Beginner Help: Home VM Environment Lab

I'm looking to configure a VM lab where I can install separate OS's for development testing and learning but I'm not sure what is the best setup for this. I'm running Windows 10 and have a 1TB external hard drive i'm planning to use as storage for the VMs. I just need a low-key personal lab but need some direction to get this set up.

Thanks!
nightshadzAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have a Windows 10 Pro laptop with a 1 TB SSD drive. I have VMware V14 Workstation Pro on this machine.

I have Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Ubuntu 16 and some earlier machines.

The later machines (like Windows 7) can network with the host machine so you can learn Networking and Folder Sharing this way.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
There's little point in spending money on VMWare Workstation when Hyper-V is built in to Windows 10 Pro.  As long as your running Windows 10 Pro, just add the Hyper-V role and setup the VMs there.  You can change the default location and put them on your external drive(s).  Just keep in mind, disk is often the slowest part of the computer and when you start running multiple operating systems off one disk, the disk performance will be poor at best unless you're using SSDs, RAIDs, or NVMe based disks.

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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
My lab demos have been done on a single Intel DC S3500 series SSD in a StarTech 2.5" enclosure with USB 3. That's more than enough bandwidth and IOPS to run a full setup such as:
VM0: Domain Controller, DNS, DHCP
VM1: File & Print
VM3: Exchange 2013/2016
VM4: Remote Desktop Broker/Gateway/Web
VM5 & VM6: Remote Desktop Session Hosts
VM7: SQL
VM8: SharePoint

A four core CPU with 64GB of RAM should be quite inexpensive to purchase today. An Intel DBS1200SPLR server board, 64GB ECC Crucial RAM, and an Intel Xeon E3-12xx v6 series CPU would be a great option if budget permits.
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Jose Gabriel Ortega CastroCEO Faru Bonon IT - EE Solution ExpertCommented:
Agree with lee, if you have win10pro you already have Hyper-V.
So just enable it and set it up.

Here's how to install it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfG4oFI5FIk

Jose.
McKnifeCommented:
I also vote for Hyper-V. If your host OS is Windows 10 home, you cannot use hyper-V, but you need to either upgrade to win10 pro or use a third party hypervisor like for example the free "oracle virtual box".

Installing hyper-v: 5 minutes
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualization/hyper-v-on-windows/quick-start/enable-hyper-v
Installing a VM : 10 minutes
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualization/hyper-v-on-windows/quick-start/create-virtual-machine
If network is needed: Create a virtual switch (2 mins): https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualization/hyper-v-on-windows/quick-start/connect-to-network 
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If you would just like to run one or 2 small VMs at a time, 16 GBs of RAM is more than enough, 8GB would be quite narrow. You should definitely use an SSD - your external 1 TB drive is a HDD, right? That is still possible with it, but slow, at least if several VMs run at the same time. CPU: the more cores the better - 4 real cores is good for a start, a dual core with hyperthreading as some notebook i5/i7 processors offer is ok, too.
Disk space: depends on your demands - at least 30 GBs per windows machine, if you do a lot with those, this number can easily be doubled or tripled. Also plan some disk space reserves for snapshots.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just add the Hyper-V role to your workstation, and you can start Virtualisation...
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
There's little point in spending money on VMWare Workstation when Hyper-V is built in to Windows 10 Pro

For newer machines, I understand and agree. I have some older (out of support) machines for testing and I need VMware for that. I like the overall flexibility of VMware better as well. So for me, it is worth the modest cost.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
For newer machines, I understand and agree. I have some older (out of support) machines for testing and I need VMware for that. I like the overall flexibility of VMware better as well. So for me, it is worth the modest cost.

I probably wouldn't have commented if you mentioned hyper-V.  But every i-series intel CPU has supported SLAT necessary for Client Hyper-V which dates back 8 years.  Most computers made in the last 5 years would support it.  And many before then.
nightshadzAuthor Commented:
Thank you everyone! I have an MSDN Subscription so I should already have a Win10 Pro licence to upgrade to - I'm currently using Win10 home.
Jose Gabriel Ortega CastroCEO Faru Bonon IT - EE Solution ExpertCommented:
Then just install virtual box
https://www.virtualbox.org
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