I’ve received a couple of emails from readers asking how virtualization beginners can gain experience. My first piece of advice is to create a home or practice lab. This high-level overview outlines what you need to get a VMware vSphere 5.5 home lab up and running; there’s a lot of documentation out there to help you with the actual installs. (Note: The intent is not to suggest the best hardware, because you’ll most likely be using old servers or desktops that you already have.)
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