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 $2.5k in hardware. I will be using my home desktop with VMware Workstation to run my lab.
My home desktop has a good spec for the lab that I am going to build:
- Intel four cores I5-4690K @3.50GHz
- 32 GB of RAM
- 512 GB SSD as a boot disk
- 1 TB 7.2K RPM additional storage
The lab design will include the following:
- Vmware Workstation will be installed on my local PC
- Winodws 2012R2 – Runs as virtual machine
- ESXi0 -Runs as virtual machine
- ESXi1 -Runs as virtual machine
- ESXi2-Runs as virtual machine
- vCenter appliance -Runs as virtual machine
Lets go into details about each virtual machine installed in the lab.
Microsoft Windows 2012R2 can be downloaded from Microsoft website for 180 days evaluation (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2012-r2?i=1). I use Micorsoft Windows 2012R2 server as an Active directory, DHCP server, DNS server and iSCSI storage.
- 2 GB RAM
- One Processor
- 60 GB of HDD (configured on the 7.2K HDD)
- Two network adapters (mgmt network and bridge to my PC)
VMware vSphere components can be downloaded from VMware website for 60 days evaluation.(https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/downloads)
- 8 GB RAM
- 2 Processors
- 100 GB HDD (configured on SSD)
- 10 network adapters (redundancy and muliple networks)
I used the default configuration from the vCSA directory, just need to rename the file vmware-csa to vmware-csa.ova and import to VMware workstation.
Also I needed to append the following to vcenter.vmx file: (Thanks to virten.net : http://www.virten.net/2015/04/how-to-install-vcenter-server-appliance-vcsa6-in-vmware-workstation/)
guestinfo.cis.vmdir.password = “$VMware123”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.addr.family = “ipv4”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.addr = “10.10.10.4”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.prefix = “24”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.mode = “static”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.dns.servers = “10.10.10.1”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.gateway = “10.10.10.1”
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