Building a Virtual ESX Lab

mrx9000mrx9000 Posts: 37Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Assuming it is possible! I am imminently planning to build a full ESX server infrastructure within a virtual environment for testing purposes. The plan is to create two or three ESX servers and test high availability functions like VMotion and Storage Motion.

I was wondering if anyone else is interested in doing this, or perhaps has already had a go?

I have already gratefully received advice in recent threads and I was wondering if anyone could advise which Virtual SAN, interfaces and file system I should use? Or perhaps any other tips. I am planning to use the 60 day trial software and a freeware SAN.

Hardware wise, the test PC is a little limited, only 2GB of RAM, 3GHz P4 and software striped IDE disks – but I am quite patient :)

Comments

  • astorrsastorrs Posts: 3,139Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Not going to work with the hardware you have currently. You'll need either an Intel Core 2 Duo or recent AMD64 dual or quad core processor. You'll also want to add another 2GB of RAM.

    Here is a link with specifics about getting VI 3.5 working under the latest beta of VMware Workstation 6.5 (no other virtualization product can do it so this is your only option): http://www.ntpro.nl/blog/archives/470-ESX-3.5-is-running-on-Workstation-6.5-Build-91182-!!!.html

    Here is the community thread where we all got VI 3.0 working under Workstation 6.0 back in 2007: http://communities.vmware.com/thread/67254

    And a whitepaper stepping you through it (and saving you reading the 18 pages of posts in that thread unless you want to): http://www.xtravirt.com/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=75&func=select&id=3

    Remember though, due to changes in ESX 3.5 only the latest Workstation 6.5 beta will support it so apply the changes in the first link to what the whitepaper says.

    As for the shared storage I would look at using the latest version of iSCSI Enterprise Target (IET), step-by-step instructions can be found here (these are specific to VI 3.0, but everything should still apply).
  • mrx9000mrx9000 Posts: 37Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you very much for the information, looks good to me!

    Do you think it is impossible to use this hardware? I would expect poor performance.

    I was planning to give each ESX server 500MB of RAM, 2x 100MB XP VMs to motion, 250MB for the SAN and the remaining for the host pc - Vista currently but could use a minimal process XP install.
  • astorrsastorrs Posts: 3,139Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    theloop wrote:
    Thank you very much for the information, looks good to me!

    Do you think it is impossible to use this hardware? I would expect poor performance.

    I was planning to give each ESX server 500MB of RAM, 2x 100MB XP VMs to motion, 250MB for the SAN and the remaining for the host pc - Vista currently but could use a minimal process XP install.
    Its not a matter of being slow, its that you won't be able to boot any of the VMs within the ESX servers (which themselves are running within VMs) without more recent processors. This is a hardware limitation as the older chips won't support pass-through of the Intel-VT or AMD-V technologies which is needed to boot VMs within VMs. Also without it the boot time of ESX within the VMs will be measured in hours (seriously).

    You will need a Windows XP SP2 VM with 512MB RAM running Virtual Center as well. 256MB RAM is the minimum for the IET box but will still work. Each ESX server will be happy with ~200MB for itself plus a little more to support both of your XP VMs at the same time (so 512MB for each of the ESX VMs). Whatever is left is what the hosts gets - 256MB in this case... that will be painful, you really want to look at adding at least another 1GB (at which point I would increase the IET VM to 512MB so performance improves).
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