Test Lab Guides (TLGs) allow you to get valuable hands-on experience with new products and technologies using a pre-defined and tested methodology that results in a working configuration. When you use a TLG to create a test lab, instructions define what servers to create, how to configure the operating systems and system services, and how to install and configure any additional products or technologies. A TLG experience enables you to see all of the components and the configuration steps on both the front-end and back-end that are required for a product or technology or for a multi-product or technology solution.

A challenge in creating useful TLGs is to enable their reusability and extensibility. Because creating a test lab can represent a significant investment of time and resources, your ability to reuse and extend the work required to create test labs is important. An ideal test lab environment would enable you to create a basic lab configuration, save that configuration, and then build out multiple test lab scenarios in the future by starting with the base configuration.

For a test lab based on physical computers, you can image the drives for future test labs. For a test lab based on virtual machines, you can create snapshots for future test labs. This allows you to easily return to a desired configuration for further learning and experimentation.

The Base Configuration

The base configuration is the standard starting point from which you can build test labs based on other TLGs from Microsoft, test lab extensions in the TechNet Wiki, or a test lab of your own design that can include Microsoft or non-Microsoft products. The base configuration is just the beginning of the test lab experience. Other TLG content can focus on Microsoft products or platform technologies, but all of them use the Base Configuration TLG as a starting point.

After configuring the computers of the base configuration test lab, make sure that you perform a disk image on each computer if you are using physical computers, or perform virtual machine snapshots if you are using virtual machines.

Here are the different variants to the base configuration, depending on your needs.

Isolated subnets configuration

The following figure shows the base configuration test lab in the isolated subnets configuration with the Corpnet (required and consisting of the DC1, APP1, and CLIENT1 computers) and Internet (optional and consisting of the EDGE1 and INET1 computers) subnets. When both the Corpnet and Internet subnets are configured, the CLIENT1 computer can be moved between the subnets to show intranet and Internet behaviors and functionality.

As its name suggests, the isolated subnets configuration is intended for configuration on subnets that are isolated from your organization network and the real Internet. With this configuration, you have ultimate control over the computers and their connections.

Choose from the following set of isolated subnets base configurations:

For additional information about building an isolated subnet test lab in Hyper-V, see Hosting the Windows Server 2012 Base Configuration test lab in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

Public cloud configuration

The public cloud base configuration is a test lab that consists of just the Corpnet subnet and is connected to your production network, allowing scalability and ongoing access to the Internet for public cloud technologies such as Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. Here is the configuration:

Choose from the following set of public cloud base configurations:

Microsoft Azure configurations

Hosting a test lab configuration in Microsoft Azure can sometimes be easier that trying to collect physical computers or obtain virtual machines on an isolated subnet for testing. In Azure, you can set up two different base configurations, depending on your needs.

The Azure base configuration is a test lab that consists of just the Corpnet subnet and is hosted within a cloud-only Azure Virtual Network named TestLab. This new configuration allows you to build out test labs in Azure infrastructure services as part of your current or future plans to move parts of your IT infrastructure to the public cloud. Here is the configuration:

For instructions on setting up the Azure base configuration, see Base Configuration in Azure (overview video). 

For the list of Azure TLGs that use this base configuration, see Azure Test Lab.

The hybrid cloud base configuration is a test lab that consists of the Corpnet subnet as a simplified on-premises network and a single replica domain controller hosted in a cross-premises Azure Virtual Network named TestVNET. Here is the configuration.

See Set up a hybrid cloud environment for testing for the instructions. The following test environments use the hybrid cloud base configuration as their starting point:

Modular TLGs

A modular TLG describes how to set up and demonstrate a technology, product, or solution for either the Base Configuration test lab or a test lab based on another modular TLG. 

The following modular TLGs are available, sorted by purpose, product, or technology.

Building blocks:

Windows Server 2012:

Windows Server 2012 R2:

Windows Server 2012-based private cloud and Hyper-V stack (community authored): 

DirectAccess in Windows Server 2008 R2:

DirectAccess in Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010:

Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) 2010 R2:

Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) 2010:

System Center:

Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) 2010:

Remote access VPN:

SharePoint Server 2010:

SharePoint Server 2013:

Lync Server 2013:

Exchange 2013:

Integrated Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint Server:

To create your own modular TLG, see Wiki: Creating and publishing a modular Test Lab Guide. 

Test Lab Extensions

A test lab extension describes how to configure additional functionality or advanced or uncommon configurations based on a working test lab. A test lab extension extends a modular TLG but typically does not create a new test lab environment that other TLGs can build on.

A test lab extension includes instructions to configure and test the additional functionality, and then manually restore the test lab to its original state. A test lab extension also includes virtualization advice so that you can create snapshots to store the modified test lab configuration and easily restore the original working test lab configuration. 

Examples of test lab extensions are the following:

To create your own test lab extension, see Wiki: Creating and publishing a test lab extension.

Troubleshooting TLGs

A troubleshooting TLG describes the troubleshooting tools and how they appear in a working test lab for a technology, product, or multi-technology and product solution. The working test lab is typically based on a modular TLG.

A troubleshooting TLG also takes you through a set of troubleshooting scenarios. Each troubleshooting scenario steps you through the following:

  • Breaking the configuration of the test lab in a specific way
  • Demonstrating the effect on the technology or product functionality
  • Performing root cause analysis of the problem using the troubleshooting tools and recommended troubleshooting techniques
  • Correcting the problem 

The following troubleshooting TLGs are available:

To create your own troubleshooting TLG, see Wiki: Creating and publishing a troubleshooting Test Lab Guide.  

Test Lab Troubleshooting Scenarios

A test lab troubleshooting scenario provides an additional scenario to demonstrate the results of a misconfiguration or other type of common problem and guide the reader through the root cause determination and correction. Test lab troubleshooting scenarios extend a troubleshooting TLG.

An example of a test lab troubleshooting scenario is the following:

To create your own test lab troubleshooting scenario, see Wiki: Creating and publishing a troubleshooting scenario.

TLG Mini-Modules

A TLG mini-module just includes the essential configuration steps to get an existing and working test lab to a new working configuration, skipping the demonstration steps. In contrast, a modular TLG is typically designed to demonstrate key functionality. However, in some cases you already have the expertise and just want to get to a new working test lab environment as quickly as possible. Another use for TLG mini-modules are building block TLGs, where you just want to install a product or software component and leave the demonstration of functionality to other modular TLGs.

Examples of TLG mini-modules are the following:

To create your own TLG mini-module, see Wiki: Creating and publishing a TLG mini-module.

TLG Stacks

TLG stack is a set of related or dependent modular TLGs, mini-modules, test lab extensions, troubleshooting TLGs, and test lab troubleshooting scenarios that create test lab environments to demonstrate a technology, product, or solution. For example, the following figure shows the IPv6 TLG stack:

For a list of TLG stacks, see TLGs: Get your stack on! and the following section on TLG portal pages.

To create your own TLG stack, see Wiki: Creating a Test Lab Guide stack diagram. 

TLG Portal Pages

A TLG portal page is a TechNet Wiki article that provides links to all of the resources for the test lab of a specific technology or product and includes test lab configuration and TLG stack diagrams.

The following TLG portal pages are available:

To create your own TLG portal page in the TechNet Wiki, see Wiki: Creating and publishing a Test Lab Guide portal page. 

Additional Resources

For the answers to frequently asked questions about TLGs, see the TLG FAQ.

For the latest information about TLGs, see the Microsoft TLG blog.

Hyper-V Articles in the TechNet Wiki for TLGs