Putting together a good home lab can be costly, sure you can go the cheap route using nested hypervisors with VMware Workstation but it’s more fun to use physical hardware for it. Nested hypervisors also have limitations that restrict what you can do with it. Veeam is giving away a dream home lab at VMworld, I looked at the hardware that they are including and it makes for one very sweet home lab. From their promotional page it looks to be 2 HP ML110 G7 servers, these are nice boxes, I have 2 of them myself in my home lab and they’re very expandable (lots of PCI slots and up to 16GB memory) , powerful and quiet with low power consumption. Note that while they are not on the vSphere HCL, they work just fine and also support all the vSphere features including VMDirectPath, Fault Tolerance and power saving features. They come with 2 1GB NICs, one of which is the shared iLO which makes it easier to manage them remotely without having to hookup a monitor, keyboard and mouse to them. I believe you have to license the iLO functionality, whoever wins the home lab if you don’t have it drop me an email and I’ll see if I can get you a NFR key for them.
You also get a HP V1410-16G Ethernet switch, it’s not a managed switch but you still get 16 ports of 1GB Ethernet to connect everything together. I added additional dual port 1GB NICs to my ML110’s so I have 6 NICs in each which allows you to do more with virtual networking which can quickly fill up an 8-port switch so having 16 is nice. I went with the Intel PRO/1000 PT model which if you shop around you can get for around $100. To connect all your networking, you can save a lot of money by buying your network cables from monoprice.com, they have great quality cables in a wide variety of lengths and colors. I used different color cables for different networking functions such as iLO, FT Logging, iSCSI and management console.
Finally they are including a NetGear ReadyNAS storage device, not sure which model it is but it looks like a 4 drive Pro Series model. What’s even sweeter is they are populating it with SSD drives so your VMs will really fly. NetGear makes great low-end storage arrays, I have a NetGear 2100 in my home lab and it’s very solid, has great features and performs very well.
So how do you win this great home lab? It’s an easy 2 step process.
- Attend VMworld
- Stop by Veeam’s booth #1709
That’s it, good luck to all!
UPDATE: Forgot to include that Veeam is also giving you all the software you need to get up and running including vSphere licenses, Microsoft Technet subscription and off course Veeam software.