Will an i5 be enough for a home lab setup?

HaswellHaswell Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
I am looking to build a home lab for VMware, but I only have an i5 (Lynnfield) CPU. To reduce costs I am going to be virtualizing the ESXi hosts (how Inception like :)), vCenter, and the another VM for the shared storage. I'll most likely be using freeNAS for the shared storage, unless anyone knows of a better option. I am going to need a total of 7 CPUs:

1 for the physical system
4 for the ESXi hosts (2 CPUs each)
1 for vCenter
1 for the shared storage

So would I be able to do this setup only using an i5? Or should I upgrade to an i7?


  • kj0kj0 Member Posts: 767
    i5 will be good, if you have 4 cores.

    Here is a very helpful way of nesting your Virtual's. Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 1: The Story | Boerlowie's Blog
    2017 Goals: VCP6-DCV | VCIX
    Blog: https://readysetvirtual.wordpress.com
  • tstrip007tstrip007 Member Posts: 308 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'm using an i3 for my home lab without issues. I did run into issues with RAM (6gigs wasnt enough, went up 16). FreeNAS is an NFS option, if you want to go iSCSI, microsoft has a free iSCSI target, Starwind has a free iSCSI san software... just to name a few
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,899 Mod
    I wouldn't worry much about CPU. Most likely it will be underutilized. You'll be best served by focusing on getting as much RAM as you can plus good storage (SSD, Synology, etc.)
  • HaswellHaswell Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks everyone! I've got 16GB of RAM and i5 CPU at 2.8 GHz.
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,548 ■■■■■■■■■■
    That'll easily do! I used to get by with a Core 2 Duo, 8GB RAM and 2 SATA disks.

    For good performance, follow the other suggestions.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >> http://virtual10.com
  • JBrownJBrown Member Posts: 308
    I would suggest to go with MS iscsi target. FreeNAS/OpenFiler are usually much slower and somewhat complicated to setup than Microsoft iSCSI Target.
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,741
    Ha back in the very early day's (2005) I got by with a Single core rig and 2GB of RAM :)

    As commented above, CPU won't make a great deal of difference - if you are just labbing things then the majority of the time those VM's will probably be sat there doing nothing.

    However, you will need those giggidybytes of RAM..........
  • HaswellHaswell Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks again everyone! I am really glad that I have 16GB of RAM.

    I'll look into Microsoft iSCSI Target.
  • datgirldatgirl Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Haswell wrote: »
    Thanks everyone! I've got 16GB of RAM and i5 CPU at 2.8 GHz.

    I would say that it is more than adequate for the host, and even Server guests. However, if you wanted to run a production and non test / lab environment, I would bump up the RAM, and possibly the CPU, but for a home lab you will be fine.
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