Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A/D Test Lab, Introduction

The challenge:
I need to create a test lab using Active Directory, so I can run SQL Server in various testing configurations. Also, having my own domain under total control makes me giggle with uncontrollable personal glee, so there's that.

Anyway, back to the point.

I need to create a test lab, which has the following requirements:

1. Fully self-contained
All domain traffic should stay within the domain. This is important, as quite a bit of the work I want to do on this is going to involve being offline or on slow connections, and if my servers are hanging and timing out waiting for the slow internet connection I'm on at the time, I'm never going to get anything done.

2. Fully configured
This can't be a single-box setup, or I won't be able to configure things like SQL clustering. This has to be an actual domain, with a primary domain controller, member servers, etc.

3. Easily destroyed
One of the requirements for doing this is that I have to be able to blow away and bring back the entire thing within minutes. I don't have the patience to wait for hours for machines to build - ultimately, I want the entire thing, from pushing the "File >> New VM" button to starting the install of SQL to be as close as possible to 5 minutes as I can get.

4. Free
This entire setup HAS to use evaluation copies or release candidates. It has to work with what I can get for free, so I can be sure that not only can I do it for free, but anyone who follows along at home can do so, too.

I'm presenting below a series of articles about how I did exactly that. I'll cover these four steps

  • Building the machines
  • Stand up the domain
  • Add a domain user
  • Add the member server

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