I'm a naive user getting in touch with ISA(both 2000 and 2004).Could you pls tell me if that would be a good idea to practice ISA with virtual softwares such as Virtual PC or VMWare, sice i don't have access to the same in the realworld network. Also, is getting certified in ISA 2004 and getting trained on the same would be more beneficial than ISA 2000? Pls advice.
Yes, ISA 2004 is much better to learn right now. ISA 2000 is getting near end of life. You can learn a lot using VMware to deploy ISA firewall networks. I use VMware all the time and create some pretty fancy networks.
From: New Zealand
Hopefully you have grabbed a copy of the Configuring ISA 2004 book by Tom. In there he does have a configuration for a lab (Chapter 4 - ISA 2004 Network Concepts and Preparing the Network Infrastructure) and what you need. Hopefully you have a machine with a bunch of RAM and you can go about running up this configuration (I think it is just shy of 1GB for the virtual machines + your underlying OS and Virtualisation software to consider). If you are really serious about getting your qualifications for this then the best way to learn is in the deep end with the product, the book and a browser open at isaserver.org!
And when you are finished, you have a machine that you can build other labs in for other products to further your education.