“Hey Kevin.. what are the specs on that there demo computer?”
Funny you should ask. I get that a lot. And so I thought I’d share with you my dream configuration. It is my hope that some of you will take these steps and use them to build your own test environment, so you can kick the tires on these technologies; how to configure and use them to your advantage.
And your question is especially timely as I’m currently building out a demo environment consisting of a good chunk of Microsoft System Center tools for the sake of our upcoming series of TechNet Events.
Absolutely. Hyper-V is the way to go. So naturally, I have a foundation of Windows Server 2008, 64-bit. I’m running Server 2008 Enterprise, and have 8GB of memory installed on a Lenovo T61p (my current favorite laptop of all-time). That’s the current workhorse laptop for our entire team.
‘”How did you configure it?”
Well.. that’s what this blog post, and several up-coming posts are going to be about. (Hence the “Part 1” in the subject line.) I want to document for you in sufficient detail all of what I had to do to get my demos configured for this quarter of TechNet events. So in this and future blog posts, I’m going to describe for you:
- Server Installation – My Foundation (this post)
- Hyper-V Virtualization Configuration
- The Domain
- System Center Virtual Machine Manager
- System Center Operations Manager
and perhaps some other installations as well, as we build out the environment to show of things such as using System Center Configuration Manager and NAP.
“Okay.. so give us some more detail on what the foundation is.”
As I said earlier, it’s Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, 64-bit. I’ve only got the basics installed as roles. Of course I added the Hyper-V role. And I also added basic routing from the Network Policy and Access role installation.
“Huh? Why Routing?”
I’ll explain the details of why I added that in a future post in this series. But for now, let’s just say it comes in handy for allowing my demo subnet-connected machines to access the Internet without having additional virtual NICs installed in each one. It makes my demo environment more realistic, and has some additional flexibility benefits.
But I digress. The benefit of keeping the host (or Parent Partition) foundation simple is that it is easy to build and re-build if needed. The bulk of the work from here on out should always be in virtual machines that can be easily added or removed, exported or imported, and can have snapshots maintained through various stages of the configuration, as well as through iterations of demo steps.
Besides those basics, I installed Office 2007. I also installed the “Desktop Experience” feature, so that I could play media files. (Here’s a good recipe for doing this. I didn’t bother with the theme service.) I also enabled the audio service. While not typical things you would do on a server, they come in handy when you might be driving PowerPoint presentations and playing videos for people.
“What about networking?”
Nothing special just yet. I do have a physical NIC, plus I enabled the Wireless LAN Service (it’s another “feature” to be added) for times when I can’t be wired.
And that’s pretty much it. Any questions?
“Yeah.. this all sounds cool.. but I don’t work for Microsoft. I can’t just download software and install it to my heart’s content.”
How about the next best thing: A TechNet Plus Subscription. To build this environment, I’m only using the evaluation software (that is to say – NON-TIMEBOMBED evaluation software) that can be downloaded or received as a part of a TechNet Plus Subscription. (See this link for better description of what you get with the subscription, plus a nice discount offer we have going on right now.)
In part 2, I’ll describe how I configured Hyper-V for my purposes.