Setting up a new lab

pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
So i am in the process of setting up a home lab. I plan to run anywhere from 4-10 VMs.

This is the hardware:
AMD FX-8350, Sapphire Radeon HD 5450, NZXT Gamma Classic (Black) - System Build - PCPartPicker
CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($99.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($154.89 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($166.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Toshiba 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5450 1GB Video Card ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Gamma Classic (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 400W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $823.78
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-10 11:08 EST-0500)

Any tips on the setup? Components to add?

I am pretty new to VMware, though i have been using VMware fusion for a few years. I plan to use ESXi running off of a USB. It has been suggested to run the OS of each VM on the SSD's and then use the other disk for storage. Any other tips? Things i should implement? I have seen a few people mention Veeam so i am thinking i will set that up as well. Any other tools that i should play with? Also, is there any reason i shouldnt use the latest version of ESXi?

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • log32log32 Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 217
    you can do alot more than 4-10 VMs with 32GB of RAM :)
  • pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    log32 wrote: »
    you can do alot more than 4-10 VMs with 32GB of RAM :)

    I have room for growth! :D
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Those are pretty good specs. If your case can support it, you may want to consider a Nochua Dh D14 if you plan to have your computer in the same area where you work. It really cuts down on noise. Also, if you think that you may want to rack your rig in the future, you may want to consider a rackmount case.

    Your choice of mobo is interesting, I will have to check it out for myself-I don't see too many nonserver mobo's that can support 32GB.

    Good luck and have fun.
  • jdballingerjdballinger Member Posts: 252
    Paul, motherboards are frequently capable of 32+ GB nowadays. I just replaced a board in an old HP system, mini-ATX MSI board, AM3 Athlon chip, and even at $60 it supports 32 GB.

    Here is one I was scoping out to upgrade my system. Supports 128 GB of RAM!!!

    MSI Big Bang-XPower II LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 XL ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS - Newegg.com

  • TorontoTechTorontoTech Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Personally, I think SSD are overkill for a home lab... I would drop the SSD and 2TB disk and build or buy a NAS (which also might be over kill) but the NAS can really useful for a home network, plus support vmotion..
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    You can easily nest ESXi inside ESXi and dont need a NAS at all. I can vouch for this type of lab and nested ESXi works a treat for the most part except for some minor things (dont affect your lab). As for the SSD's, you put your nested ESXi's on them and they fly, I mean really fly! I have mine on individual SAS disks and they take about 50 seconds to boot up. SSD's making labbing a breeze, sure they arent required but very nice to have.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Essendon wrote: »
    You can easily nest ESXi inside ESXi and dont need a NAS at all. I can vouch for this type of lab and nested ESXi works a treat for the most part except for some minor things (dont affect your lab). As for the SSD's, you put your nested ESXi's on them and they fly, I mean really fly! I have mine on individual SAS disks and they take about 50 seconds to boot up. SSD's making labbing a breeze, sure they arent required but very nice to have.

    What would be the benefit of nesting ESXi inside of ESXi? could i just run everything in one ESXi?
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Depends on what you are going to use the lab for. If it's for the VCP or any VMware cert for that matter, you need shared storage (I know you can do without in vSphere 5.1) for all the cool features, DRS/vMotion/FT/HA etc. A nested lab lets you create multiple ESXi VM's with multiple NIC's, you can go crazy with labbing up the storage and networking concepts. Besides you run only one computer and save on power too.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • kj0kj0 Member Posts: 767
    I run multiple VMs on 2 Raid 0 SSD's on an LSI card. I'm about to drop another 2 SSDs in and make 4 in Raid0.

    I found a few times my systems lagged. I have 16GB Ram but only 9gb gets used with 8 Vms running. I had tried running 2 HDD in raid 0, and that lagged a lot. So SSD's would be good.

    Very nice system though.
    2017 Goals: VCP6-DCV | VCIX
    Blog: https://readysetvirtual.wordpress.com
  • pumbaa_gpumbaa_g Member Posts: 353
    You may want to rethink on the PSU, that may be your weak link in this setup, I have something very similar :P and run on ESXi without any issues.
    [h=1]“An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.” [/h]
  • TorontoTechTorontoTech Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Essendon wrote: »
    You can easily nest ESXi inside ESXi and dont need a NAS at all. I can vouch for this type of lab and nested ESXi works a treat for the most part except for some minor things (dont affect your lab). As for the SSD's, you put your nested ESXi's on them and they fly, I mean really fly! I have mine on individual SAS disks and they take about 50 seconds to boot up. SSD's making labbing a breeze, sure they arent required but very nice to have.

    I never though of that, I will be trying to attain my VCP after M$ 70-640 cert.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    Yeah I have a W530 laptop with 32GB of RAM and two SSD's in it and I can run the following without it breaking a sweat:

    2 vCenter
    2 ESXi hosts
    2 Vyatta Routers
    2 ONTAP Simulators
    3 Nested Windows VMs

    SSD's are a must if you want to run a ton of stuff at the same time in an all-in-one setup. Unless you're doing an off-box NAS/SAN.
  • TorontoTechTorontoTech Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    QHalo wrote: »
    Yeah I have a W530 laptop with 32GB of RAM and two SSD's in it and I can run the following without it breaking a sweat:

    2 vCenter
    2 ESXi hosts
    2 Vyatta Routers
    2 ONTAP Simulators
    3 Nested Windows VMs

    SSD's are a must if you want to run a ton of stuff at the same time in an all-in-one setup. Unless you're doing an off-box NAS/SAN.

    Just looked up a couple on ebay, nice machine.... Personally, I dont want to spend that much for labs though.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    I was more emphasizing that SSD's allows all that to run.
  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I would never run a lab computer without an ssd. I had a raid 0 with 3 western digital blacks and ya it was ok but after about 3-4 vm's it was laggy. The ssd, no real lag that I have seen when running that many vm's. If I run around 6-8 then it lags a little, but I would be in my own personal nightmware if I was using hdd's. I hate to wait for crap to respond or vm's to boot and revert snap shots that take forever.

    Go ssd. Also I would go with the 840 pro version not the 840 regular. the 840 regular uses cheaper memory that won't last as long. It runs TLC and the pro runs MLC. It allows the regular 840 to come in at a cheaper price but the TLC degrades faster.
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