What sort of testing lab do you setup when you're testing things out? I hear see the world adventureworks almost as often as I see SQL in these books. Is there anything else out there? Jeremiah Peschka made a post recently about sample databases. Are there any others out there you all use? I personally use VMWare Workstation 10, though VirtaulBox works great... and it's free ^.~ . You can use Windows Server Trial for a lot of your testing... and you can use a trial of SQL Server or even just get the developer edition for 60$ and not worry about rebuilding every time.
My personal setup is VMWare Workstation running one Domain Controller, how ever many SQL boxes I need (normally 4 + a control) and i test everything out there using adventureworks and a SQL Load Generator.
I'd love to find a better load generator that works with 2014... What settings are you all using? Do you only test in prod... or do you have a server at work just to play with?
My workstation build is an Alienware M14 i7 4th gen with 16 gb of ram and I upgraded the hard drive to the Samsung Evo 1TB. (Yes, yes... The price tag is a bit much to deal with... but it's a 14 inch laptop that can play all my games, run all my projects and I can get about 5 hours of life out of it when I cut my settings down. It's soooo much more portable than my last ASUS 17 inch Knights of the Old Republic laptop) I can normally load 1 Domain Controller and 4 SQL boxes all without lagging my videos or youtube. I plan on removing the drive bay, getting an external drive and adding a second 2TB spinning drive for archive reasons.
Please respond with any information or thoughts you have on this. I'd love to hear the feed back.
Note: Still only one post for the free month from Plural Sight. Sounds like this will be an easy win if no one else joins in. Winner decided Wednesday!