Hi everyone! One last post before the year's end to mask a long inactivity 🙂
The last time I wrote on the blog was about a fundraiser directed to support my lab and education training costs. I was able to negociate with my workplace regarding the hardware, and I went to an easily deployable solution after strongly being inspired by @vTexan's own post.
My initial thought was to setup the lab at home, but considering the fact that our youngest son requires a lot of attention and that my wife is pregnant, I did a u-turn and decided instead to keep the lab at work and use this occasion to train and upskill my colleagues as well. Another benefit is that I don't need to turn my living room into a server room filled with cables, network devices and so on, plus I have all the hardware & cables I need immediately available in the office.
We had enough HP dc7700 sff and Dell Optiplex 755 workstations available at work, so I picked up three machines to setup a lab wich will consist of two ESXi hosts and one NFS server running on OpenFiler 2.3.
Each of the ESXi hosts are the small form factor version of the Optiplex 755 and were upgraded to 8 GB of RAM. The motherboard has 4 banks and supports a maximum of 8 GB so we bought a fair amount of 2x 2GB modules from Kingston. The OpenFiler server runs for now with 2 GB RAM and may get an upgrade later. For this server, I use the medium tower form factor version of the OptiPlex 755, as the SFF version can only mount one HDD. This box is provisional and will get replaced by an HP pizzabox. These machines were around in the office for a long time and I flashed their bios to the latest version to ensure all would be supported. After a couple issues with the VMware vSphere Appliance not starting, I had to disable Intel Trusted Execution on the bios as per instructions on VMware KB1003944.
We added a Cisco Catalyst 3650G switch to provide 1Gbps connectivity and allow for vMotion.
Here's a view of the provisional setup (note how there's no NIC redundancy yet):
There are quite some changes I'm planning ahead:
- boot from USB
- get several low profile NICs to provide redundancy and create a separate vMotion vmkernel port group, as well as allowing the use of multipathing and different iSCSI targets.
- reconfigure the catalyst switch and use vlans
- bringing in an HP DL360 G5 pizzabox with a bunch of local attached storage. I'm considering I will reconfigure it to use Openfiler, turning the current Optiplex 755 filer into a 3rd ESXi host.
The fun never ends, so stay tuned, and a Merry Christmas to you all!