First off, if you do not have System Center 2012, you can download a free evaluation from System Center 2012. You will need Windows Server 2012 which you can also download (ISO, VHD) for free. If you do not have hardware to put it on, let me recommend that you also start a Free Windows Azure 90 Day Trial and use your lab in the sky to deploy and learn System Center.
I need System Center for all of those advanced software and service deployment capabilities, but without System Center already in place how do I deploy System Center? Internally at Microsoft, with every milestone during development – CTP, Beta, RC, RTM – we rebuild the SCDemo environment to allow our field to learn the new capabilities we are delivering. PDT is the automation we use to do those rebuilds very quickly – usually in 2-4 hours. Yes, just 2-4 hours to deploy all of System Center including SQL and all prerequisites in a highly available configuration including all of the automatable post-setup integration. We want to provide you with the same efficiency. Check out the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit and get System Center 2012 up and running in no time!