managed switch install and config

I want to purchase a managed switch to do some training with.  I was wondering if anyone could recommend a cheap switch (maybe HP) that I could use to setup on my network.  I have had others outside consultants install and config our switches and I want to try my hand at it.  Maybe an 8 port?  Right now we have to 48 port HP 1920 switches.
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Configuring managed switch is vendor dependent, so buying switch need to be done accordingly (and need to support options that you want to learn). The other way would be virtualization (GNS3, packet tracer, UNL, EVE etc) so you don't have to buy switch at all.  Even HP has several series of switches that use different syntax (Comware vs ProVision vs Cisco). But most important is to learn how technology works. HP has/had some VirtualBox (for exact version of Virtual box) virtualization for download.

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