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Home Lab - What's Next?

Hello,

I've been following some excellent guides on the web with a view to setting up my first single server home Lab. One of the guides I've been following is Sean Duffys Lab Setup guide and I appear to have hit a bit of a wall and need some guidance on where to go next. I'm interested in the templating, DRS and HA aspects of vCenter.

As a precurser, I've installed ESXi on bare metal servers and have created Windows Servers but that's about it. I have very little knowledge of vSphere or vCenter Server and so I'm wanting to find out a little bit more.

I've inherited a Dell Poweredge T100 server with 64bit support and 4GB of RAM (I know, I plan to upgrade later) and I've installed ESXi 5 directly onto the hardware. I've then (using the vSphere client) created 2 VMs, a Server 2008 R2 domain controller and a Server 2008 R2 member server with vCenter 5 trial installed as per the guide.

I've also installed the Web Client on the server (not sure if that is relevant).

I've then connected to the vCenter server from my laptop and have started to have a play around with things. Back to the guide and I'm wanting to install 2 x ESXi guests yet I'm not able to. Apparently the CPU doesn't allow it. I've played around with the CPU/MMU Virtualization options with little success. So my question is, if I'm wanting to explore HA and DRS can I get away with creating guests of other OS's? Such as Windows 7 or XP? Or do I have to create the ESXi guests? And is this what is known as 'nesting'?

Obviously I'll be creating a FreeNAS guest as well.

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See the ESXi 5 section of this document - http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8970.

You'll need to allocate at least 2 GB to each ESXi VM so a memory upgrade may be required before you can get to far with this.

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Another option to consider, if your T100 CPU has Intel VT or AMD-V hardware virtualization capability and enough physical memory, is to load VMware Workstation 8.0 onto the T100 box, put your VCenter on the T100 box then run a couple of ESXi VMs under VMware Workstation 8.0. You can get a free iSCSI target that will run on your T100 box with Windows on the T100 and then point the ESXi hosts to the iSCSI target running on the T100 host.

That makes for a self-contained one-box environment that has a couple of ESXi sersvsers that will allow you to use HA, VMotion and DRS. People that only have a laptop do it this way for their VSphere lab.

Datto

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Thanks for the links, Dave.

I've read up and as suggested I've added the line to my config file and have restarted the server but I'm still getting the same message: (HARDWARE_VIRTUALIZATION WARNING: Hardware virtualization is not a feature of this CPU, or it is not enabled in the BIOS)

The CPU definitely supports VT-x as per this page: http://ark.intel.com/products/34694/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E3110-(6M-Cache-3_00-GHz-1333-MHz-FSB)

Pretty much the same as this guy: http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2011/08/25/using-vsphere-5-auto-deploy-in-your-home-lab/#comment-27173

I've also noticed that in the vSphere client I do not have the option for ESXi 4 or 5 for a guest operating system. Should it be there? This is the client I downloaded from the ESXi 5 server itself.

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Hi Datto,

I initially tried it this way around with Windows 7 and then Server 2008 R2 as the host on the OS on the T100. I also tried it on my laptop. Still the same message.

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Progress!

I've managed to install ESXi 5 onto VMWare Workstation 8 on my laptop. If I'm still struggling to install on my server when I get home later, I assume I can just migrate the VM from my laptop to the server.

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I am also getting the same error message, on my server, when i try to create a nested esxi 5 vm.

Have you managed, to resolve the issue, on your server?

Jitesh

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Hi Jitesh,

Not as yet. I'm still at work but will be in front of my server in about 2 hours.

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Hi Moif

I am still at work as well, will be infront of my server in around 2 hours.

Will be interesting to see, what happens.

As i keep getting the same, error you are getting, when you try to create a virtual esxi 5 vm.

I was hoping to build a home lab like this, as i only have 1 physical server.

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What is your guest OS set to in the vmx? See is that is set to vkernel5. Take a look at this thread. If your hardware supports it, you should be able to run nested ESXi. I am running mine on top of ESXi 4.1.

http://communities.vmware.com/thread/330152?tstart=0

Follow me @ Cloud-Buddy.com

Blog: www.Cloud-Buddy.com | Follow me @hashmibilal
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how do you set guestos to vmkernel 5?

do u have to do this manually? or can it be done via gui?

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bilalhashmi,

That suggestion was bang on. I'm now installing ESXi 5 on my server Smiley Happy I compared the two VMX's between my laptop and the server and that was indeed the difference. I'm still wondering whether I should have ESXi as an option in the guest OS drop down?

Thank you for your help.

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Hi jitla,

I've done it this way.

1. Create the ESXi VM as normal but don't power it on.

2. Attach a screen to your server and enable SSH from the ESXi console.

3. Download and install WinSCP to your laptop or wherever you're running the vSphere client.

4. Connect to your servers IP.

5. Navigate to the folder on your datastore where the ESXi vmx resides.

6. Open the vmx file, make the changes and save.

7. Power on and away you go.

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You can set the OS type to ESXi 5.x with the GUI as well.  It's not available when you create a VM, but you can select another guest OS type, then edit the VM and change the guest OS to ESXi 5.x.

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Thanks Dave,

Have just spotted that. I'm so glad I've got this working now I equally stoked that I've gained some knowledge along the way!

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Moif Murphy wrote:

bilalhashmi,

That suggestion was bang on. I'm now installing ESXi 5 on my server Smiley Happy I compared the two VMX's between my laptop and the server and that was indeed the difference. I'm still wondering whether I should have ESXi as an option in the guest OS drop down?

Thank you for your help.

Glad it was helpful. We all learn a little everyday :smileygrin:. I see your question is already answered.

Follow me @ Cloud-Buddy.com

Blog: www.Cloud-Buddy.com | Follow me @hashmibilal
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thanks guys, it has worked for me as well

what i did was the following:

1. create a normal vm

2. once vm created, i edit the vm

3. under guest operating system, i change it to Other then i chose VMware Esxi 5.x

4. Attached esxi iso to the vm

5. powered vm on and followed the installation instructions

All worked, with no errors.

Thank you everyone

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