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General Chat Thread, Networking/Servers in General; sorryifthisisinthewrongsection Hi all, I've been in my job just over a year now and I've absolutely loved it, and this ...
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    Fleetwood's Avatar
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    Networking/Servers

    sorryifthisisinthewrongsection

    Hi all,

    I've been in my job just over a year now and I've absolutely loved it, and this place has been a great help too - lovely bunch! Anyway, enough of the brown-nosing. I've been really keen to learn more about general networking and working with Windows Server in more depth because I'm looking to progress further in my career and the more practical aspects of IT/Network support level is where I'd like to be in the future. I simply haven't got the time to do any of these fancy (albeit expensive) courses right now though, but I don't want to just sit back and leave my skills sunbathing on my current college-leaver/junior bench. (Some may think I'm being naiive/stupid because I'm only 19 and a newbie to this industry, but that's the stereotype I'm trying to break out of. I want to progress)

    I've considered getting hold of a basic PC and maybe a Server 2008/2012 OEM disc and doing some sort of test lab at home - would that be a good option? And could anybody point me in the right direction to some useful guides/materials? (a bit like the self-paced training kit things you can get for the Microsoft exams)

    I'd appreciate any input/suggestions thanks.
    Last edited by Fleetwood; 22nd January 2013 at 03:01 PM.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I'd advise a mid spec laptop/pc (plenty of ram, hdd space and processor cores), the MSCE course books and a Technet subscription. Problem is that'd cost you almost as much as a good IT course. But probably more worth while, IMHO. Definitely worth playing with servers in a virtual machine. I read through the first of the MSCE books running the servers they recommended in VirtualBox VM's and learnt a lot in the process.

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    Fleetwood (23rd January 2013)

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    Miscbrah's Avatar
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    Also, get a bit more of the CCNA style tutorials in there. If you don't know the following (probably DO know lots of it tbh,) look into them and if you're anything like me you'll get loads of penny-drop moments where you say "Ah, so that's what that is/does/wants!" Loads of free vids on YouTube and the like:

    - Learn the OSI model and TCP/IP models and the functions of some protocols at each layer.
    - Learn what a VLAN is, and a router/switch/hub.
    - Learn subnet masks and subnetting. Might want to bring a hammer for that one to beat yourself/others over the head lil bit.
    - Pick up the CCNA for Dummies book if you fancy something with a bit of structure to it, but don't really need to do a whole CCNA. Bear in mind that book was written by someone with the personality of a biscuit so it's not exactly Bravo Two Zero.

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    Fleetwood (23rd January 2013)

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    Fleetwood's Avatar
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    Thanks very much both of you, I will look into the Technet subscription and see if the wallet will allow somehow! I've heard of VirtualBox before but never used it, I shall give it a try

    @Miscbrah: I'm aware of them and know how they work but only on a very basic level. My college course was very vague on the network modules so hardly any of it was taught to us (especially when we had lecturers who didn't bother to turn up) - I'll check out YouTube and see what's on offer 'ta

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    1st thing to do is build yourself a VmWare ESXi box. Then you have a nice test platform that you can realy play with.

    You can snapshot your server, break it and have it working again in seconds.

    You can have 2,3,4 virtual servers, Linux, Windows, etc....

    Rob

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    Fleetwood (22nd January 2013)

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    Fleetwood's Avatar
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    Ooh, that seems like a good idea - so I could run multiple OS' if I wanted to on that then and just snapshot them left right and centre if I made a ballsup somewhere? Nice!

    Looking at the requirements though I couldn't afford to get another machine that powerful. My home PC meets the requirements but I guess it's more wiser to have a dedicated machine for ESXi. I've got a currently dormant PC sat next to me that's an Intel Core2 Duo (2.3gHz I believe) - If I stuck a decent chunk of RAM in it, do you reckon it'd run okay on that processor? The machine's probably 3 years old now.

    (Sorry for the dumb questions, s'all a learning curve for me!)

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBlax View Post
    I've got a currently dormant PC sat next to me that's an Intel Core2 Duo (2.3gHz I believe) - If I stuck a decent chunk of RAM in it, do you reckon it'd run okay on that processor? The machine's probably 3 years old now.
    As long as the processor supports it you should be fine. I bought a 2007 Dell Optiplex 745 on eBay for £150 to put VMWare on and it works fine.

    Check the compatibility here: VMware Compatibility Guides

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    Fleetwood (23rd January 2013)

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBlax View Post
    Ooh, that seems like a good idea - so I could run multiple OS' if I wanted to on that then and just snapshot them left right and centre if I made a ballsup somewhere? Nice!

    Looking at the requirements though I couldn't afford to get another machine that powerful. My home PC meets the requirements but I guess it's more wiser to have a dedicated machine for ESXi. I've got a currently dormant PC sat next to me that's an Intel Core2 Duo (2.3gHz I believe) - If I stuck a decent chunk of RAM in it, do you reckon it'd run okay on that processor? The machine's probably 3 years old now.

    (Sorry for the dumb questions, s'all a learning curve for me!)

    if you can get 8GB or more you should be ok.

    ESXi is good with both memory and CPU and when a Host is Idle it uses ver little CPU.

    My home host is on a Quad Core Q9550. Currently sitting at 368Mhz out of 4x2817.

    That's with a SUSE, Redhat and XP box doing very little.

    Rob

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    Fleetwood (23rd January 2013)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBlax View Post
    Intel Core2 Duo (2.3gHz I believe) - If I stuck a decent chunk of RAM in it, do you reckon it'd run okay on that processor?
    Your processor needs to support hardare virtualisation - Intel VTx. According to the Wikipedia page for your processor it seems to, but you might want to double check. Also check how much RAM your motherboard can take - an older Core 2 Duo motherboard I have here will only take 2GB of RAM.

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    Fleetwood (23rd January 2013)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    All this talk of ESXi (which is a fantastic best of bread product) I thought it was worth reiterating the VirtualBox option. VirtualBox will sit on top of an existing PC's Windows/Linux install and does not require the CPU to be VT enabled. That and it will allow you to do pretty much everything ESXi would in this instance - playing/testing/snapshoting and virtual network environment.

    Either way - ESXi/HyperV/Virtual Box. Your going to want at least quad core and 8Gb if you can get it.

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    Fleetwood (23rd January 2013)

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    Miscbrah's Avatar
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    ^ +1 for that, VirtualBox is a great playpen.

    And yeah the networking side of things is still considered a bit of a 'dark art' in some circles, as you'd usually have inherited a network where it's all set up and working if you wander into another school. It's something I've found more and more worthwhile learning though, at least in more than overview.

    Got a taste for it, now I want that CCNA...

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    Well, my home PC is an i7-3820 with 16GB DDR3. I've got plenty of HDD space including an SSD which I've still not used yet haha.

    I tried Virtualbox on it a few months ago but it was running extremely slow on the Server2008 trial :s then again I did leave the settings as default for the RAM/HDD usage.. was I an idiot for doing that?
    Last edited by Fleetwood; 23rd January 2013 at 12:18 PM.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    I use VBox for some stuff and it works well. Mainly to run XP though for doing thnings that Linux won't let me or when testing stuff that I don't want to break my laptop.

    Rob

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBlax View Post

    I tried Virtualbox on it a few months ago but it was running extremely slow on the Server2008 trial :s then again I did leave the settings as default for the RAM/HDD usage.. was I an idiot for doing that?
    A side from minimum vs practical hardware requirements by the OS being installed there are two other reasons VBox would run slow. The first is ticking the VT-enabled box, if your CPU supports it then it will help the VM run faster. The other is the drivers, I believe there is an exe to auto install drivers in one of the menus of the running VM window.

    I've run multiple 2008R2 VM's in VirtualBox on a much lower spec machine (Dual Core AMD, 8Gb Ram) without any speed problems.

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Also check out www.windows-noob.com as the step by step guides on there are spot on for getting a working system up and running... best way to learn imo rather than sitting and reading through a 500 page book and still never having seen the real thing in action

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