8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 30, 2012 12:44 AM by Ramkamboj

    Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP

    HomeBlt Novice

      OK, here's the deal...

       

      I started out as a 'network services' field guy installing Servers like UNISYS ES7000...didn't survive the Unisys bloodletting... ended up as an Applications support guy; that also supported h/w and o/s...so, here I am after 10 years...in a niche that no one really cares about.

       

       

       

      Enter VMWare; I need to update my skills or I'm gonna starve!

       

       

       

      I purchased 3 servers dual 3.2GHz Zeon/ 4GB/1.2TBSATA . Gonna run W2K3 Ent. with ESX3.5 The problem, as I'm sure everyone is aware, is the SATA RAID controller. It came with a Broadcom BR4452; doesn't work. I see from hours of reading the forum that there ARE some solutions; but I'd rather not drop another $510 for 3 cards. [I'm

       

       

      of  the : $170/ea. on ebay, but they are too expensive.

       

       

      Does anyone have any other cheaper solutions? the box is only 3U so it must be a small form factor and a PCI-X. I have looked at the qualified list...looking for other solutions

       

       

        • 1. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP
          azn2kew Champion

           

          You have several solutions, and the cheapest is use one powerful workstation something like 8GB RAM and 1TB data should be plenty.  Install Windows XP as base OS and then install VMware Workstation 6.5 on top of XP.  Within WS 6.5 you can create many virtual machines you want, and those virtual machines can be ESX 3.5 hosts using Openfiler, FreeNAS for shared storage.  If you have 3 servers that would be really nice for virtualization but if you want to just install ESX 3.5 on a bare metal then your hardware must be on HCL.  I've use Asus P5M2/SAS with Quad Q6600 chip, 8GB RAM and 2TB SATA runs like a champ and gives you options to run both bare metal or Windows XP on top too.

           

           

          You can find an instructional guide at www.xtravirt.com very good to start with.  Cheap solution you can get.

           

          If you found this information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful". Thanks!!!

           

          Regards,

           

          Stefan Nguyen

          iGeek Systems Inc.

          VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Consultant

           

           

          • 2. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP
            azn2kew Champion

             

            BTW, welcome to the forum, and if you're looking for learning curve, don't hesitate to contact me email or phone anytime I can point you to the right direction and yes, VMware skills is very high demand and niche out there that easily make 6 figures if you know the product and work with it as consulting. Enjoy your learnings!  Use this site to read all anything you want.

             

             

            www.vmware-land.com

             

            If you found this information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful". Thanks!!!

             

            Regards,

             

            Stefan Nguyen

            iGeek Systems Inc.

            VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Consultant

             

             

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP
              HomeBlt Novice

              Thanks Stephan,

               

              but I'm already 'committed' to go down the server path...I feel that I need to duplicate what is commonly in datacenters. .

               

               

              How about using a SCSI card with a SCSI to SATA converter?... VMW won't 'care' if the drive is a SATA as long as it can 'see' it via the SCSI card...right? On the other hand,

               

               

               

               

              I have not googled a converter...they're prolly as expensive as simply buying one of the $170 cards.

               

               

              this card looks interesting...:  http://www.addonics.com/products/host_controller/adsa3gx4r.asp           ; But then, I'm back to 'does it work?'

              • 4. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP
                HomeBlt Novice

                Here's an interesting thread: http://communities.vmware.com/message/1063920#1063920  The guy has a similar motherboard to mine http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon800/E7520/X6DHR-TG.cfm

                If I use the on-board SATA controller; I suppose it'll pickup the 0 channel drive? If so, is there a way to bring the other 3 drives into the mix after ESX3.5 is up and running? I'm guessing no; unless once 3.5 is actually running, I could then add the Broadcom RAID controller into the mix.

                • 5. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP
                  polysulfide Expert

                   

                  If you can muddle through and get ESX installed and booting with your cards then you can use iSCSI for storage.  Openfiler or iSCSItarget on any Linux Distro (best results with Gentoo so far) work great for a test lab.

                   

                   

                  Throw all that raw disk you bought into an iSCSI target for the cost of a motherboard.

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  If it was useful, give me credit

                  Jason White - VCP

                   

                   

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP
                    HomeBlt Novice

                    Jason,

                    I connected two of the four drives to the on-board SATA  connections only RAID 0 or 1. There is an integrated 4 port [Adaptec AIC-8130; Marvell 88SX6041, but I don't have the connection type to try it.

                    Anyway...I've managed to load W2K3 svr on it...and...[drum-roll] ESX3.5 ! I am booting up ESX for the first time now ...still holding...Hummm, no GUI ... a msg. : initialization for vmfs2 failed with -1. Guess I need to go research that...

                     

                    tomorrow...I'm tired of fooling with this for tonight...

                     

                    At least it faked it out and my on-board SATA controller is working...or is it?

                     

                    ltr,

                    tim

                     

                     

                    DUH...failed to start the ESX install from w/n Windows...was really tired last night...take two beginning now...

                    • 7. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP
                      HomeBlt Novice

                      OK, so I'm making progress ...

                       

                      First time I loaded ESX3.5 I accepted all the defaults...and it loaded on top of my windows w2k3 install...DoOver#1

                       

                      The second time...I chose the 'other' drive ...and the ESX install finished...but I cannot actually START the server from within the Virtual Center client

                      I CAN boot to the ESX server install by changing the settings in the BIOS...but that really proves nothing other than the install will work. http://btw no GUI...only a terminal screen when booted into GSX

                       

                      So here's my question...when loading ESX3.5 ...when I'm at the Advanced options screen; should I ck the box stating: 'Edit Default Bootloader Configuration' ???

                       

                      And then hope I can figure out what the issue is?

                       

                      Or, am I totally off base? It's been years since I had to do anything with linux...I'm more that a little rusty.

                      • 8. Re: Creating VMWare home lab to pursue VCP - Need Advise
                        Ramkamboj Novice

                        Hi Stefan,

                         

                         

                        I am new to Cloud computing & VMware vSphere. I am seeking career options into Cloud Computing.

                        How is the future of Cloud computing? I have a choice out of SAP BASIS & Cloud Computing.

                        I have a background of networking. Can I start a career in Cloud computing?

                        Can I directly prepare for VCP5 certification?

                         

                        Please advise me how to prepare home lab for practice.

                        I  have already downloaded all documents related to VCP5 as per Blue   print  [VCP510_Exam_Blueprint_Guide_1.41] for preparation of  certification.

                        I have downloaded vmware workstation, vmware   Vsphere client, PowerCLI,  ESXi 5.0 Installable (CD ISO), vDirector but  I  have no idea how to start  with & how to configure them.

                        I know about vmware workstation as I have used it for practicing SAP ECC 6.0 & Solution Manager.

                        I already have exposure to Oracle DB, SAP.

                        I   think before I take up mandatory instructor led 4 days training for   VCP, it is important to practice home lab & go through all VCP   documentation. What do you say?

                         

                        Your support is highly appreciated.

                         

                        Regards,

                        Ram