Ok so I just recently bough some stuff to build my own computer to set up a lab. Its an i5 3rd gen processor with 16 gb ram and a 1Tb hdd. I also have another older desktop from 2008 with windows 7 on it and 3gb ram and a 320gb hard drive. I also have a 16gb flash drive. What would be the best way to set up a lab using vsphere 5.5?
Welcome to the Community - I would look at installing VMware Player(Free) or VMware Workstation(you have to purchse) and create your lab environment in a nested virtual environment - http://vmwaretraining.blogspot.com/2011/06/building-vsphere-home-lab-for-vcpvcap.html links to sites explaining how to do this -
I found vmware isnt very demanding on cpu, but I would definitely get more ram especially if you are looking to test some adavanced features (usually involves vcenter, multiple hosts, shared storage and even a database). Having some ssd would be a bonus
Here's what you can do, if you really want to get the most out of your setup. And also to truly get the most out of your lab. Partition the HDD into 3 main partitions, and a 4th partition that's 8GB (for vmkernel). Install vmkernel on the 8GB partition, then you can use the other partitoins as "datastores." That will give you a chance to play with vMotion and Storage vMotion. Then you can use the whole machine for ESXi, and then just manage it elsewhere, from a secondary PC or whatnot. That's what I would do.