Lab setup

I am studying for my MCSA and VMware certificates. I want to setup a lab that will allow me to practice for them. What would you recommend? Windows Server 2012 - DC, DNS, DHCP a few windows machines.  Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
Technical InformationAsked:
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Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Windows server 2012 requires very little to boot and be useable. Officially, half a Gb of RAM and 32Gb HDD space is the minimum, however that would be a real pain to use.  A 5 year old desktop with 4Gb RAM and 200Gb of HDD space is more than enough for training. Probably easy enough to set up a simple lab for a few hundred $$s, using junk. I would go for several machines,

Microsoft will let you run 2012 as a "trial", with full functionality.
Technical InformationAuthor Commented:
Thank you Malmensa, I am purchasing a FS12-NV7 2U Rackmount server Dual AMD Quadcore with 64GB RAM for around £185 which will be more than adequate.

Regarding Server roles what would you setup on a test lab or would it just be install and test?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you need to also practice VMware, maybe you could use VMware ESXi as the main hypervisor to run all your VMs.

and then you can use the evaluations of VMware vSphere, and create Windows 2012 VMs, for AD, DNS, DHCP.

I would also look at AutoLab.

HOW TO: Set up a lab environment for vSAN using VMware Workstation

but use it with ESXi, see the Article.

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Technical InformationAuthor Commented:
Andrew - Just the information I require. I will have a look at Autolab.

Thanks mate
Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Install whatever roles you want to learn about!  You mentioned DC, DNS, DHCP, all of that is simple.

The server you are looking at is more than enough, but I would still look at having at least one separate, physical machine. A lot of things (including DHCP and DNS and  DC replication) don't really make a lot of sense stand alone. You COULD leverage virtual machines, but I would still advise a physical server and workstation.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You then have a choice, of using your server with either

1. A Windows OS with VMware Player or VMware Workstation and AutoLab.

2. Windows 2012 Hyper-V (but this will not allow the use of VMware vSphere).

3. VMware vSphere (ESXi) on the Bare Metal and AutoLab, which can use Windows 2012 and Hyper-V
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