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I am looking at training 15 - 20 individuals on Windows server 2008. The training will require each individual to perform certain tasks within their own instance of windows server 2008, such as installing AD, creating user accounts, installing IIS and other applications.

Each user will have their own PC & we will all be on the same LAN.

I thought abuot installing vmware workstation onto each PC, thus allowing each user to have his/her own domain and instance of windows server 2008, but that sounds cumbersome to me.

But then I thought, well hang on a minute how does proffesional training companies achieve this kind of simulation. Does anyone know what tools or applications proffesional training companies use to simulate 20+ invidual windows server 2008 instances to allow this kind of hands on training.

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Use evaluation versions of 2008R2 with Hyper-V –  SpacemanSpiff Jan 24 '12 at 22:43
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This sounds like something for VMWare vCloud Director, formerly VMWare Lab Manager. This will allow you to provision template VMs for each course and allow users to "check out" a clone of the templates for their own use. You can deliver the VMs to the users through RDP or VMWare View (or any other way really, those are the two most common).

This even leverages Linked Clones, which means that only the differences between the base image and the users' disks takes up space. This means huge savings on storage if you're running large classes or multiple classes on the same hardware.

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Microsoft has already done something like this for you:

TechNet Virtual Labs: Windows Server 2008 R2
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs/bb512925

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Nearly every hands-on session I've seen had computers provided (and pre-configured with VMs) by the training company. "Bring your own device" concepts where stuff is virtualized on participant's machines may work, but it is difficult to make sure the machines would comply to minimal system requirements - virtualization requires loads of RAM and decent I/O performance.

You should look into the possibility of virtualizing the server instances on your own sufficiently powerful hardware and providing the users with access over RDP / VNC / VMWare console / VDI or some protocol your virtualization solution allows for.

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