Get an introduction to equipment needed to build a vSphere 6.5 home lab with a Gigabyte Brix, but an Intel NUC Mini PC will work too.
- In this class I'll be installing ESXi onto a physical server and then building the lab environment on top of that. By installing onto a physical server rather than using VMware Workstation installed on top of Windows, I'm able to get the best performance out of my hardware. I'll be using a Gigabyte Brix for the installation, however you can also use the Intel NUC, or the HP MicroServer or the Mac Mini. All of these are very commonly used as lab environments so there's a lot of information out there on how to install ESXi on them.
Whatever hardware you use, it's important to make sure that the network driver and the storage driver are both supported by VMware. Otherwise you'll have to do a custom image build. For the Gigabyte Brix I'll show you how to do a custom image build. I like the Gigabyte Brix because its small form factor makes it easy for me to take it with me when I travel. This Brix has a single network port as well as multiple USB ports and an HDMI output for video. Most of the time we're not going to need to use video however. I have a small thumb drive plugged into the back of the Brix so that I can use that to install the operating system on and the flash drive inside of here can be used just for storing virtual machines.
Also inside of here is 16 gig of memory. Whatever hardware you're using I recommend that you install as much memory that you possibly can because that's going to be the resource that you run out of first. The SSD drive inside of here is 250 gig. You don't really need anything larger than that because we're going to run out of memory in CPU before we get anywhere near running out of disk space. I do however recommend that you use a flash drive rather than a spinning disk as the performance of a spinning disk will greatly affect your lab performance. I plug the Gigabyte Brix into a VLAN capable switch.
This is just a small NETGEAR ProSAFE. Any VLAN capable switch will give you an advantage because you can build it closer to what an actual production environment would look like. However, because not everybody has a VLAN capable switch, when I build the lab environment for the class I'm not going to use VLANs. Finally, because I travel a lot and I need to access the internet in hotel rooms I use a small wifi access point. This plugs into the switch and then I connect this up to the hotel wifi, thus allowing for my entire lab environment internet access.
Next up, let's take a look at the software needed for the installation.
- Virtual machine benefits
- Building a lab environment with a mini PC
- Working with ESXi and vCenter Server
- Installing a control center VM
- Using the HTML5 client and the web client
- Adding an ESXi host and use Remote Console
- Configuring vSAN and storage profiles
- Adding NFS datastore
- Deploying a virtual machine from OVA
- Performing a cloning operation
- Using templates
- Performing a vMotion migration
- Working with snapshots