Till today I was able to run a basic setup on my developer workstation with 64GB of RAM. But once you want to start working with several products as vSphere, vRA & NSX it just doesn’t cut it anymore.
So I finally decided to invest in a real homelab for further experimenting. However, the only problem that I had, was my tiny budget 🙂 . I started looking at the different homelabs on the VMware community that you can find on github (link). Here I filtered out the homelabs with a budget of max 2K.
After checking them all, there was one that appealed to me, and that was the one of “vmexplorer”. Now let me explain why I’ve chosen that one specifically. Due to my low budget, I can only afford 1 host. So if you can use a motherboard with a dual-cpu you just have more cores to spend for your workloads.
But with reading his blog it was clear that like in any situation you need to create your requirements. So what do you want to run in your environment simultaneously?
My requirements were to play around with vSphere 7, vRA & NSX. And because I was still supporting a vRA 7 environment I also added these into my requirements. However there’s no need to have both vRA versions running in my case. You can certainly consolidate all these Windows servers on 1 or 2 servers. So there is certainly a possibility to lower your footprint for vRA 7, certainly in a lab environment.
vRA 7 hardware requirements
|vRealize Automation Appliance||4||18GB||140GB|
|Infrastructure Core Server||4||8GB||40GB|
|Infrastructure Web Server||2||8GB||40GB|
|Infrastructure Manager Server||2||8GB||40GB|
|Infrastructure Web/Manager Server||2||8GB||40GB|
|Infrastructure DEM Server||2||8GB||40GB|
|Infrastructure Agent Server||2||8GB||40GB|
|MSSQL Database Server||2||8GB||40GB|
|vRealize Business for Cloud Appliance||2||8GB||50GB|
vRA 8 hardware requirements
|vRealize Lifecycle Manager||2||6GB||33GB|
|VMware Identity Manager||2||6GB||60GB|
NSX Data Center hardware requirements
I added SRM in the requirements because if needed I can always virtualize an ESX to play around with SRM.
Site Recovery Manager hardware requirements
Bill of materials
Because I live in Europe the motherboard was more expensive. During my search on the web, I’ve found them cheaper in the United States, but I wasn’t able to find one seller that shipped them to Europe.
In my bill of materials you will some items that are striked through. This is because I made an intial mistake when I’ve ordered my components. It’s important to check all your needs and go through the specs of your motherboard.
- For your power supply it’s important that you have 2 EPS connectors (4 + 4) for the dual CPU’s.
- For the CPU coolers it’s important that the cooler supports the LGA2011 Narrow ILM version.
|RAM||256GB : 4 x Hynix 64GB PC3-12800L 240Pin |
DDR3-1600MHz LRDIMM ECC RAM
|CPU||Intel Xeon E5-2650V2 LGA 2011||62,48€||Ebay.com|
|Case||DEEPCOOL Matrexx 55 Mesh||48,90€||Tones.be|
|Power||MSI 650W MPG A650GF ATX 80+ Gold Modular||119,95€||Tones.be|
|CPU cooler||2 x Noctua NH-U9DX i4||119,80€||Amazon.de|
Getting the motherboard in it’s case. Make sure that you check the correct position of the standoffs compared to the mounting holes. I had to add 3 extra standoffs to support the E-ATX board and then I had to move the 3 center standoffs to match the mounting holes.
Here you can see my initial install process to check if there were no hardware issues. And then on the right the final result of my homelab in it’s case 😀
I’m SUPER happy that I finally bought my own hardware for my homelab. And boy I must say it’s a SUPER quiet lab. I don’t even hear it and it’s just standing on my desk. An added value during the winter is that my room is now extra warm because of the heat 😀 Hopefully I’ll still be positive during the summer.