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New Mac Pro for home IT Networking Lab?

Posted on 2014-02-02
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Last Modified: 2014-02-04
Hello, this may seem a bit of a daft question, but I was wondering if anyone can see any issues with setting up an sort of IT study lab on one of those new powerful MacPros?  I am guessing it would be more a limitation of Mavericks and the MacPros "Xeno hardware" configuration.  This thing although powerful is probably got graphics design "horse blinders" on because of the Apple "our way or the highway" ethos.  I am guessing it can't really be used as a server, which is a shame really.

What I would like to do is the following...

1.  Install GNS3 to emulate a bunch of different Cisco IOS devices
2.  Run vCenter on ether the Mac directly or in a VM if it isn't compatible.
3.  Run a bunch of VMware servers on it, all communicating back to the vcenter instance.
4.  Connect all these different VMs together via the GNS3 emulated hardware via VMloopback interfaces.
5.  Set the GNS3 devices to exit out of the "virtual world" via the Mac Pro's actual physical internet connection (IE as a default gateway)

I know it sounds like I am trying to shoehorn something that is better done on a windows machine, and I am probably, but you cant really beat the hardware of that mac (according to random tech articles) and it apparently only uses around 60 watts (?!?).  And it seems a bit of a waste to not be able to use such a thing for IT labbing.

Please let me know what you think of my logic in the steps above (if its rubbish), I have never done my own home lab.  Also if anyone has experience doing this on a Mac, or if you have suggestions for a good PC setup.

The Mac looks swank, like a merger between that 2001 space odyssey thing and a 9th dimensional fold...or bang and olufsen take on a waste paper basket.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Question by:CnicNV
3 Comments
 
LVL 126
ID: 39828195
This is all possible using one of the following software products


1. Oracle Virtualbox 4.0 [FREE]

2. VMware Fusion

3. Parallels for Mac

You can use the VMware vSphere Web Client native on a Mac to Manage your VMware vCenter Server for Windows or Linux.
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Expert Comment

by:jhyiesla
ID: 39829692
You should also be able to run ESXi natively on the Mac. Now, I've not tried this with the new Mac, but I did it on an older one and it did install and start up just fine. I never fully tested it, so there may be gotchas, but it did install and start up OK.
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by:
Kash earned 400 total points
ID: 39832370
this is possible.

I would do the following.

1. Install VMWare Hypervisor on the mac pro as a bare metal server - it works I have tested with an older Mac Pro
2. Assign your bare metal an IP and configure it using some other computer. i.e: laptop with vsphere client on it.

3. Install VMs on the Mac Pro, Windows etc
4. GNS3 is good as long as you can get ROMs for you preferred cisco devices.  follow this >>> http://www.gns3.net/documentation/gns3/connecting-gns3-to-real-networks/

5. I find Cisco Network Simulator a lot better and less memory intensive.
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