Launch VMware Home Lab

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Part One: ESXi 6.7 U1


I've divided this topic into two parts, because I don't know if you like long texts or not. In this section, I will show you how to build an ESXi environment using a PC and ESXi 6.7 U1. In the following article I will show you how to build a Lab using a computer and VMware Workstation 15 Pro. Hope you both find it useful.

Comments on the scope of this article: What will I do here? 
As is clear from the title, today I will take a closer look at building a minimalist (small and simple) environment. Since you are just getting started on this topic, you may not be ready to spend a lot of money and time on a Lab. Well, then what is a free Setup? The setup I use today is conditional, free. This suite runs on ESXi Software Evaluation mode (Evaluation mode is software evaluation or test use), because with my budget, a 60-day trial period to enjoy the benefits of vSphere and get used to features Strange and its drawbacks are enough. 
This article can be useful for people who have just started working in virtualization environments or are working indirectly. Suppose you are a blogger or technical writer who has to write about virtualization, but there is still no opportunity for you to dig deeper. I know for myself that these people usually have limited financial resources, so they don't want to buy expensive software equipment and licenses. 
However, everyone who reads this short story has a personal computer! So why not use it to build a home lab? 
Setting up a lab with a computer has its drawbacks and limitations. But there are some tricks and solutions that I would gladly share with you. 
Let's get started!

Does your hardware support virtualization? 
Suppose you have a BIOS-based computer. With these quick steps you can enable CPU virtualization:

1. Reboot your computer and go to the BIOS screen. These are the common keys to enter the BIOS: Ctrl + Alt + Esc, Del, or F2. Remember that the next steps may be different for your computer, so before you start, look at the documentation and manuals provided by your motherboard company. 
2. Go to CPU settings. Find a subnet called  Processor ,  Chipset ,  Advanced CPU Configuration,  or  Nothbridge  . 
3. Now, you need to enable CPU virtualization technology. Depending on the processor you have, the option is Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT or AMD-V. 
4. Done! Save & Exit option  Tap to save the settings and exit the BIOS.

For UEFI-based computers, you should look for ways to enable CPU virtualization in the notebooks and documents provided with the motherboard, which may be different for each of these computers.

Build a Setup on ESXi 6.7 U1: Things to Know 
Using Nested Virtualization 1 Building a home lab with ESXi 6.7 U1 is easy to water. You just need these four little things:

1. A computer that meets the minimum hardware requirements of ESXi (see details  here  ) 
2. At least one CPU that supports virtualization; and it is best to have a hardware compatibility list ( Learn more ) 
3. Understand the Purpose of Using Setup: Estimate the storage capacity and amount of RAM needed to meet your expectations. 
4. A laptop: You need a laptop to connect to ESXi hosts through a web client.

HCL (Hardware Compatibility List) can be problematic. The problem is that there may be hardware components in your organization that do not formally support ESXi (due to functionality and reliability issues and concerns). Such a specific HCL may be a good reason to build a virtual suite because it is cheaper and provides you with the tools to manipulate the configuration. 
Chance is not helping me today, as my Realtek Network Adapter is not available in HCL. However, I decided to use an external Intel network card instead of creating a virtual suite. Remember when I said at the beginning of the text that I only use my computer here? I know that using an external network card is a cheat, but I still use my computer anyway! Hope you are lucky than me and your equipment is in HCL. 
Well I'm sure your hardware will be the minimum ESXi system required. These days, it's hard to find a computer with less than 8GB of RAM or no multi-core CPUs that support virtualization technology. So yes, I think you need nothing more or less than a PC to build a Home Lab. Here's a little tip before you get started: You may lose your data because installing Hypervisor involves formatting the disk.

computer configuration toolkit  used for today's article is as follows:

• Intel (R) Core (TM) i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz (CPU); 
• Gigabyte Z68X-UD7-B3 (Motherboard); 
• 24 Gb (RAM); 
• 2 x 1TB (HDD); 
• 1 x 1 Gb / s RTL8111E (LAN); 
• 1 x 1 Gb / s Intel ® PRO / 1000 PT Dual Port Server Adapter (LAN);

Also here I used a laptop with Windows 10 (10.0.14393) and a 100MB / s switch with  DHCP 2 as the secondary infrastructure. The configuration of this used laptop is not important for this article. The second (switch) is used to communicate between a computer and a laptop. 
Now let's discuss the components in my environment. To build the Lab, you need ESXi 6.7 U1 and VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 U1.  You can access both of these if you  sign up for the official VMware site . 
Now let's take a look at this whole Lab: 


I should point out that the connection between layer 2 VMs is disabled by default. Well, this is one of the problems with Nested virtualization. No worries, there is a solution: You need to enable Promiscuous mode in layer 1 and in the virtual switch settings. Also keep in mind that you must pre-allocate some resources to the vCenter server in order not to warn you about the performance of VMs from layer 2. Rest assured, just by allocating a small fraction of the resources available to both ESXi hosts, you can easily ensure smooth running without the hassle of everything you need.

Let's test the lab! 
Layer 0
First of all, install ESXi on your computer. If you need help with this process,   take a look at this guide . 
When you're done with the installation, connect to the ESXi host from the laptop using the web interface.

Layer 1
Let's look at the configuration of the two VMs that will be our hosts today:

• 8 x Intel (R) Core (TM) i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz (CPU); 
• 1 x 8 Gb (RAM); 
• 1 x 300 GB (HDD); 
• 1 x VMware Paravirtual (SCSI controller); 
• 1 x 10 Gb / s (VMXNET 3 LAN);

In fact, there is a good reason for my use of these parameters. I distributed and distributed resources among layer 1 VMs. Each VM received 8 vCPUs and 8 GB of RAM, which I think is sufficient for this article. 
Instead, the vCenter server VM received 2 vCPUs and 10 GB of RAM.

Setting up ESXi Hosts
How to create ESXi hosts  is  discussed here . Although that article is about installing Windows on a VM, I still think you can understand the rule and its general function. Just use the ESXi file instead of the Windows Image image. I also don't want to overwrite the guide written there, so I'll just highlight the key points at the bottom. 
First, specify the correct operating system settings on the host. This makes it easier to work with VMs.

The alert that comes with running this configuration states that if you run this configuration you cannot count on VMware support. Anyway, we disregard this message. In my opinion, everything will go smoothly without any problems and there will be no need for support. 
Check the Expose hardware-assisted virtualization to the guest OS option (  embedding hardware  -supported virtualization exposed to the guest operating system); otherwise, you cannot run Layer 2 VMs. If you forget to tick this option, no worries. You can enable it later in VM settings.  

How many vCPUs do you need to assign to hosts? Only a few that the new Virtual Machine Wizard allows! In my case, it was a coincidence that the number of my sockets corresponded to the number of cores per socket. Of course, it is unclear, maybe later I will need to reset these values. 
Well here it is! You will need to reinstall ESXi so you have learned how to install it. 
When the installation is complete, go to the ESXi-Host-0 web interface and enter the ESXi-Host-1 and ESXi-Host-2 IPs. A friendly tip: Think about IP address distribution beforehand. Automatic DHCP is a good option (I used it here), but manually specifying IPs can save you from annoying bugs in the future.

Installing vCenter server 6.7 U1
Now let's install vCenter server 6.7 U1 on ESXi-Host-0.

I did not set the IPs manually because they are automatically specified when installing the DHCP server. You can learn and configure the vCenter Server IP in the same way that you do for VMs.

For more information about installing vCenter Server to  here  , see. 
When vCenter Server is installed successfully, log in and add hosts.

Layer 2 
Now let's create VMs! I decided not to allocate more than 1 VM in the article for each host. Of course, the configuration I'm using here allows me to run more than one VM, but I don't want to make them longer. The number of VMs you can create in a host depends on the amount of RAM they use. 
Both VMs have the same configuration:

• 2 x Intel (R) Core (TM) i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz (CPU); 
• 1 x 4 Gb (RAM); 
• 1 x 40 GB (HDD); 
• 1 x VMware Paravirtual (SCSI controller); 
• 1 x 10 Gb / s (VMXNET 3 LAN);


Let's install guest operating system on both VMs.


Well already, this Setup is now ready to use. 
Today, I took a closer look at how to build a relatively inexpensive Lab using a computer, laptop, switch and ESXi 6.7 U1 Evaluate mode. The setup I described here provides a lab with a limited budget for start-ups who can try virtualization. enjoy!

Nested Virtualization  1  refers to the process of running a Hypervisor within another Hypervisor, meaning that you are creating a Virtual Machine in a Virtual Machine. 
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol  2


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Sabir Hussain Soomro
About Sabir Hussain Experienced IT Specialist with a history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in VMware ESX, Domain Name System (DNS), DHCP, VoIP, Water Backup Solutions, Adobe Connect, Servers, and Data Center. but quickly found a large following of readers and subscribers. Connect on: Google + or Feel free to network via Twitter.@VMGate110