virtual machines and virtual labs/simulations

Discussion in 'MCSA' started by jpersona, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. jpersona

    jpersona Guest

    can you provide some advice one:

    1. setting up a virtual machine and installing necessary
    OSes and software from which to learn and study

    2. lab/simulation software for various certifications. i
    realize this a microsoft newsgroup, but any advice on
    Cisco certs as well (i'm thinking about doing cisco certs
    along with microsoft ones)

    3. can you run networks (virtual ones) with virtual
    machine without the actual equipment? if yes, how?

    also, any websites offering resources/info particularly to
    the above would be helpful.

    jpersona, Apr 10, 2005
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  2. Installing a virtual OS is pretty much identical to installing an OS on
    a PC. Installing the VM software is really simple and straightforward.
    Get lots of RAM - 512 MB to 1 GB is recommended if you're doing
    multiple virtual OSes at once. You want to partition some RAM for both
    your host and guest OSes - a bare minimum of 256 MB for each I'd say,
    much more if you're running any memory-hungry apps or Exchange Server
    2k3. Of course, you need a good chunk of free hard disk space as well -
    I'd recommend at least 10 gig per OS.

    Also, you can do a lot of the simple networking lab work with one copy
    of Win2k3 server as a host OS and one copy as a guest. (the Trial
    version of Win2k3 lets you install up to 5 running copies I believe...)

    Here's my home setup for example:

    Hard drive 0 - 80 GB - Windows XP + Virtual Server 2005
    Hard drive 1 - 40 GB - Windows Server 2003 + Virtual Server 2005

    I dual-boot between XP and 2003. Dual-booting is also quite easy to set
    up and gives me the advantage of not having to disrupt my XP home OS
    with the Server 2k3 install or worry about swapping hard drives or
    trial expirations. I can freely copy the virtual server disk images (an
    image is just a very large file with a VHD extension and a few very
    small config files) between the two Virtual Server installs. If I want
    to do some heavy-duty networking lab stuff, I'll boot in Server 2003.
    If I just want to mess around with one server while I play around in
    XP, listen to iTunes and whatnot, I boot into XP.
    I asked this a while back about the Cisco simulators. There seems to be
    a few - and being the ones I
    know about.
    Yup. You create a virtual network in the VM software. It simulates
    TCP/IP connections between the OSes and each OS is equipped with its
    own virtual network adapter with its own MAC address. In a sense, it
    tricks the OSes into thinking they are on a live network, and for all
    intents and purposes, they may as well be.

    There are two types of virtual networks - first type, all your guest
    virtual OSes are networked to each other with no "external" TCP/IP
    connection to the host. In the second type, the OSes all connect to the
    host OS's network adapter (the kind I'd recommend). If you have a
    non-networked home PC like I do with no NIC card or Ethernet, and like
    me you're too lazy or cheap to go get one, you can create a Microsoft
    Loopback Adapter and have your guest OSes interface with that instead.
    As far as the virtual OSes are concerned, you may as well have two or
    three servers hooked up to a switch.
    blastingfonda, Apr 11, 2005
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  3. jpersona

    jpersona Guest

    ok, seems like i might have some trouble running VM and
    multiple OSes. i just don't have the hardware resources
    right now.

    before buying any hardware with enough system resources to
    power VM, I'm gonna setup an actual small physical
    network, and take it from there. I'll experiment with and
    learn from it. and if and when the time comes that i can
    scrap together a good system, i'll decide on VM.

    here's what i've got:

    - a laptop with P3 running Xp (i know, that's old)
    - 2 desktops even older than the laptop
    - also got myself a router too

    i guess my main comp for the network will be the laptop
    since that's the best i've got right now.

    say that i'm going for MCSA right now. any suggestions on
    what i should be installing/configuring and running on
    each comp?

    oh, by the way, you guys' posts about simulations like
    Boson's NetSim... how about sims for microsoft certs,
    seeing as i'll have trouble running VM and will have to go
    the simulation and physical network routes? know any good
    jpersona, Apr 11, 2005
  4. jpersona

    jpersona Guest

    oh, yeah. i forgot to mention what kind of router i
    have. it's pretty full-featured. has spi, nat support
    and vpn. all those things.
    jpersona, Apr 11, 2005
  5. jpersona

    jpersona Guest

    and dhcp (client and server), other protocols as well
    jpersona, Apr 11, 2005
  6. jpersona

    catwalker63 Guest

    Find a good study guide for each exam and look at the requirements for
    the exercises to see what you will need to have and install. MS Press
    and/or Sybex usually have good study guides and they have a section at
    the beginning of the book describing the hardware and OS requirements.
    Most of the exams involve server and you'll need at least two of them for
    many exams.

    The laptop may be good enough to get through most of the topics for the
    client OS (although you will not be able to actually play with dynamic
    disks on a laptop). You'll need to make sure your other machines meet
    the minimum requirements to install server and that the hardware is on
    the hardware compatibility list/windows catalog.

    I haven't found any simulators for this stuff that work well.
    VMWare/VirtualPC/VirtualServer are the closest you can get. I have three
    machines I use plus VMWare and I'm able to simulate quite a lot with
    that. I have it setup so that guest OSs on one machine can communicate
    with guest OSs on another and have managed to create a pretty decent
    network simulation that way.

    Good luck!

    aka Pu$$y Feet
    MCNGP #43
    "If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would
    deteriorate the cat." Mark Twain
    catwalker63, Apr 11, 2005
  7. jpersona

    Jaxzone Guest

    I am using Virtual PC as well, and it is work fine. While at work when is
    slow I practice using Testout 70-290. Testout has a instructor who introduce
    u to a topic, then they show u how to...., and then u have a simulator with
    task and u r for your own. The simulation doesnot provide u with step by step
    thing instead on the very end when u click done it will show u what u did
    right , and what was wrong. Again u strart from scrach until u do it right
    Also Sybex came out with some simulator!OpenDocument
    I saw on amazon for 100$ but I do not know any deatails. I think this will
    help u to study but u must practice a lot
    I also found but did not use or check the sybex network simulator
    Jaxzone, Apr 11, 2005
  8. jpersona

    jpersona Guest

    if i'm experimenting with only an actual physical network
    (with not-so-great computers at that), will there be any
    gaps left open in my learning that can only be filled with

    oh, and I just wanna say thank you to all the patient
    posters that have been advising me.
    jpersona, Apr 11, 2005
  9. jpersona

    catwalker63 Guest

    The exams are aimed at people who have experience in a large network
    environment. The more you can simulate this environment, the better.
    You can pass these exams without the large network experience, but it
    will be more difficult. The key to your success will be the time you
    spend doing the things you are learning with the actual product. Yes,
    you can pass the exams with a small number of machines to work with.
    And, yes, you will have gaps in your knowledge, especially if your not so
    great machines won't run server.

    This is an industry where you will need experience and you will need to
    be constantly updating your skills. A good lab is an important
    investment that will pay off for a long time down the road. You don't
    have to run virtual machines but it will go a long way toward helping you
    if you do. Keep the not so great computers though, 'cause in the real
    world there are such things. <g>

    aka Pu$$y Feet
    MCNGP #43
    "If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would
    deteriorate the cat." Mark Twain
    catwalker63, Apr 12, 2005
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