My VCP6-DCV Home Lab

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Physical Hardware or nested ESXi… that is the question. So after thinking about it for a long time, I decided that for my home lab, I will be using the less expensive lab configuration instead of investing over $2.5k in hardware. I will be using my home desktop with VMware Workstation to run my lab.

My home desktop has a good spec for the lab that I am going to build:

  • Intel four cores I5-4690K @3.50GHztask_manager_PC
  • 32 GB of RAM
  • 512 GB SSD as a boot disk
  • 1 TB 7.2K RPM additional storage


The lab design will include the following:

  • Vmware Workstation will be installed on my local PC
  • Winodws 2012R2 – Runs as virtual machine
  • ESXi0 -Runs as virtual machine
  • ESXi1 -Runs as virtual machine
  • ESXi2-Runs as virtual machine
  • vCenter appliance -Runs as virtual machine



Lets go into details about each virtual machine installed in the lab.

Windows Server

Microsoft Windows 2012R2 can be downloaded from Microsoft website for 180 days evaluation (  I use Micorsoft Windows 2012R2 server as an Active directory, DHCP server, DNS server and iSCSI storage.

The VMware workstation configuration for this virtual machine:esx0esx1_config

  • 2 GB RAM
  • One Processor
  • 60 GB of HDD (configured on the 7.2K HDD)
  • Two network adapters (mgmt network and bridge to my PC)






VMware vSphere components can be downloaded from VMware website for 60 days evaluation.(

The VMware workstation configuration for this two virtual machines:win2012R2_config

  • 8 GB RAM
  • 2 Processors
  • 100 GB HDD (configured on SSD)
  • 10 network adapters (redundancy and muliple networks)




vCenter Appliance

I used the default configuration from the vCSA directory, just need to rename the file vmware-csa to vmware-csa.ova and import to VMware workstation.

Also I needed to append the following to vcenter.vmx file: (Thanks to :

guestinfo.cis.vmdir.password = “$VMware123” = “ipv4” = “” = “24” = “static” = “” = “”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.root.passwd = “$VMware123”


At the beginning I will use the Microsoft windows server as my main storage, I will also use other storage appliances such as FreeNAS and EMC Storage appliance (both are free).


At the beginning I will use VMware vSwitch.  Later on I will try some Cisco appliances.

Shutdown/Power up lab sequence:

Shutdown – vCenter –> ESXi2–>ESXi1 –> ESXi0 –> Windows 2012R2

Power up –  Windows 2012R2 –> ESXi0 –> ESXi1 –> ESXi2 –>vCenter




One Comment

  • Hi
    Great post. I am about to undertake a VCAP-DCV Deploy as my VCP-DCV is due to expire next year.

    I have the benefit of using a dedicated host using HP server hardware which is only a few years old so can support nesting and 64bit VMs and virtualisation is fully supported. I read you post about using VMware Workstation and creating a really powerful VM based on Windows 7 to install VMware workstation.

    My question is will the above setup you have outlined be enough for me to use as a LAB to for this certification. The only difference I wanted to do was have 2 ESX hosts rather than 3.

    Look forward to any advice you can offer.


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