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VMware and Hyper-v home lab setup

Posted on 2015-01-06
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Last Modified: 2015-01-27
Hi,

I am thinking of setting up lab environment at home to practice Vmware and Hyper-v. Not only for certs preparation but also to get insight into how to deploy them in real production environment.

What kind of hardware spec I should be looking at? Budget would be between $1000 and $1500.

Any ideas would be very appreciated.
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Question by:Educad
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 167 total points
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If it's a LAB, then I'm not sure it matters much.  So long as the hardware supports virtualization technology (which almost all do these days), you should be fine.  VMWare has very specific hardware requirements though and you cannot add drivers to it like Hyper-V/Windows.  Whatever you get should be on a hardware compatibility list.  You might consider looking at used HP or Dell servers on Ebay for something that is likely VMWare certified.  I'd also suggest something with at least 4 cores and 32 GB of RAM to give you room to play and experiment.  4 GB of RAM may get you a VM... 2 if you squeeze, but really will be a miserable experience.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 167 total points
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The only issue with used HP and Dell servers, is there are noisy, and costly to run!

You could run all your Home Labs, using VMware Workstation 11 on laptop or PC with enough storage and Memory (32GB) and a Intel i5 or i7 processor.

This is how we run some of our portable labs for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V on laptops!

see my EE Article, using AutoLab for ESXi

HOW TO: Setup a lab environment for vSAN using VMware Workstation

Performance is fine using nested Hypervisors for a Lab, to learn for Certs.

I would also recommend the use of VMware Hands on Labs, you could also use BareMetalCloud.com and AutoLab for use with VMware vSphere.

and also don't forget Windows Azure, and the Early Experts Program for Hyper-V.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/earlyexperts/

We use Cloud Labs, Laptop and Desktop Labs (using VMware Workstation), and real hardware.

The problem with real hardware, you will need at least two servers, and a SAN, and all this can be done in software! (less money to spend, and less running costs!).

So purchase a 32GB Laptop with that budget! (make sure it has Intel VT and SLAT support if you intend to use Client Hyper-V in Windows 8.1 Pro)
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by:Philip Elder
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eBay has Dell C1100 1U servers starting at $200. They will come with dual E5600 series (stay away from the "L" for low power), RAM, some will have RAID, and possibly dual power supplies. All that would be required would be the drives.

Use SAS drives for the setup. Here's why: Repeat After Me: SATA Does Not Belong In Servers Part Deux. Plus, SAS is needed for Gen2 VMs and the ability to build Guest Clusters on 2012 R2.

Now, get two of those servers and one can be your Scale-Out File Server while the other can be your Hyper-V compute.

Add one more server and you can stand up a pair of them as Hyper-V nodes in a cluster connected to the SOFS backend.

You could do the SOFS to Hyper-V setup virtually: Jose Barreto: Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage: Step-by-step with Storage Spaces, SMB Scale-Out and Shared VHDX (Virtual) - Jose Barreto's Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs.

Or, you can do it with four physical servers: Jose Barreto: Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage: Step-by-step with Storage Spaces, SMB Scale-Out and Shared VHDX (Physical) - Jose Barreto's Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs.

We have a lot more on the SOFS setup on our blog:
 MPECS Inc. Blog: SOFS
 MPECS Inc. Blog: Hyper-V
 MPECS Inc. Blog: Clusters

And, more specific to your question:
 MPECS Inc. Blog: Cluster Starter Labs: Hyper-V, Storage Spaces, and Scale-Out File Server
 MPECS Inc. Blog: Using Windows Server 2008 R2 as a Simple NAT Router

EDIT: Almost forgot, I have an EE Article: Some Hyper-V Software and Hardware Best Practices.
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