Reading Time: 5 minutes

December 5, 2021

Home Lab VMware

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Having a Home lab VMware means having your Server/Workstation/Laptop, Switch, Storage, Router equipment at home.

Moreover, VMC on AWS is a VMware Cloud service that is hosted on Amazon Datacenters, and you cannot run this software at home since there is no ISO or any other way to export the “bits” shared with you the official link for VMC on AWS pricing.

VMware vSAN is enterprise-class storage virtualization software that provides the lightest HCI and cloud hybrid path proving dual-port settings and an appropriate datastore.

Most probably is better to rent service from another Hosting datacenter (e.g., Rent a Server Online | Professional Hosting with a myriad of server space) or buy instances as a service (for example, EC2 from AWS -> EC2 Instance Pricing – Amazon Web Services (AWS) )

To build a VMware Home Lab, you need to define your requirements:

  • to provision a few virtual machines with different operating systems for learning purposes – its an 8 core computer + 32 GB RAM + 1 TB storage which is sufficient
  • to build a nested Infrastructure (e.g., VMware infrastructure, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen servers) on top of your hypervisor, you will need a min 16 cores + min 64 GB RAM + > 2 TB storage (preferable NAS) + 2 NICs

What is VMware home lab?

VMware is definitely one of the best virtualization platforms globally, popular with IT professionals for its ability to provide high-speed, reliability, scalability, security, and convenience operations. VMware users are growing every day – VMware delivers virtualization solutions for both home and enterprise users, satisfying them all. You have the power to set up your own price.

We can install VMware Type 2 Hypervisor on existing desktop and laptop operating systems, while Type 1 Hypervisor can be situated directly on physical servers (bare-metal hypervisor). Type 2 hypervisors such as VMware Player, Fusion, or Workstation are usually more accessible to IT users and enthusiasts than Type 1 hypervisor (ESXi Host Server).

Not every user has a physical server or servers in their inventory available to try an enterprise virtualization solution from ESXi and VMware vSphere 7 client. Technically, the installation process of ESXi can be performed on a physical computer. However, you may need to integrate a VIB package into the image on the ESXi installation disc if the ESXi installer cannot detect some devices (the VIB packages contain the drivers for the ESXi device).

As hardware, depending on your budget:

  • you can buy a new or used workstation/server;
  • you can buy computer components and build your server (I made my lab setup this way), and the advantage is that you can commence with a minimal budget (for example, 1000 euros) and over time, you can update/upgrade your LAB components;
  • you can buy mini servers, switch, and shared storage (NAS).

Hardware configuration for Home Lab VMware

VMware Workstation is used in today’s blog post to deploy ESXi hosts as virtual machines. In addition, VMware provides complete built-in virtualization environment feature settings.

You can create a new virtual machine that runs in the VM environment. In this particular case, you can deploy a virtual machine to an ESXi host running the VM. To be comfortable with VMware Home Lab, you need to have a computer that supports the VMware Home Lab hardware requirements:

  • 32 GB of RAM, 1.3 GHz multi-core x64 processor or higher core speed (manufactured in 2011 or later) that supports Intel VT-x or AMD-V virtualization hardware extensions;
  • Hard disk drive (HDD) with about 200 GB of free space (SSD is preferred due to higher read/write speed);
  • Ethernet network adapter;
  • Linux or Windows x64 operating system (with GUI) installed on your physical machine.

Required software

The following software is used for VMware Home Lab and vCenter Server appliance:

  • VMware Workstation 15 is used as a desktop hypervisor
  • VMware ESXi Server 6.7 as VM (2 VMs in total)
  • VMware vCenter Server 6.7 (install vCenter as a virtual machine, deployed as a new virtual machine)
  • FreeNAS 11.2 for creating iSCSI shared storage (1 VM)
  • Lubuntu 16 Linux for installing a nested VM

Essential components of a VMware home lab

First, make sure the hardware you are considering supports your hypervisor since some hypervisors work with almost any product if the CPU allows hardware virtualization; others are incredibly picky about the hardware.

Servers

When administrators deploy virtualization hosts in the data center, they always use real server-class hardware.

Computer hardware is the cheapest option, and computers are now robust enough to grant you to build a decent virtualization host.

Workstation-class hardware provides you server-like configuration options, such as multiple physical processors and error-correction memory, but no server-level cost.

CPU

When you build a virtualization host, the CPU resources of the host are shared between the VMs running the host. As a best practice, look for fast multi-core processors.

When choosing a processor, consider the CPU generation. For example, a 10th generation Intel processor is usually faster than a 7th generation processor.

RAM

RAM is one of the essential considerations when choosing a VM home lab hardware. Server RAM is ultimately one factor limiting how many VMs your virtualization hosts can operate.

There are two primary principles to consider when choosing RAM: speed and quantity. For a home lab virtualization host, the part is usually more important than the speed.

Storage

Storage is the most crucial consideration when choosing hardware for a virtualization host. While it is true that you need enough storage capacity to fit all your VMs, the storage must work at a level that will allow it to handle all VM requirements for IOPS.

Hypervisor

Base your choice of the hypervisor on what you are comfortable with and what your budget allows. For example, if you are well versed in Microsoft Hyper-V but know relatively little about VMware vSphere 7, it makes more sense to deploy Hyper-V.

Note that there are several deployment options

Network

Your home server requires a network connection for the VM to access the Internet and other resources on your home network. Remember that not all supervisors work with Wi-Fi when evaluating your network requirements. The IP address is also involved in the network to improve the production environment. Also, a backup file for VMware is of utmost importance to complete your task of creating a Home Lab VMware.

Virtual machine management software

Remember to consider virtual machine management software. VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V come with everything you need to create and manage virtual machines. Besides, you don’t have to invest in additional software if you need basic management skills, since VMware ESXi is the ultimate hypervisor to perform any task. To install ESXi, please contact me at my official email.

Conclusion

Domestic laboratory VMs are useful for testing new technologies for work and personal use. Nevertheless, building a virtualization host for home use is something of an art form; you must select only the appropriate hardware and software components to get excellent VM performance.

The first step in building a virtual machine for a home lab is to decide which hypervisor you should use and get an idea of ​​what type and how many VMs you would like to use. This step is key to finding hardware that will support your Home Lab VMware.