For a long time I’ve wanted to build a home VMware lab for working toward the VCP qualification. Having taken a step back this year from other commitments that have taken up huge amounts of time for the last 3 or 4 years I now want to aim to get it out of the way by the end of Q2 this year.
I was going to use the Dell 1U Cloud Server that I bought a couple of years ago, but it’s simply too loud and wifey won’t let me run it for any decent length of time- and besides you don’t need the heating on when it’s running! I was also going to use my Synology NAS as I have an old 100GB iSCSI target on it already.
So last year – as I do a lot of this stuff for my job – I bought a Lenovo W540 laptop with a whopping 32GB RAM and a 4-core i7 (8 cores with hyper-threading) specifically for running vms. I work a lot with VMware so need something to run vms on. It also has a CD replacement 1TB hard drive. I bought a copy of VMware Workstation 10 and had a play. The 1TB drive frankly is way too slow. So after a bit of research into the speed differences between Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 – I bought a 500GB Crucial M4 SSD and a USB 3.0 caddy – there’s very little between them. Having loaded up the drive, I can run a full AutoLab off the SSD with practically no loss of performance.
But then it went missing.
So I had to start again. I bought another 500GB M4 and another USB 3.0 caddy, Only this time I’m going to do things a bit differently.
Having signed up for the new VMUG Advantage program, I got myself a 365-day licenced vCenter 5.5. I already have the relevant vSphere client, but though I don’t like it I really aught to get to grips with the new web client. I have 2 ESXi 5.1 hosts – I want to go a proper upgrade path to 5.5 U2 and have VUM running properly.
I had a look at the way a lot of people ran their labs and finally settled on something akin to this one:
My current setup is as follows:
- VMware Workstation 11 (Really don’t like the new interface – looks like an old CDE or Win 3.1 icon set.)
- DC – Windows 2008 R1
- Domain: Lab.local – I know – so unimaginative. But short to type!
- OpenFiler NAS with 40GB iSCSI and 10GB NFS shares
- 2 nested ESXi 5.1 hosts – build 799733 – lots of updating to do for practice.
- 4GB RAM
- 2 vCPU – 2 cores each. Because I can…
- iSCSI and NFS datastores
- vCenter 5.5
So that’s it for now. I have some small Linux OVFs to try out on the hosts.
That’s it for now. I’ll post updates as it goes along.