Cost: FREE! All of the HOL’s at VMware are free, but time out after a certain time frame.
The purpose of this lab is to help in understanding the basics of VMware Virtual SAN. This self-paced lab is divided into 5 modules, each of which highlights important steps pertaining to configuration, feature enablement, and troubleshooting of VMware Virtual SAN. Each module contains multiple lessons that elaborate specific topics. The modules are independent of each and can be exercised in any order as preferred by the student.
You just plug this into the USB headers on the motherboard and you’re set. As long as your motherboard has one available! That’s the only gotcha. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one without it though. The hardest part I had was finding a good spot for it to hang. I ended up using a zip tie to secure it.
I’ll start off by saying that if you use a customized ESXi build with community supported vibs, you’re not going to want to constantly rebuild your ESXi hosts when new versions come out! Here’s what you can do to upgrade from 5.5 to 6.0 U2.
It’s a simple way to upgrade your hosts and is perfect for a small number of hosts.
Place the host you want to upgrade into Maintenance Mode.
On the host you’re about to upgrade, go to the Configuration tab > Security Profile and Enable SSH under Services.
Open PuTTY and SSH into your host.
Type the commands below into your host(s).
#Open the firewall for outgoing HTTP requests.
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
#Upgrades to ESXi 6 Update 2.
esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160302001-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
#When the above finishes, reboot the host.
After the host has been rebooted, return firewall to original state.
#Close the firewall for outgoing HTTP requests.
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
You also might consider turning off SSH as well, I’ll leave that up to you.
Rick Crisci from TrainerTests.com and fellow VCI, has documented the process of running a home lab in AutoLab in VMware Workstation. There are a couple benefits and downsides of running a VMware home lab in AutoLab. Lets cover those.
Relatively low cost of entry with just needing VMware Workstation and PowerCLI (free).
Possibly no extra hardware to purchase.
You can deploy it relatively easily.
You need a large machine capable of running multiple machines. Lots of memory is key here! A machine with 8-12GB of memory is barely going to cut it if you’re planning to keep your lab up and running to practice with.
Not all VMware features are supported. Fault Tolerance and vSAN will give you a bit of grief trying to configure it. The two links listed will help you get it running with a little added effort.
The time has come once again to update my home lab. I’m currently running Shuttle DS81 units and a Synology DS1515+. I plan to keep the NAS unit and upgrade my hosts. I have decided to move back to Intel NUCs this time. I have used them in the past and similar to the Shuttle boxes they are low power, relativley inexpensive, small and quiet. Everyone asks me about cost and generally these can be built for $650-750 USD.
Lets start with a parts list. For simplicity we will focus on building a simple standalone host, however you mind find it nicer having 2 or 3 of them. I will let your budget decide that!
NOTE:The disks below are only required if you’re planning to use vSAN, you can simply install ESXi to USB stick if you’re going to use some kind of NAS device like a Synology. For a basic no vSAN homelab.