I’ve updated my VMware home lab. Until now, I’ve used 2 Mac Minis with 16 Gbyte memory each and an Intel i5 as processor. The Mini’s had local SSD storage and a Synology NAS (DS1815+) for shared storage. Some disadvantages were the lack of multiple NICs and the limited memory per host. The new lab is build on top of these parts:

  • Intel NUC 7 with Kaby Lake i5 processor
  • 32 Gbyte (2×16) DDR4 SODIMM Memory
  • 240 Gbyte Samsung 960 M2 SSD, NVMe ready
  • 1 Tbyte Seagate hard-drive, 2,5″, 7200 RPM
  • DeLOCK USB 3.0 gigalan Adapter (asix chipset)

The lab requirements were:

  • VMware vSAN and NSX ready
  • Also usable for Hyper-V, RHEV, etc.
  • Multiple Gigabit NICs
  • Low power consumption (!)
  • Total price below €800 ($1000) per node

I was in doubt between the faster i7 or this i5 NUC, but since one of the requirements was that a node should cost less than $1000 the i7 was out of reach. This 3-node setup is still about €2.500 ($3000) in total. For the same reason (pricing), the new HP Microserver Gen.10 was no option, tough you get more cores, NIC’s, M2 slots, disk-slots and PCIe expansion slots for your money.

To use the 2 extra NIC’s with ESXi custom drivers are needed. But since the on-board NIC and storage-controller are not on VMware’s HCL, I needed to create a custom image anyway. The issue about the NIC drivers is written down here, here and here.

Licensing is done via de VMUG Advantage licensing program. Enough to do for the next weekend…