Building the Lab
Today, I am building a simple lab environment. A friend of mine recently picked up his own server (welcome to the club) and asked for some guidance on setting up a lab for testing out some of the new things he’s learned. I’m not sure what the heck he was thinking. Buying a server? Where are you going to put that thing? I understand that you’ve seen me during our server builds and I do tend to get a bit excited — way too excited. But really, it’s super nerdy. And going down this path, my dear friend, only leads to more super nerdy things. Consider yourself warned.
Over the next few pages, I’ll guide you through a setup in which we’ll create a Hyper-V virtual machine template (for cloning) and setting up a file share between the host and virtual machines. I’m dusting off an old friend today. He’s going to be my lab partner.
A personal server is not completely necessary and I’m sure most normal people don’t own one. If you are looking to grab one, I would recommend not hosting it in your living room as it’s not good for guest retention. They just don’t understand.
I’m a big fan of setting up a server from scratch. In a world full of cloud services, appliances, and virtual machines, physical hardware still exists. There is little more satisfying than powering up a server for the first time and going through the initial configuration (besides performance tuning… that’s super fun).
But don’t you worry. You won’t need one for this guide. The pre-requisites for the lab are that you…
Do these things:
- Configure the BIOS
- Build the RAID arrays
- Deploy the host OS
- Assign an IP address, plug in a cable, browse the internets for cat photos
- Download and Install Windows Updates
- Install drivers
- Install the Hyper-V server role
It will be good practice and I know you will get through it. There are a lot of great posts and videos covering these topics elsewhere.
Ok. My server is ready to go. What’s next?
See the following itinerary:
- Setup – naming the host, creating the virtual disk / virtual machine, and virtual machine settings
- Networking – might be redundant if I say it
- Sysprep – preparing the virtual machine for cloning, and cloning
- File Share – configure a directory for sharing files between the host and virtual machines
Warning: Not suitable for production server setup. For science experiments only.
Let’s dig in.