References for Setting up AD, DNS For a Farm
In order to really grasp how a product like BizTalk Server works, you really need to build out a small farm of servers. It's such a great way to drive home the fault-tolerance and load balancing points. So, to keep fresh, I'm building out another farm of virtual machines to house my BizTalk work. I have a single Active Directory (and DNS) box, and two BizTalk Servers running together.
I get the feeling most developers avoid infrastructure topics like the plague, but if you are a brave soul, there are some good resources here, here, here and here for understanding and setting up an AD/DNS box from scratch.
Virtual technology rocks, but cloning and reconfiguring machines can be a pain. After cloning my BizTalk box (pre-BizTalk installation), I have to change the machine name, change the SID, rename the SQL Server, and reconfigure the Windows Sharepoint site. Whew.