I was doing a little bit of research to get the best lab setup for my learning and thought about Intel NUC to consider my physical hosts but quickly realized that it won’t be a good idea to have a bunch of physical hosts and dangling cables at my home. I didn’t feel the need for the on-prem lab as it was not offering me any additional benefits. So the only option left for me was to set up my VMware lab on the Public Cloud.
There were mainly 3 reasons for opting out a cloud-based solution.
- Pay as you Go, the Capital cost of setting up the on-prem home lab was very high for me.
- Scalability, ability to scale up/down compute resources is simply a cakewalk for us, all thanks to virtualization and cloud infrastructure. Scalability by default allows you to optimize your resources and results in an efficient infrastructure, However, that’s not the case with the hardware infrastructure.
- Hardware refresh, a typical lifecycle of any hardware is around 3-5 years and after that, it requires an upgrade to catch up with the trend. It is certainly not a good idea to have a bunch of hardware (Host, switches, Routers etc.) and periodically upgrading them. you simply can’t afford hardware maintenance cost just to keep your Lab infrastructure running.
Ravello was a startup founded by few KVM hypervisor developers and after that, it was acquired by Oracle. The unique ability of nested virtualization provided by #ravello allows us to host ESXi as a virtual machine on HVX hypervisor. I guess it is the only cloud provider which is offering nested virtualization thus becoming the only option for hosting VMware home lab on the public cloud. I figured it out about Ravello a few months back but at that time Ravello offering was not available for trial in India. However, the good news is that it’s now available for 30 days trial and has very competitive rates. It provides all the key feature which requires you to get started.
The interesting thing which I liked most about Ravello is, it provides key network services like DNS, DHCP, L2/L3 networking layer, VLAN and firewall services on the fly, Which essentially means that you can save few $$$ by not to deploy additional VM just to use these services for your lab environment.
As of today, I am able to setup 3 ESXi hosts, 1 VCSA 6.5, and a windows server 2016. Able to quickly configure my lab environment with public IPs so that I can seamlessly access all my workloads over the internet as an when required. In fact, I was impressed with the new ESX #H5client which was accessible on my smartphone and giving seamless experience on my mobile phone though it’s not a required thing for production infrastructure.
Take a look at below screenshot of ESXi which was accessed over the internet on a mobile browser.
The plan is to build this lab environment with different use cases, test vSphere upgrades with different test scenarios, and to build/test cloud-based automation solutions around it. I will keep sharing interesting use cases and “how to” stuff as I go along with this.
Feel free to post your queries, feedback or suggestions on “Virtual Reality”