My vSphere 7 Homelab

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?

Requirements

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

AppliancevCPUMemoryDisk Space
vRealize Automation Appliance418GB140GB
Infrastructure Core Server48GB40GB
Infrastructure Web Server28GB40GB
Infrastructure Manager Server28GB40GB
Infrastructure Web/Manager Server28GB40GB
Infrastructure DEM Server28GB40GB
Infrastructure Agent Server28GB40GB
MSSQL Database Server28GB40GB
vRealize Business for Cloud Appliance28GB50GB

vRA 8 hardware requirements

AppliancevCPUMemoryDisk Space
vRealize Lifecycle Manager26GB33GB
VMware Identity Manager26GB60GB
vRealize Automation832GB7GB

NSX Data Center hardware requirements

AppliancevCPUMemoryDisk Space
NSX Manager416GB60GB
NSX Controller44GB28GB
NSX Edge1512MB1GB

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

AppliancevCPUMemoryDisk Space
SRM Light28GB16GB

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.
HardwareTypePriceWebsite
MoboSupermicro X9DRD-7LN4F-JBOD267,75€Ebay.be
RAM256GB : 4 x Hynix 64GB PC3-12800L 240Pin
DDR3-1600MHz LRDIMM ECC RAM
412,78€Ebay.com
CPUIntel Xeon E5-2650V2 LGA 201162,48€Ebay.com
CaseDEEPCOOL Matrexx 55 Mesh48,90€Tones.be
PowerSEASONIC 650W S12III ATX 80+ Bronze70,35€Tones.be
PowerMSI 650W MPG A650GF ATX 80+ Gold Modular119,95€Tones.be
CPU cooler2 x Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition115,90€Tones.be
CPU cooler2 x Noctua NH-U9DX i4119,80€Amazon.de
HDKINGSTON 120GB21,64€Tones.be
HDSAMSUNG 2000GB209,99€Tones.be
SwitchNetgear GC11029,95€iBood
Total cost1.293,24€

Assembling

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 😀

Closing off

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.


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