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My v mware solutions home lab


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I've built a VMware vSphere home lab in an economical way, using physical components, and good ones at that, that enble testing/training on many VMware technologies.

I've built a VMware vSphere home lab in an economical way, using physical components, and good ones at that, that enble testing/training on many VMware technologies.

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  • 1. My VMware Solutions Home Labby Brian Drew
    There have been many questions from many sources asking the same thing – how can I build an economical but practical home lab to evaluate, learn and test VMware solutions?
    I built one that I believe, and those that know it believe, meets the requirements quite well without breaking the bank. It is detailed in this slide deck.
  • 2. Overview
    Physical Components
    Software Components
    Next Steps
    The flow of this deck will proceed in the order above. The information in here is not meant to be an exhaustive how-to manual but rather represent what I used to build a fully-functional vSphere environment that allows for testing of many VMware solutions including View, Capacity IQ, Update Manager, and of course vSphere functions like HA, vMotion and DRS. I’ve done it using VMware Workstation with ESX/i as virtual servers as well and that works, to a degree. I discovered that for my purposes a physical, more real-world environment was best.
  • 3. When all is done my core vSphere environment looks like this. You can see that DRS, HA, and vMotion are fully operational. If I had room for another screen shot you’d see that the cluster memory at about 50%. So will this environment do everything – no. Will it do a lot of things – absolutely.
  • 4. Physical Components
  • 5. More detail of network and storage
    Physical components continued
  • 6. ESXi 4.1 – don’t use ESX, use ESXi
    SQL - can use xpress but I use dedicated MS SQL 2008 on a virtual machine
    AD , DNS & DHCP (for View) – on Windows VM (I point NTP at so don’t need my own)
    vCenter Server – dedicated VM
    Update Manager – if using can install on vCenter server. I build dedicated VM.
    View 4.6 – I’m a VDI guy so built out View also. You install Composer on the vCenter server.
    You can see these again in the OVERVIEW slide above.
    Software components
  • 7. ESXi installation - as servers didn’t come with DVD I used PXE boot, scripted option. More complex but more real-world.
    Once 1 ESXi server built (or do both at same time, what ever), connect directly to it with vSphere Client to create SQL server. Need SQL running before installing vCenter.
    Using vSphere Client, connect to ESXi host again and build vCenter server.
    Suck your ESXi hosts into vCenter.
    Software components continued
  • 8. Configure/add storage – carve up on external disk if you have it then in vCenter create iSCSI connections and create VMFS datastores or NFS, etc.
    Configure networking – configure on-board ports as vMotion network and Intel add-on with virtual machine network
    Create cluster, add hosts, enable HA and/or DRS
    Start testing
    Next Steps
  • 9. Let me know what questions you might have. Clearly I’ve assumed a lot of knowledge here. All of the detail is in the VMware docs on how to do what.
    The PXE piece is a bit dicey the first time. You’ll need DHCP and I used IIS for the binaries. You need an TFTP server too. I used Tftpd32. Here’s a screen shot of my PXE boot/scripted ESXi installation environment to help.
    Next steps continued