4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 19, 2012 3:13 PM by Dthompson04

    Getting My Feet Wet before the Future Passes Me by!

    Dthompson04 Enthusiast

        Hello to all and thank you for having such an informative place for collaboration.  I’m currently a Network Engineer and have a background in server administration so I’m only a beginner to VMware and not to IT.

        I’ve watched our technology grow for over 14 years now and essentially it’s just been changes in more powerful and faster hardware as well as the number of devices and capacity.  With VMware I see this as the first real big shift in server farm architecture since leaving the big mainframes behind and now we’ve come full circle.

        I can see if I sit and continue doing what I am right now that in four to six years I may not have a job or I’ll be fighting for one of the few positions left after we eventually migrate to the virtual cloud environment.  Eventually I’ll get my VMware certifications, but until then I want to get knowledge and experience.

        Before posting my first questions I’ve sat back reviewing VMware and trying to compare the functionality of its components to what I’ve been working with in the past.  I’ve searched through the community and read several posts to get an understanding of how everything interrelates.

        I would appreciate any help in answering the following questions.


      1.  vSphere Structure!  What is the functional relationship between vSphere and ESX/ESXi?

        I originally thought vSphere was the platform and ESX/ESXi was the managing interface until my research found that ESX/ESXi was the product and interface.  Is vSphere anything without ESX/ESXi?


      2.  Software licenses!  I’ve read the posts on VMware/vSphere licenses, but when you create your different virtual workstation and server components I’m guessing you need the install disks and licensed copies to go with it.  What are my cost effective options for a lab?

        For a lab environment what options are there or do you go to the individual venders for trial copies?


      3.  Home Lab advice!  Is there any advantage to building more than one physical vSphere lab computer?  From what I’ve read most study and training can be done with one computer.  Is there any benefit for the VCP exam to creating an East Coast and a West Coast vSphere device communicating to each other?



        Thank you all ahead of time for reading my post and providing any answers.

        • 1. Re: Getting My Feet Wet before the Future Passes Me by!
          eeg3 Master

          1. vSphere is the name of the "suite" which includes ESXi, vCenter, etc.


          2. For a lab environment, the cheapest thing to do is to just use the trial licenses. Most, if not all, of VMware's solutions come with a 60 day trial period.


          3. For a home lab, it's useful to have shared storage and multiple hosts so that you can tinker with DRS, HA, FT, etc.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Getting My Feet Wet before the Future Passes Me by!
            Dthompson04 Enthusiast

              That's what I thought about vSPhere.  There were a few posts that seem to reference installing vSphere then ESXi which was different from the other information I was reading.

              My question about software licenses was referring to the workstations and not necessarily vSphere itself.  In a lab I'm sure it is made up of several servers and workstations along with networking devices.  That seems to be a lot of software to install and have to reload all the time.

              Is there anyway around having to download so many sets of software and loading them every 30 or 60 days... Other than paying for all of them of course.  No I don't want to rob software, just trying to find the best method for a strictly lab setup.  One thought I had was educational versions.  It will cost some money, but not as much.


              Your third answer was something I've been reading on, but as of yet hadn't put a priority on it yet.  For a lab storage install what is the most cost efficient way to set it up?  I was thinking of going with a SATA storage array if I can find one for a minimum cost.

              My next step is to identify my lab requirements after I figured out the few questions I had.

            • 3. Re: Getting My Feet Wet before the Future Passes Me by!
              Dthompson04 Enthusiast

              Earl it was nice of you to verify my first two questions, but with your third answer were you recommending to use two physical lab servers with a shared storage element?

              • 4. Re: Getting My Feet Wet before the Future Passes Me by!
                eeg3 Master

                Shared storage is required for most advanced vSphere features, so it would be very beneficial. You could get a cheap built solution, or turn a physical server into an iSCSI target.