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Some months ago I’ve write about the VMware Hands on Labs and how labs are important for testing and learning about a product (also for other vendor). Events like VMworld, Microsoft TechEd, Dell Storage Forum, HP Discover, … are a good moment to have access at those kind of labs.

But of course you can also build your own labs (as described in this post) but this require more effort. A good work-around is use on-line and on-demand lab. For VMware the on-line version is just in beta, but for Microsoft this kind of tools are a reality from several years and are called Virtual Labs (available in the TechNet section). You will experience a full-featured virtual lab experience, a download-able manual, and a 90-minute block of time for each module.

The most important aspect is that those kind of labs are really up-to-date with new products releases. For example you can experience Windows Server 2012 firsthand with these 16 virtual labs. Test drive the hottest features and functionality, including server management and Windows PowerShell, networking, Hyper-V, and new storage solutions.

This is the current list of available labs for Windows Server 2012:

  • Active Directory Deployment and Management Enhancements
    In this lab, you will learn how to deploy Active Directory Domain Controllers with Windows Server 2012. You will deploy domain controllers using the new Server Manager, as well as deploying remote domain controllers using Windows PowerShell. You will be able to explore the new Active Directory Management tool and use its PowerShell History Viewer.
  • Configuring a Highly Available iSCSI Target
    In this lab, you will learn how Windows Server 2012 can provide storage remotely to any machine. You will build clusters using shared storage and build iSCSI high-availability instances–observing highly available application communication during cluster failover.
  • Configuring Hyper-V over Highly Available SMB Storage
    In this lab, you will learn how to configure a file server cluster to support running Hyper-V virtual machines from SMB file shares. You will create the file share, configure delegation, and then create a new VM on SMB storage.
  • Getting Started with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replication
    Asynchronous, application-consistent virtual machine replication is now built in to Windows Server 2012. It permits replication of Hyper‑V virtual machines between two locations for business continuity and failure recovery. In this lab, you will learn how to configure and manage this technology.
  • Implementing Storage Pools and Storage Spaces
    In this lab, you will work with the new storage spaces technology in Windows Server 2012. You will first create new storage pools and virtual disks, and then you will work with those virtual disks in both Server Manager and Control Panel.
  • Introduction to DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012
    DirectAccess gives users the experience of being seamlessly connected to their corporate network anytime they have Internet access. In this lab, you will learn how to configure this now easy-to-install technology and provide greater mobility and ease of access for your users.
  • Introduction to IIS 8
    IIS 8 in Windows Server 2012 provides many new features to support greater scaling, density, and performance for your web applications. In this lab, you will learn how to configure many of these exciting new technologies, including centralized certificate support, dynamic IP domain restrictions, and throttling.
  • Introduction to iSCSI Diskless Boot Deployment
    Windows Server 2012 can efficiently provide highly available iSCSI block storage for diskless network boot. In this lab, you will learn how to configure both the iSCSI target and diskless boot servers, enabling rapid deployment and network boot capability for commodity hardware.
  • Introduction to Windows PowerShell Fundamentals
    Windows PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language that helps you achieve greater control and productivity. Using a new admin-focused scripting language, more than 230 standard command-line tools, and consistent syntax and utilities, Windows PowerShell enables you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
  • What’s New in Windows PowerShell 3.0
    In this lab, you will explore some of the new features and functionality in Windows PowerShell 3.0 to enable you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
  • Managing Branch Offices
    In this lab, you will learn how the branch office scenario has been improved in Windows Server 2012 including new branch cache enhancements.
  • Managing Network Infrastructure
    In this lab, you will explore new network management capabilities in Windows Server 2012. You will learn how to implement Network Teaming as well as how to implement DHCP failover. Finally, explore new Windows PowerShell cmdlets for network management.
  • Managing Windows Server 2012 with Server Manager and Windows PowerShell 3.0In this lab, you will learn how the Server Manager and Windows PowerShell framework in Windows Server 2012 delivers an enhanced, multi-server management experience. You will learn to perform tasks such as multi-server management. You will also explore new Windows PowerShell capabilities including new cmdlets and the Windows PowerShell gateway.
  • Managing Your Network Infrastructure with IP Address ManagementNetwork management is core to running a business, yet the tools that IT professionals need can be too costly or not available from Microsoft. With Windows Server 2012, we change that with the introduction of IP Address Management (IPAM).
  • Online Backup ServiceIn this lab, you will use Windows Server Backup to back up your critical data to Windows Azure. This lab will teach you the entire set of workflows around backing up and recovering your data to Windows Azure.
  • Using Dynamic Access Control to Automatically and Centrally Secure DataIn this lab, you will explore Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server 2012. You will learn how to create Central Access Policies, explore the new Access Denied Remediation features, as well as learn how to use the audit capabilities built into Dynamic Access Control.
Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (2312 Posts)

Virtualization & Cloud Architect. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). PernixPro 2014. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014. MVP 2014. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.