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DaveHenry1
2 Iron

What Should I Have in a VMware Home Lab?

I've reached that point where it's becoming clear that I finally need my own VMware home lab.  Someplace I can test configurations, increase my knowledge, help myself prepare for advanced certifications, and maybe participate the occasional beta test.

What will I want to have in a "minimal" home lab set up?  And what might I want to add to my wish list to move it from "minimal" to "ideal"?

I'm thinking that, at a minimum, I'll need:

  • A network storage device capable of doing both NFS and iSCSI simultaneously (I'm going to want to play with both VAAI-Block and VAAI-NAS)
  • At least 2 servers (I'll want to test HA, FT, vMotion, DRS, etc.)
  • A 1Gbps or faster network switch

What have I missed?

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5 Replies
orcsab
1 Nickel

Re: What Should I Have in a VMware Home Lab?

Dave, I'd argue that two servers are not needed.  Instead invest that money is more memory and cores.  You can run vSphere embedded on a single server, which will allow you to do HA, FT, vMotion, etc.

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DaveHenry1
2 Iron

Re: What Should I Have in a VMware Home Lab?

Scott,

Thanks! I hadn't thought of that.  Will running vSphere embedded allow me to create two separate datacenters?  I'd like to be able to test and play with different disaster recovery options, SRM, etc.

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orcsab
1 Nickel

Re: What Should I Have in a VMware Home Lab?

No problem.  Once ESXi (now properly called "The VMware Hypervisor") is running in a VM it is in every way like a standalone server.  You can logically organize them however you like.  Stand-alone, clustered, multiple clusters, etc.  Just keep on throwing RAM at your server and have a decent CPU.  The performance bottleneck will likely be your storage.

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jase_mccarty
1 Nickel

Re: What Should I Have in a VMware Home Lab?

Dave,

I can't say I disagree with Scott, despite having 2 servers in my Co-Lo...

I will augment what Scott has said with one thing... Make sure that this system has remote console/power/etc access.  The two systems I have, have an iKVM, allowing me to get to the console, without having to physically be attached to the machine.  I can remotely power on/off a system as well.  It makes a big difference when you can connect to a jump box, and remotely power on your lab server(s).

Good luck,

Jase

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teovmy
2 Iron

Re: What Should I Have in a VMware Home Lab?

When you want to start very low budget use Workstation or Fusion, depends on your hardware. Make sure there is enough memory to run more virtual machines. When you have the luxery use a NAS like Synology or Iomega. In any case something so you can offer LUN's to these systems. Building it like this consumes not much.

But there are situation you prefer deticated hardware.

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