VMware workstation.

ii. What's the best way to install Windows 2008 Server
You need to learn all 3-4 ways. CD, WDS etc.


iii. There's going to be quite a few different servers I need to install, is there a way to copy some sort of Server template so I don't have to keep building the different 2008 servers (which will be time-consuming)
Yes. VMware workstation and others offer this.

iv. I was thinking of having the DC and Exchange 2010 Server on the same virtual server, any reason not to do this for lab purposes?
In LAB anything goes. Actually SBS does exactly the same in production

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Small_Business_Server#Features_unique_to_Small_Business_Server
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
i. Download the VMware ESXi 5.0 from the HP Site for your HP Server, this will allow you to monitor the HP hardware.

and then install VMware ESXi 5.0 to USB or SD card on the server, this will allow you to use ALL the hard disk as storage space, you will need to use Smart Array Configuration to create a RAID 5 or RAID 10 raid array for your datastore.

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.0 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784

ii. Upload the Windows 2008 ISO, Create a new Virtual Machine boot from the ISO.

iii. You probably do not have access to vCenter Server (which is not free), but 60 day trials are available which will allow you to create a standard Windows 2008 template and deploy it for lots of servers.

otherwise follow my EE Article to complete this step manually.

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

iv. This is acceptable, providing you have the resources, e.g. memory and storage space.

Also see here, which may be want you want:-

vSphere 5.0 AutoLab by Alastair Cooke

I would also recommend looking at vSphere 5.0 AutoLabby fellow vExpert - Alastair Cooke
 
What is the AutoLab?

The AutoLab is a quick easy way to build a vSphere environment for  testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware  Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC,  even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

 Take a look over at ProfessionalVMware for details of how to get started with building your own vSphere 5 AutoLab.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Keep in mind, you don't need ESX - you COULD use Hyper-V.  It's definitely a good thing to learn ESX, but Hyper-V is a valid competitor and its use is growing and will grow with Windows 8/Server 2012.
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