The original poster did not comment on the delivery for grading: does the professor need to see it 24 x 7, or just fire it up, run the demo in the office, and then leave?
I have had to do various things similar to this in the past, and as a result, have a Mac laptop with lots of RAM, and simulated the machines with Virtual Machines. Not worried about security in this case as VM Hypervisors like Virtual Box or Parallels can create networks that live inside the machines with virtual interfaces. The VM can see each other, but not the real world.
Anyways, I generally use Linux for the backend, and either Mac or Windows for the front. Couple of Virtual Machines, and can backup the hard disks if desired if you want to keep snapshots of code or whatnot.
My latest project involves FreePBX and a telephone server running on a Virtual Machine, and working with the phones to demonstrate to a customer how the real thing will work.