With the recent requirement for a more realistic home lab, I have decided to add few hardware and devices to my existing home lab. To talk about my previous home lab, it was an HP tower CPU with i3 processor, 16GB of memory and couple of SSDs. It was an average setup created with the help of VMware Workstation.
Now let’s discuss about the present lab setup.
So my idea was to build a lab to practice on VMware deployment scenarios. So I have decided to buy 3 hosts and a dedicated storage box. While researching on hosts I was really thinking about some hardware which will take only less amount of electricity and take up little space compared to a full tower computer also less noise of the fans etc.
After doing some research I finally found Intel NUC computers and I have decided to buy it. Also my storage box decision has finally ended up in Synology NAS. Overall costs was also a concern, so I have decided to buy the i5processor based Intel NUC since I feel the computing power of i5 processor would be good enough to run few test VMs on the hosts. If you check VMware hardware compatibility guide you will not see the Intel NUC as a certified device. However it works flawlessly. There are also other minicomputer brands other than Intel. Gigabyte BRIX is another option. But make sure you select any MINI CPU with Intel VT supported processors.
The Intel NUC model I purchased was NUC5i5RYH. (It came without memory modules and hard drive) This NUC has SSD bay support and officially supports up to 16GB of memory. (I have seen some people have even tried with 32GB of memory on these models.) Intel NUC has a Fan less architecture. For booting the ESXi I am using a SanDisk USB thumb drives on all of my hosts.
The Synology model I selected was DS414s. It’s a 4 bay 2.5 inches drive support NAS and has ISCSI &NFS capabilities. It was purchased without the drives so I have decided to mount my existing SSDs on this.
Apart from these additions, I have decided to use my existing HP tower as a vCenter server and make use of the laptop as a management PC. Also everything is interconnected using a Cisco Layer 3 switch.
I am happy with the overall setup since it uses less amount of power and space compared to a tower pc setup and it also produces 0 noise moreover it’s a budget friendly setup.
Here is my lab diagram.
I am happy with the overall setup since it uses less amount of power and less space compared to a tower pc setup and it also produces 0 noise moreover it’s a budget friendly setup.