Prototyping and testing configurations and system installations is time consuming on traditional hardware. That is why I started using Vagrant for nearly all development, prototyping and testing. It's free and really easy to use. If you install VirtualBox
sudo apt-get install virtualbox first, you'll be up and running in no time.
Vagrant do profile itself for developers, but sysadmins has much to gain by using such tools to make life easier for themselves. Automation and reproducibility is key concepts in modern system administration. We need to think more and more like developers, as much as developers need to think more and more like sysadmins.
Excerpt: Create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments.