I am often asked why deployment is such a great place to work as a consultant and I usually answer by saying that deployment (both client and server) touches all aspects of the infrastructure and therefore you need a knowledge across many products. All though I think this is a great thing – it also means that you have to keep up with other technologies – and have them set up in a test environment for your deployment engagements.
I often setup small proof of concept labs for customers – and I make us of a lesser known Microsoft service that provides many products ready configured as time limited Virtual Hard Disks (VHD) ready for download – over the months I have created a library of these that I can set up and leave at customer sites for time limited testing (usually 30 day evaluations). Below are the links to all of the products that we supply as VHD:
Hopefully this set of server and client pre-configured virtual machine hard disks will save you endless setup hours and also enable you to start configuring in other services to your deployment engagements.