VMWare Development / Setup!!

Hi Experts,

I would like to move into a more infrastructure role at work and I would like to get heavily involved in VMWare, but at the  minute i'm using a HP Laptop with a 2GHz CPU with 8GBRAM and a 500Gb HDD with VMWare Workstation 10. I don't think using this I would enhance my knowledge of VMWare as at work we use Esxi! is this easy to setup and also what sort of hardware setup do you advise? would my laptop suffice or would a beefy PC be better? i'm willing to spend the bucks so don't hesitate to put suggestions! also if a PC is suggested I would only get Windows 7 for simplicity sake and keep the laptop running Windows 8.1 and then Windows 10 when released properly!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can use physical hardware or virtual hardware or the Cloud to practice VMware vSphere ESXi, you can even use VMware Workstation 10.

Memory is often the bottleneck, and 8GB is small...

What is your budget ?

vSphere 5.0 AutoLab by Alastair Cooke

I would also recommend looking at vSphere 5.0 AutoLabby fellow vExpert - Alastair Cooke
What is the AutoLab?

The AutoLab is a quick easy way to build a vSphere environment for  testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware  Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC,  even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

 Take a look over at ProfessionalVMware for details of how to get started with building your own vSphere 5 AutoLab.
RizzleAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew,

About £1500, I will take a look at that as well :)

What would you advise for a decent spec PC to do this sort of thing?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You need to decide on what you want to test?

Single ESXi server, Two ESXi servers, with Shared Storage, VMware HA, DRS, FT, Three ESXi Servers and vSAN ?

£1500 does not go that far.....does your lab need to be portable, does electricity costs concern you ?

In the UK/US, us VMware vExperts love our Labs....I have virtual, physical, cloud and more physical labs, than you can shake a stick át...

They all need good memory at least 32GB in a single box, or multiple boxes with 8GB.

You can either build your own desktop, and ensure it's components are on the HCL, roll your own drivers, and create your own ESXi 5.5 build for Intel NUC......or purchase a Whitebox, which has been tested and works with ESXi 5.5, or you can purchase a server from the HCL!!!

I like HP ProLiant MicroServers and HP ML350e

or use the Cloud...

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RizzleAuthor Commented:
Oh okay!,

I think a PC with Windows 7 and then can ESXi be built ontop of that in VMWare workstatiob maybe using Autolab which you suggested?

Also would a 16GB PC with 1TB Storage suffice?

The Autolab sounds like a really good idea, ontop of my test domain/Citrix environment :)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's entirely up to you which you use, Physical, Virtual or Cloud.

Remember Virtual ESXi is just that, good for Lab, Practice, but can be slow!

As for how much memory you require, that depends on HOW MANY concurrent VMs you need.....1TB of storage is ample for most installs....


16GB PC, if we leave 4GB for Windows OS

12GB for ESXi, (2GB for ESXi OS).

10GB for VMs, this only leaves memory for 2 x 4GB OS Windows 2012

if one of those is vCenter Server, you'eve not got enough for any other VMs.
RizzleAuthor Commented:
Probably 4 at one time Andy! Most likely have Windows 7 then have the VM's o ntop of that, by reading the Autolab stuff it can run fine within a VMWare workstation environment and then within that I would create my VM's

Sound right?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, that's correct, you will be constrained by your memory, with the number of VMs.

If you keep the memory foot print small for your VMs, you will be able to run more....

Windows 7 Host OS > VMware Workstation > ESXi > VMs

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RizzleAuthor Commented:
Thanks for this Andy appreciated, I will keep you posted on how that progresses! You never know might need your assistance again :)
RizzleAuthor Commented:
Andy if you dont mind me asking what's you're physical setup?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Which one!, we have 20 Labs, 3 Datacenters, 2 Production Suites, Cloud, and many clients we manage!

But my favourite is this one....



These were cheap in the UK, with cashback, and small low power, and you can build large Low Power Clusters (electric!)
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