Didn’t make it to TechEd this year? Don’t worry! This month, we’ll be releasing a new article series that highlights the Best of TechEd announcements and technical information for IT Pros. 

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In today’s article, I’ll provide details on the FREE hands-on labs from TechEd that you can complete remotely in the comfort of your own office or home to improve your skills on Windows Server 2012 across a range of technologies, including:

  • Storage Spaces
  • Clustering
  • Networking
  • Hyper-V Virtualization and Replication
  • PowerShell
  • Active Directory
  • … and MORE!

Hands-on Lab Requirements

To be able to use these labs, your PC will need to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Windows Vista or later
  • Internet Explorer 8.0 or later
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 or later
  • 1280 x 800 minimum screen resolution

For detailed requirements for firewall configurations and Internet connectivity, see https://portal.holsystems.com/support

Windows Server 2012 Hands-On Labs

Lab Description
Implementing Storage Pools and Storage Spaces

Download the lab manual
In this lab, you work with the new storage spaces technology in Windows Server 2012. You first create new storage pools and virtual disks, and then work with those virtual disks in both Server Manager and Control Panel.
Building a Windows Server 2012 Storage Infrastructure

Download the lab manual
In this lab, learn how new storage technologies in Windows Server 2012 enable you to create a next generation storage infrastructure and highly available file server. Key tasks/topics include: 
  1. Create and manage a storage space,
  2. Format as ReFS,
  3. Install Deduplication and implement deduplication on the storage space,
  4. Present the storage space to a new file server cluster,
  5. Create a new file server cluster using ISCSI Shared Storage,
  6. Create a highly available file server,
  7. Implement SMB MultiChannel on the file server,
  8. Configure a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Instance to use the file server,
  9. Perform a transparent failover,
  10. Validate SMB Multi-Channel, and
  11. Perform a cluster aware update with transparent failover.
Configuring Hyper-V over Highly Available Storage

Download the lab manual
In this lab, learn how to configure a file server cluster to support running Hyper-V virtual machines from SMB file shares. Create the file share, configure delegation, and then create a new VM on SMB storage.
Getting Started with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replication

Download the lab manual
Asynchronous, application-consistent virtual machine replication is now built into Windows Server 2012. It permits replication of Hyper V virtual machines between two locations for business continuity and failure recovery. In this lab, learn how to configure and manage this technology.
Creating a Resilient Network Infrastructure with Windows Server 2012

Download the lab manual
You are updating your network implementation for core Windows servers. As a standard practice you want to have redundancy in DHCP so you implement DHCP Failover. You then configure IPAM to track IP address allocation of your DHCP servers. Next you implement DNS Sec for DNS resolution. Finally you configure all servers to have at least a two NIC teams to ensure failover in the event of a switch failure. Featured: topics include:
  1. Deploy DHCP Failover,
  2. Deploy IPAM, and
  3. Create a new DHCP Scope with IPAM,
  4. Implement DNSSec,
  5. Validate DNS traffic is encrypted, and
  6. Validate that single DCHP failover does not affect address acquisition.
Introduction to DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012

Download the lab manual
DirectAccess gives users the experience of being seamlessly connected to their corporate network anytime they have Internet access. In this lab, learn how to configure this now easy-to-install technology and provide greater mobility and ease of access for your users.
Introduction to Windows PowerShell Fundamentals

Download the lab manual
Windows PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language that helps you achieve greater control and productivity. Using a new admin-focused scripting language, more than 230 standard command-line tools, and consistent syntax and utilities, Windows PowerShell enables you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
What’s New in Windows PowerShell 3.0

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In this lab, explore some of the new features and functionality in Windows PowerShell 3.0 that enable you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
Deploying and Configuring Windows Server 2012 Servers with Server Manager, Windows PowerShell and MinShell

Download the lab manual
In this lab, perform the initial configuration for a new Windows Server 2012 server by leveraging new capabilities in Server Manager and PowerShell. Topics include:
  1. Complete the initial configuration of a full GUI server,
  2. Convert server to MinShell and validate functionality,
  3. Install server as a secondary DC in domain using Server Manager and PowerShell,
  4. Explore Server Manager features such as groups, configuration files, tiles, performance, etc.
Desired State Configuration with Windows Server 2012 R2 and PowerShell 4.0

Download the lab manual
In this lab, use a new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 called Desired State Configuration to deploy fully functional websites to multiple unconfigured Windows servers. Get familiar with Desired State Configuration by creating and deploying basic configuration to a single server. Then use a Desired State Configuration Data file to deploy a website to multiple servers; cause a configuration drift and correct it by redeploying configuration.
Managing Branch Offices

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In this lab, learn how the branch office scenario has been improved in Windows Server 2012 including new branch cache enhancements.
Active Directory Deployment and Enhancements

Download the lab manual
In this lab, learn how to deploy Active Directory Domain Controllers with Windows Server 2012. Deploy domain controllers using the new Server Manager, as well as deploying remote domain controllers using Windows PowerShell. Also, explore the new Active Directory Management Tool and use its PowerShell History Viewer.
Using Dynamic Access Control to Automatically and Centrally Secure Data

Download the lab manual
In this lab, you explore Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server 2012. You learn how to create Central Access Policies, explore the new Access Denied Remediation features, as well as learn how to use the audit capabilities built into Dynamic Access Control.

What's next? Keep Learning!

After completing these hands-on labs, continue your studies and prepare for your MCSA on Windows Server 2012 at the same time with our FREE "Early Experts" online study group!

- Keith