As promised, here is the feedback from our three separate Live Meetings the week of November 15 on Test Lab Guides (TLGs):
Europe (Wednesday, Nov 17, 1600 to 1700 (4-5 p.m. CET - Central European Standard Time—GMT+1))
There are technical issues with AD DS synchronization between DCs when restoring snapshots.
We will investigate and where appropriate, warn the reader that they cannot save a snapshot of the configuration for future restoration.
Troubleshooting TLGs might be better positioned toward operations folks, rather than IT implementers.
Good point. We will look at this going forward as perhaps a better way to position the value of troubleshooting TLGs.
Are the test labs based on the TLGs available in the cloud?
No. This is the role of the TechNet Virtual Labs. We think the core value of the test labs is the hands-on experience in setting them up.
Is there an Exchange 2010 TLG?
There is one being worked on and we will advertise it in the Test Lab Guides blog when it is published.
When asked about the usefulness of troubleshooting TLGs, one participant stated that most problems occur with interoperability (other versions of Windows of third-party products).
Good point. A future direction to take modular TLGs is to show interoperability configurations and use troubleshooting TLGs (or test lab troubleshooting scenarios in the TechNet Wiki) to take readers through interoperability issues.
Are there System Center (specifically Operations Manager) TLGs in the works?
Great question. We will forward this request to the System Center writing teams.
Americas (Wednesday, Nov 17, 1200 to 1300 (12-1 p.m. Pacific Standard Time—GMT-8))
How often would Base Configuration VHDs be updated?
We intend to update the Base Configuration VHD set (not published at this time) for the public release of operating system Service Packs. Between Service Packs, we instruct the reader to first install them with Internet connectivity, install all updates, and then add them to the test lab configuration.
Why isn’t Microsoft Learning using these for their Training Kits?
Great question and one that we have heard before. We will forward this suggestion to Microsoft Learning.
Do the TLGs have screenshots?
To save space and simplify the documentation, the current recommendations are to use screenshots only for screens that are confusing or are critical to show for the correct operation of the test lab. Future videos can show the configuration step-by-step with the screenshots.
Can the TLGs converge with the TechNet Virtual Labs over time? That way the TechNet Virtual Lab and test lab experiences are the same.
Great suggestion and one that we are looking into. One of things we have investigated is making sure that key TechNet Virtual Lab scenarios have corresponding TLGs or TLG stacks.
What about licensing and activation expiration issues with publishing VHDs of the Base Configuration test lab? We need at least 90-day expiration time.
One of the challenges of publishing VHDs of the Base Configuration test lab (not published at this time) is the licensing and activation of the operating systems for each VM. Although we cannot provide details at this time, we are trying to get the maximum lifetime for the VHDs.
Can TLGs use scripts like Windows Server System Reference Architecture (WSSRA) to quickly configure a base environment?
We can look into a set of scripts that configure the Base Configuration test lab, but not for modular TLGs. We think the core value of the test labs is the hands-on experience in setting them up.
Asia/Pacific (Wednesday, Nov 18, 800 to 900 (8-9 a.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time—GMT +10))
For troubleshooting TLGs, do you randomly generate troubleshooting problems to perform a real test of troubleshooting skills?
No. In a troubleshooting TLG, the first part of each troubleshooting scenario has you break the configuration in a very specific way, then see the resulting behavior and use a root-cause methodology to determine the solution. Therefore, a troubleshooting scenario is not like a troubleshooting test you might have in a training or certification course. However, you can use the methods to break the configuration as described in the troubleshooting TLGs to test your staff on their troubleshooting skills.
Is it possible to use TLGs and a resulting test lab as a technology or scenario proof-of-concept (POC)?
How will you do quality assurance (QA) with TLGs that use third-party products?
In most cases, TLGs that involve third-party products will be authored by the community and published in the TechNet Wiki. We are relying on TechNet Wiki ratings, comments, and community governance and participation to ensure that these TLGs are accurate.
In all three sessions, participants agreed that having VHDs for the Base Configuration test lab would be useful (not published at this time). This is something that we are working on.
Thanks again to those who participated. We are working on posting the audio portion of a meeting and the slide deck. Stay tuned.
Joe DaviesPrincipal WriterWindows Server Information Experience