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vmware home lab

catndahat asked
i want to throw my hat into the vmware arena and actually become a half way decent admin. So this is what i am looking at doing and would like some advice on it. This is what i plan to buy.

(2) Dell Poweredge T110 ll
      Intel Xeon E3-1230 3.20GHz Quad core
      8GB mem ( can upgrade to 32GB)
      1TB SATA drive

I plan on installing this on 1st Poweredge T110 ll
       Windows 2k8 - A/D (i want to get more familiar with group policy-secure domain)
       Windows 2k8 - backup domain controller
        Ubuntu - DNS, Clonzilla, Ntop
        Windows XP client
        WIndows 7 client

2nd Poweredge T110 ll
      Windows 2k8 DNS
      XP client
      Windows 7 client
The second poweredge T110 ll will be on a different LAN. On this server i would like to learn how to do disaster recovery using vmware, vmotion and FT.

Another goal i want from this lab is to become a better network admin and learn how to deal with security threats.

This will be the rest of the equipment i will have in the lab.

Cisco ASA 5505 (this will be router between two LANs)
Cisco catalyst 2950 24 switch
Windows XP desktop
Cisco Linksys 4200 wireless router (this is for rest of family to connect to internet)
couple laptops

Setup Domain
            - (Poweredge T110 ll ESXi 5) LAN 1
            - (Poweredge T110 ll ESXi 5) LAN 2
            - (wireless network) LAN 3
Disaster Recover from LAN 1 to LAN 2 ESXi 5
Use different group policy to secure network
understand network traffic
Study for Microsoft Certs
become more familair with Linux, so i can start using Backtrack 5 to secure a network
Set NAS/SAN using FreeNas, openfiler or solaris

The main thing i want to do is learn and i feel that reading is not helping me remember enough or giving me any real world experiance. I dont feel like i know enough sometimes to even ask the right question. I am hoping this will give me the basics to build a stronger foundation. I hope this setup will give me some room to grow as i learn. So any advise is appreciate and i hope one day i can help someone else.

Watch Question

First of all you will plan some virtual machines on host a or host b.
I think this is not your goal when you want to play around with v-motion and disaster recovery
To test this you need an external storage.
The best way is to look for a nas with iSCSI
Further more 8 GB is not much for 8 machines and 8 vm's and 1 quadcore cpu will not give the highest performance. Prabably yoy should look for a dual Xeon 55xx or 56xx or AMD Opteron 4xxx or 6xxx
You should teach yourself cisco port trunks is you are learning cisco + vmware : http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1006628

ESXi 4.x will sometimes erase your storage during a new install- so if you are using the free one you will be re-loading it to reset the countdown timer on the demo license.  Just be aware if you re-install ESXi not to wipe your VMs!


Hey guys thanks for the articles and suggestions. I went on and ordered a  server

Poweredge T310
2 intel pro nic

I am going to use nested esxi5 since i only have the 1 server. I am hoping to buy or setup a NAS/SAN next month but going to use FreeNAS as a VM right now. I will have more questions once i get the server in this week. Again i would like to thank y'all for the articles and advice.



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