Purpose: To get the most out of your testing without spending a lot of money. Requirements: A working server with access to at least one public facing IP. (Recommended multi-core under x64 architecture) A moderate understanding of virtualization software, such as vmware server. A moderate understanding of networking. A few folks have brought it to my attention that testing software on the windows 2008 server platform is too expensive; and they are right, if you go to all of the expense of buying software like a production server. You can get around this in a few ways that I would like to share. 1. First off, only pay for what you need - If you can do this in house on hardware you already own, you can save. Also if you have physical access look at Hyper-V for testing multi server setups. You can even get trial versions of Server 2008 from Microsoft here directly: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx 2. Use virtualization - I can't stress this enough. The software you might end up running will likely end up running under some form of virtualization. You might as well test under these same conditions. Better to try and rattle out issues now than later on when it's in production. Also snapshots are your friends, take them daily or weekly as hard disk space will allow. 3. Minimum System vs. Recommended - You're just testing right now, there is no reason to go all out for the test. Sure you might load a website faster or click though a wizard quicker but it's no reason to drain your budget. You are also unlikely to roll this environment right into production. Good testing should break this environment six ways from a Trent Reznor album. 4. Planning is key - How many days or weeks or months are you willing to devote man hours on this? Set a threshold for this and work within it. If you can only devote one afternoon a week to configuration and testing you may not get a lot of mileage out of your software before trials expire. 5. Gather up what you need before you get started - Most of the software you are likely to use is going to be time sensitive so getting started before could shorten your use or force you to reinstall to get the testing in you want. In this phase of things you are going to need a virtualization package of some flavor (virtualbox, vmware, Hyper-V and licenses you may need), operating system install ISO's, and the software you are going to be testing. Once you have everything then, it is time to get started.