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Hi there farkasharry,
I was looking at using the NUC option with a Synology NAS. While virtual ESXi hosts are good there is nothing like bare metal was my thoughts.
Only thing that has prevented me so far is the lack of network ports for the NUC. Only having a single port meant doing things like redundant management, etc is not possible or rather more difficult. Of course to test this you could run a virtual ESXi cluster within. With the latest versions of the NUC this is no longer an issue as some models come with dual adapters
This also gives you hardware redundancy for the LAB and you could still run virtual VSAN with hosts running on the NUC if required. The other option is to go hard out and you could run a 2.5" drive as well as an M2: https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2018/11/update-on-running-esxi-on-intel-nuc-hades-canyon-nuc8i7hnk-nuc8i7hvk.html
As you can see this would give you the ability to run vSAN like a native but price might drive you away from this as an option
Sorry for rambling but the choices your head spin.
Thanks for your comment! My basic question is, whether to go with one large node running a single ESXi, and have everything else in it as a nested lab or go with a multi-NUC node config.
With one large node, there is no need for multiple NICs, as the nested environment will have full freedom, even if it comes to changing MTU sizes or similar.
In terms of complexity, a large node is obviously better, as it wouldnt need VSAN and vCenter to start with nested Labs, but in terms of i.e. HA, a large node is a single point of error.
I did not plan with any NAS solution, want to rely on local storage (either "real" or nested VSAN) in both cases.
Currently, looking for pros and contras for both solutions.
Which variant did you choose now? Performant Single host?
I run three of those Supermicro servers in my lab. Just be aware that they're quite noisy!
Thanks for the note regarding the loudness.
3 Supermicro Nodes sounds good ;-)