My home office hosts a small lab to study and test on a VMware vSphere 5 environmet.
This page has been written to describe the lab evolution and give some advices to others willing to build their own vLab.
I had three goals in the design of the vLab:
- prices (right now the total amount is 1668 €)
- size and noise of the components
- power consumption
My Home vLab will surely change during time, so if you want updated info, come to see again this page.
I use two ESXi 5.0 nodes built from Custom Built PCs. The design of these WhiteBoxes is described in details in this article. Hardware components are:
- Mainboard AS-Rock 970 Extreme4
- AMD FX-6100, 6 core @ 3.3 Ghz
- 16 Gb Ram, with 4 memory slots (I can further go to 32)
- boot from 1 Gb USB key
- single onboard nic Realtek 8168 Gigabit
- add-on nic Intel Pro1000 VT quad port gigabit
Overall price: 449 euro each, excluding the quad port Intel boards.
Every VMware environment properly configured needs a shared storage. To keep costs at a minimum, and to reuse the lab switch, my choise went to a iscsi storage.
I’m using a QNAP TS-259 Pro+, bought some months ago at 450 €. I installed two WD RE3 Raid Edition 1 Tb disks, at 70 € each. I had doubts about the raid configuration: raid 0 would give best performances and a 2 Tb shared storage, avrebbe consentito di avere delle prestazioni migliori e uno storage complessivo di 2 Tb, giving up every reliability.
After a small test where I saw creation/cloning/deploy of several virtual machines were taking some times anyway, I choose a raid 1, so I’m not risking to rebuild my whole lab everytime a disk will fail.
Performance tests sounds basically useless with this kind of hardware; if you want to do yours, refer to the suggested IOmeter configurations in this community thread Open unofficial storage performance thread, using the Real Life test.
Price: 590 €
I choosed a Netgear GS724T. It’s a 24 ports gigabit switch, web managed, with support for trunking, vlan, spanning tree, jumbo frames. With 24 ports I will be able in the near future to create several networks for iscsi (and for MPIO too) and data traffic. It’s a bit noisy, but lower products do not have the same features.
Overall is a great product for its price.
Price: 180 €
This post is also available in: Italian