Azure\Office 365 lab design and a list of challenges

String :-)
String :-) used Ask the Experts™
Seeking help with Azure\Office 365 lab design and a list of challenges relevant to enterprise level 365, Azure migrations.

Im currently working as a sysadmin with no exposure to cloud.  And I'm getting bored.  

I have given myself a kick up the arse and challenged myself to find a new role doing stuff im actually interested in, i.e. Office 365, Azure, AWS.

I have setup O365 for small businesses a few years ago, so I know the basics of setting up a tenant, setting up Exchange online users etc, however I dont have any experience with the enterprise level stuff like Azure AD, AD Connect, SSO, Azure networking etc.

I've been following some Pluralsight courses but Im not sure what features to concerntrate on, so Im thinking I should learn by setting up my own lab instead.  I dont mind spending a little bit of cash to register a domain, monthly licenses or Azure credit if I need to.

Im looking at this as 3month project.

Im therefore wondering if someone could guide me with a "design for my lab", with a short list of "challenges" that I can go off to research and build myself.  

I have a beefy Windows 10 PC at home so can spin up Hyper-V and build some local servers first, then connect local AD to Azure, setup Office 365, add some cloud VMS, add a few cheap cloud apps so I get my head around SSO etc etc etc.

Finally any tips on how to reduce costs on my project would also be helpful.  Do Microsoft offer any discounts for labs setups, or am I limited to trial periods.

Many thanks for any info.
Cheers in advance,
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Distinguished Expert 2018
You are limited to trial period
U also have an option to go with pay-as-you-go subscription
For O365 you will get subscription without credit card but for azure you must need subscription
What is your intention for lab?
U want to test hybrid exchange scenarios?
In that case you need azure vm and you would install exchange on azure vm
In that case you need to use smtp smart host services....

Also to setup azure vm setup you need to undergo base setup 1st
Create resource group, then create virtual network in same resource group, create storage account in same resource group,
Finally create vms
Note that in given region you can use 4 vcpus maximum and total you can consume 20 vcpus across five regions
So distribute your vms accordingly
When you need to create vms across regions, you need multiple virtual networks
In that case in order to talk between those virtual networks, you need to do network peering from azure portal

Finally purchase any public domain from godaddy etc
I like godaddy interface and service
Distinguished Expert 2018

Whenever u r not using lab, stop the vms so that it won't get charged
This way trial can run until 30 days or it will end when assigned dollars limit reached
Stopping vm stop its billing counter as well
String :-)Windows Engineer


Great thanks alot for your comments. Yes the goal is to work through hybrid exchange migration strategy. Sounds like a free trial of azure will be the way to go.
Thank you.
String :-)Windows Engineer


Thanks also for giving me a brief recipe list on the Azure setup. Very useful for a newbie 👍
String :-)Windows Engineer



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