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Building a VMware vCloud Director (vCD) 5.1 Nested Lab: Part 1 – Hardware

April 13, 2013

I was recently contracted by Pearson to edit a VMware Press book on vCloud.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to update my lab at home, see my bLOG Article Comparing VMware Home Lab Solutions: HP’s Microserver, Intel’s NUC, and Apple’s MAC mini.  If you are considering setting up your own home lab to become familiar with vCloud Director you will need physical hardware to get started.  One of the quickest ways to determine the amount of equipment required for a VMware Home Lab is to download the Evaluation Guide for the product you plan on getting some hands-on experience with.  The VMware vCloud Director 5.1 Evaluation Guide states that you will need the following equipment:

Compute: One (1) ESXi Hosts for the Management Cluster and Four (4) ESXi Hosts for the Resource Cluster.

Note: If you have additional hosts available, consider using a second ESXi for the Management Cluster to provide redundancy.

Network: A single physical network.

Storage: One (1) 100 GB Shared Datastore. (3) 100 GB Datastores are recommended.

Five (5) physical computers for a lab environment can become a burden for a home lab.  I would encourage you to take a look at following bLOG posts to get an idea of the different physical server configurations that would work. Duncan Epping’s bLOG article Creating a vCD Lab on your Mac/Laptop at uses a MacBook Pro i7 with 8GB, and an i7 desktop with 12GB.  Chris Colotti’s bLOG article VMware vCloud “In A Box” for Your Home Lab at uses a Dell T310 Quad-core CPU and 20GB.  Justin Paul’s bLOG article Building a vCloud Lab Part 1: The Concept at uses an Intel Xeon computer and two HP DL385 G2 servers.

My environment consists of two MAC Mini 6.2 (Late 2012) computers each with a 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM, and a 256GB Solid State Drive.  I have also added a Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter to each which is used to connect to my shared storage solution. I will use one of the Mac Mini computers as the Management Cluster, which will home the following virtual machines: vCloud Director, Domain Controller, SQL Server, vShield Manager, and Management vCenter. The second MAC Mini will be used as the Resource Cluster and it will home the following virtual machines: vCloud vCenter, and up to four nested ESXi hosts.

I will be using a Cisco 3560 Compact Switch (WS-C3560CG-8PC), and a Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance ASA-5505 (ASA5505-SEC-BUN-K9) to provide the network infrastructure.

The shared storage solution I have chosen is a QNAP TS-239 Pro II Intel Atom powered 2-bay NAS populated with two Seagate ST3000DM00 3TB 7200 RPM Barracuda 3.5″ Internal Desktop Hard Drives.  I have installed the latest 3.8.3 build which supports VMware VAAI for iSCSI.

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