Learn how to create a VMware vSphere 6.x Home Lab to replicate the training environment.
Before virtualization, there were many computers in my house that required maintenance, upgrades, replacements, and so forth. I also needed the power to run them all. This was both time-consuming, and expensive. VMware Workstation 2.0 was my first use. It allowed me to create virtual machines (VMs) to study NetWare, NT 4.0, and Windows 2000. It has been a part of all my studies since then. I now have two lab computers, one for my office and one for when I travel. ESX/ESXi wasn’t available in a VM at first. This meant that ESX(i) required more hardware to be learned and studied. It is possible to virtualize ESX(i) inside a Workstation VM or inside a vSphere Server starting with ESX 3.5. This is not supported. You can run ESXi 6.x within ESXi Fusion 7, VMware Workstation 11 or higher. Global Knowledge and VMware offer vSphere 6 courses in this manner: ESXi servers are used for class but run as VMs on ESXi hosts. This works well, but it requires a dedicated machine. This is possible in a business setting, but it can be difficult for small businesses and other organizations that don’t have spare hardware. This whitepaper will show you how Fusion 10 or Workstation 14 can be used to create a hosted environment.
My students frequently ask me how to set-up a lab for class after lesson. This whitepaper is the result. The whitepaper does not endorse specific vendors, but instead provides examples of products that meet the recommended specifications.
This whitepaper is divided into three sections. The first section is about hardware requirements. The second discusses VMware Workstation configuration. Finally, the third discusses installing vSphere 6.x (vC) or vSphere 6.x. This whitepaper does not give a complete overview of how to configure and install vSphere. To obtain certification, you will need to take a VMware class.
The big question is where you plan to build your lab. Or, if it should be mobile. In most cases, a desktop/server configuration will suffice. If you need to show products or conduct research at multiple locations, a laptop configuration may be more suitable. It will likely cost you more.
You will need at least 2 cores (or processors) to install ESXi and VC. This will make it slow. To ensure sufficient CPU power for the VMs and the host operating system (OS), I recommend at least four cores or CPUs. Eight cores are sufficient. If you plan to create and run I/O-intensive VMs or run many VMs simultaneously, at least 12 cores is recommended. ESXi 6 (vSphere 6) is 64-bit-capable. Make sure to purchase 64-bit-capable CPUs with Intel VT (or AMD V) support. This is both on the CPU and in the BIOS.