Test Lab Guides make it easy to test new products and technologies in a pre-tested, well defined Test Lab. Our new Test Lab Guide system is designed so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you put together a Test Lab each time you want to test out something new. Test Lab Guides are modular, which means you reuse your Test Labs over time to test new technologies and new scenarios. In the course of a year, TLGs should end up saving your potentially hundreds of hours in test time.

In addition, Test Lab Guides “take the covers off” so that you understand what’s happening on the front-end and back-end – something you don’t get with “hands-on labs” where the front-end and back-end are preconfigured and “magically” work. Unfortunately, you can’t take that magic home with you when you actually want to put together a test lab of you own.


If you haven’t checked out how Test Lab Guides work and the philosophy behind them, then check out my blog post on the TLG concept over at http://blogs.technet.com/b/tomshinder/archive/2010/07/30/test-lab-guides-lead-the-way-to-solution-mastery.aspx

So What is this Fabrikam Test Lab Guide of Which You Speak?

I’m glad you asked! All Test Lab Guides start with the “Base Configuration” which you can find at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=ab6c61af-9c34-4692-815c-4396b482d31b&displayLang=en

The Base Configuration Test Lab Guide sets up the contoso.com forest. For all Test Lab Guide modules that test a product or technology, or a collection of products or technologies in a single forest environment, you’ll always start with the Base Configuration. But what if you want to test a product or technology or a collection of products or technologies that includes two forests over the Internet, such as scenarios where two different organizations want to collaborate?

You could use the Base Configuration to build out the contoso.com forest, and the cobble together a test lab configuration for the partner network, but that wouldn’t be very reusable or very scalable. What would be better is if you had a standard and tested configuration for the partner network – where you can then build scenarios on top of that.

Sounds good, right? I thought so! That’s where the Fabrikam Test Lab guide comes in. In the Fabrikam Test Lab Guide, we define the configuration of the partner network for you, and it plugs right into the Base Configuration Test Lab Guide that defines the contoso.com  test lab. After you finish the Fabrikam Test Lab Guide, you’ll have a second forest, the fabrikam.com forest, which is separated from the contoso.com forest by a simulated Internet.

What Can I Do with the Fabrikam Test Lab Guide?

I see the Fabrikam TLG being used primarily in the two following scenarios:

  • Microsoft writers who want to write test lab guides that demonstrate multi-organizational products and technologies will include the Fabrikam Test Lab Guide as Step 2 in their own Test Lab Guide Modules
  • Community contributors who write their own Test Lab Guide extensions who want to demonstrate multi-organizational products and technologies will want to include the Fabrikam Test Lab Guide as Step 2 in their Test Lab Guide extensions (Step 1 would be the Base Configuration Test Lab Guide)

I Think TLGs are Cool! I Want to Create One Myself – Where Can I get Help Creating Them?

As with all Test Lab Guides – I’m here to help. If you need help in creating your own Test Lab Guides, let me know. I think once you get into the groove with writing your own Test Lab Guide extensions and posting them to the wiki, you’ll find them a lot of fun! I know I do. If you have questions or run into issues with this TLG or with TLGs you want to write, let me know. Just write to the email address in my sig line.



Tom Shinder
Microsoft DAIP iX/SCD iX
UAG Direct Access/Anywhere Access Group (AAG)
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