I am happy to announce the CROWD29.COM Hydration Kit, a framework to quickly setup a new virtual machine environment for training, demo or evaluation purposes. As an IT instructor I always struggle to provide students with the correct training virtual machines. The VM's are not up-to-date, licenses are expired or the environment can only be accessed through a crappy internet connection. Also when creating a proof of concept at a customer, it would be very nice to automatically install a basic infrastructure.
This is why I have created the CROWD29.COM Hydration Kit, a four step process to create a new and fresh infrastructure based on evaluation software.

The first step is to download the selected hypervisor virtual machine templates. This can be a Microsoft Hyper-V or VMWare Workstation virtual machine. Second step is to download an evaluation ISO file of the operating system. Step three is to download the support software, in this case Microsoft SQL Server Evaluation and RESONE Automation Evaluation. Last step is to install the operating system in the virtual machine and run the Hydration Kit setup program. Wait about 20 minutes and a freshly installed domain controller is ready to rumble.





The first step is to download the templates for the virtual machines. At this moment there are templates for Microsoft Windows Server 2016, Microsoft Windows Server 2012R2, and Microsoft Windows 10. Download, the .ZIP file, extract the content and import the VM into the hypervisor. The template predefines the following settings: Windows Server: 2 vCPU, 2GB RAM, 2 x 60GB harddisk, 1 vNIC local host only. Windows 10: 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM, 1 x 60GB harddisk, 1 vNIC, local host only

Second step is to download an evaluation ISO file of the operating system. I recommend using the Microsoft TechNet Evaluation Center. On this site you can download almost all Microsoft software for evaluation purposes. To download the software, you need to sign in with your (free) Microsoft account.
Downloading the SQL Server 2016 SP1 Evaluation software requires an extra step. First download and run the SQLServer2016-SSEI-Eval.exe file. Choose the Download Media button and select the CAB option.
To download RES ONE Automation, sign in to the RES Software Success Center.

Next step is to mount the ISO file to the virtual machine and install the operating system. Do just a clean next-next-finish installation with default values. Be sure to remember your password. When ready, install the VM tools if necessary.