Home Lab 3.0

intel_nucToday, I performed a huge update to the home lab. There are so many changes since my last post that I think it warrants a v3.0 designation. What follows is some info on the new hardware.

First, let’s detail the new ESXi hosts. I recently discovered the Intel NUC via Twitter and a couple of blog posts. This box is small form-factor (about 4in  by 4in) Core i3 1.8GHz dual core machine, supporting up to 16GB of RAM. A smaller and lower power box when compared with the Mac Mini ESXi hosts that I built a year or so ago. I wish these had been around back then, as I could have built 5-6 or six of them for the price of the 2 Mac Minis that I am still using.

My goal in adding these machines the home lab was to provide additional resources for my vCloud Suite testing. Now I have 3 functional clusters with at least 2 hosts each. The first, a 16GB, 2-node cluster will be used for the vCenter Server Appliance and miscellaneous management systems. The second, a 32GB, 2-node cluster is for the vCloud Director appliance and vShield. Finally, the new 80GB, 5-node cluster will be used for vCloud resources. Below is a networking diagram detailing most of the environment.

As you can see from the diagram, I am up to 9 hosts at this point. Pretty crazy, I know, but there are so many products in VMware’s portfolio that it’s difficult to test them without a decent amount of memory.


Also, as you can see, I am running with several Netgear ReadyNAS units. The main one is the ReadyNAS NVX which I use for iSCSI and NFS connectivity. The other two, ReadyNAS Duo units, are used primarily for ISO and template storage and run NFS exclusively. I am expecting some new hardware that I will review and detail in the coming months, so you’ll have to watch this space for more information about that.


Finally, I added an 8-port Netgear switch, the GS108T which supports LACP and will serve as a good method by which to bind ports together for the new NAS in the near future. It comes at a good time, since one of my GS116 switches is having some issues. I’ll need to send that one in for repair shortly.

Stay tuned for more updates soon. Thanks for reading!

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