VMware ESXi 5.5 for a Home lab

Recently I have been working on beefing up my home lab so I can have a sandbox to play with a lot of the new emerging technology out there like Cloudera, OpenStack, EMC ScaleIO, etc. My new home lab is as follows:

  • HP ProLiant DL360 G5 Server
    • 2x Quad Core 2.5Ghz
    • 16GB of RAM
    • 2x 146GB 10k SAS drives (Raid 1)
  • Lenovo IX2 2-Bay NAS
    • 2x 3TB 7.2k drives (Raid 1)
  • VMware ESXi 5.5 (Free Version)

This setup has actually worked pretty well since the ESXi 5.5 free limitations has been lifted by VMware. Some of the new enhancements from 5.1 to 5.5 are:

  • 320 physical CPUs per host (160 in ESXi 5.1)
  • 4 TB of Memory (2 TB in ESXi 5.1)
  • 16 NUMA Nodes (8 in ESXi 5.1)
  • 4096 vCPUs can be allocated to VMs (2048 in ESXi 5.1)

But there are few caveats since in 5.5 almost everything has moved to the new Web client:

  • To create (or grow existing virtual disks), a vSphere Web client must be used (not the Windows client).
  • When managing virtual hardware through vSphere Windows Client, there might be errors shown.

I am looking forward to setting up a few VMs in my new Sandbox to play around with. The first being OpenStack using the devStack deployment. As everything starts moving to the cloud and open-source, OpenStack is starting to become a massive player and has gained a lot of traction. I hope to do a post on them in the next coming months.

For now, I am just very excited to start tinkering! 🙂

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