How to build my ESXi Home lab (part1)

Finally, I decided to get a home lab to prepare for my VMware certifications and to play around with upgrades and features. But then I realized it’s just the start of my journey. So many questions that suddenly pop-up. What do I get? How big is my budget? Do I want to pick and choose all my components or do I just go for an all-in-one box.
One thing was clear I didn’t want to spend to much time searching for individual components like a motherboard / CPU / memory / cooling / …. and I also didn’t want to buy a real server because of budget limits πŸ˜‰
So the only option that remained was a small factor PC. There are a lot of posts out there which describe a home lab with Intel NUC’s (pricy). But I also stumbled on a post from dutchvblog that described a lab with an Asrock deskmini 110. This sounded promising but when you do the math, you’re still talking about a budget that’s above 1.000€. Currently l need to invest that in getting my drive-way & garden summer-ready πŸ™‚ , so I knew this homelab wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
So I continued my search hoping for a miracle and this weekend I came across another post that talked about Ravello services. Building your homelab in the cloud, how cool is that. I did the math and to start I have 16 vCPU’s & 70 GB of disks, then you pay 0,20€ per hour. This means if you use it every day for 2 hours you pay approx 12€/month. I was convinced because that meant I could start my test environment NOW 😎
You can try it free for 1 month and if you’re a vExpert then you also have access to free lab services. You can find more info here

1. Getting access

So how do we start? You start with creating an account on the oracle cloud website here. What wasn’t clear to me was how to get access to the Ravello cloud, because the same credentials didn’t work when I tried to connect to the Ravello cloud here . At last I just clicked the option “Forgot your password?” and resetted it. Now I have 2 passwords, one password for the Oracle cloud and one for the Ravello cloud. Let’s go to step 2 πŸ™‚

2. Uploading ISO’s

First we need to upload some ISO’s to Ravello to be able to build our environment. So make sure that you first download these necessary files to your computer.

  1. ESXi & vCenter ISO’s =>
  2. Windows 2019 ISO or other OS for the Domain Controller / NTP / DNS config
  3. Vmware tools =>

1.Click on “Library” and then go to “Disk Images”

2. Click on “Import disk image”

3. The first time you will need to download and install the Ravello VM import tool

4. Once it’s downloaded and installed you will get a prompt for login

5. Click on upload

6. Click on “Upload a disk image (ISO, VMDK, QCOW)

7. So at the end you should see 4 extra ISO’s in your library. The last 3 were already present in my library before I started

In the next post we’ll create our environment. So stay tuned πŸ’‘

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