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Why should you invest in a virtual lab? It’s dangerous to implement software or hardware changes into your production environment without fully testing it in a lab environment. All too often, many systems and network administrators utilize their production environment as a lab which can cause disruptions in employee work flow, or even worse, destroying or taking vital systems offline. This guide will assist you in setting up a basic Hyper-V lab. In later guides, I’ll show you how to setup a multi-server lab.

What you need

  • Hardware server capable of running Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 4 GB of RAM (more recommended)
  • Hard drive space for storing your VMs and snapshots
  • At least 2 NICs, though 1 will still work
  • IPCop

Creating your lab server

First, get started by installing Windows Server 2008 R2 on your server. Typical installation is perfectly fine. You don’t need to do anything special.

Set your NIC with a static IP address (this will be our WAN IP, more on this later).

Join your server to your production domain. The virtual network will be completely isolated from our production network, but we’re going to give it access to the internet which is available on our production network. This is where IPCop comes into play.

Install the Hyper-V role and only the Hyper-V role. It’s bad practice to install any other roles on your host.

Creating virtual networks

What we need to do now is create our virtual networks. Hyper-V has 3 types of networks:

  • External – This is your production network
  • Internal – This allows your VM to also communicate with your host as well as the other VMs
  • Private – This is a network connection that is only shared between the VMs. This is your lab network.

What we’re going to do now is create two virtual networks. Here’s a screenshot to show you what I mean:

You can see I have two networks. My “Production Network” and my “Virtual Lab Network”. The production network is set to External and the option to allow the host operating system to share management is enabled. If I had a VLAN to assign to the adapter, I could also set the VLAN ID.

The Virtual Lab Network is setup in a similar way except instead of “External” it is set to “Private”.

You’re now ready to install the IPCop virtual machine which I will cover in Part 2.


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Hi! I'm Travis and I love technology.

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