We have moved to a native 2008 R2 domain just over a year.
Now things have settled I'm thinking of planning ahead for a clean Windows 2012 domain in the future.
How do you guys plan a test environment ? I have heard horror stories when the test domain is accidentally connected to the production domain for example. I was thinking of building the test 2012 domain on a separate VLAN and only allow rdp access from production LAN to play with the test domain
The ideal would be my team starts to build future SIMS server, exchange 2013 etc in view of making this into our future domain where we could migrate users across and get trained as a bonus.
How much money and hardware would you throw at this? RAM can be reduced for testing but If I am building these machines on the basis of the VM becoming production servers later then I would probably make them fixed sized, so a test server will need to have a large disk pool. Also what does Microsoft view this in terms of licensing?
I have an old ML 110 and a ML 110 G7 plus HP microserver as a starting point.(not sure whether the old ML110 is server 2012 friendly though....
You'd be surprised what 2012 will run on, however my opinion would be run it all on VM's anyway entirely separate from any other network. Hardware agnostic then!
I would be wary about using any possibly live data with the hope of transferring it over afterwards, that can be messy and dangerous. No harm can be done using backups of live data though.
My typical testing scenario would be to set up the VM, after the necessary research, setting up the first incarnation of the server & relevant services, making brief notes and/or following a guide if one exists, usually via Technet.
Then I'd wipe and do it again, making more complete notes which I'd work from to do the live setup later. By this time I'd have seen first hand any foibles and I'd have written down rough times for installations to start & finish. Prepared for possible issues and how to overcome them.
Snapshot (these are your friends when testing! Best, best friends.) often.
Use this setup to test with, train with, start your documentation with. Test migration of data from other sources at this point too.
Then, when you're happy, go live, starting the process again. You'll be more than prepared for any possible issues.