Building A WS2012R2 Preview Test/Demo/Learning Lab

I’m in the midst of deploying a new lab for learning, demo-ing, and delivering training on Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 (WSSC 2012 R2).  I’ve flattened the WS2012 lab and am starting from scratch … by using the MSFT vision.  The first thing up was a management host running Hyper-V.  Second: a DC.  Third: VMM 2012 R2.

My plan is to use VMM to build everything else.  My "management" host is actually a storage box.  It runs my System Center VMs, but it’s also where I run my virtual storage machines, including iSCSI target, and SMB 3.0 Scale-Out File Server VMs.  I want my storage to be up before my demo hosts/cluster, and I also want to be able to re-deploy my storage quickly.

Hmm, that sounds like I need a Service Template.  So I created a generalized VHDX for WS2012 R2, created a bunch of VM templates with the roles/features I need, and created a 2-tier service template:

  1. A VM running the iSCSI Target: My shared storage for the SOFS – no I can’t use Shared VHDX because that must live on shared storage … and the iSCSI Target/SOFS will be my lab’s shared storage … in this iteration anyway.
  2. 2 VMs with clustering and file services: My SOFS nodes.

The demo SOFS is deploying right now as I type:


Once the storage is running, I will turn my attention to Hyper-V.  The plan is to build up server profiles, logical switch, etc, and do bare metal host deployment.  It should be fun Smile #Nerd

Please follow and like us:

2 Replies to “Building A WS2012R2 Preview Test/Demo/Learning Lab”

  1. Hi Aidan.

    Out of interest, what sort of servers are you running for your lab? I’m currently running a lab inside a single PowerEdge 2950 maxed out with CPU and RAM but will shortly be looking to upgrade for the R2 releases. Trying to piece ideas together in order to get the most out of this upgrade…

    • I’m got a mix of HP G6 & G7 server and a tower PC in work with 10 GbE SFP+ networking. At home, it’s 3 PCs on a Netgear 1GbE switch. At work, I’m putting in Dell R420 servers … HP, in my opinion, are stuck in the year 2007, and only support things like SR-IOV in the most expensive of machines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.