True, this nested lab will not impress you with a high performance, but it works.
Mainly this example will help you to understand the necessary steps to install your own homelab without investing a lot of money in hardware. And you do not need a physical shared storage, as we use an openfiler to provide an NFS Share using the local hard discs.
Of course you can use any other available hardware. I used the old HP DL380 G5 just as an example. The only thing you should take care is, that the hardware is supported for vSphere 5.x (take a look at the HCLs for this).
What hardware do you need:
– One HP DL380 G5 Server with as much RAM as you can find (minimum is 16 GB, better have more) and enough discs to provide two arrays with about 400 GB each.
– An USB Stick to install vSphere ESXi 5.x
– a client to connect to the ESXi installation via vCenter Client
Here you can see what we plan to do:
First we will install ESXi 5.1 on our HP DL380 G5 Hardware.
Then we install four virtual machines for our Lab: two nested ESXi Hosts, a vSphere 5.1 vCenter Appliance and an Openfiler to provide NFS shares as a shared storage for the nested ESXi hosts.
Last but not least we will install some virtual machines on top of the nested ESXi hosts.
I will not provide you a real step by step manual where you can see a screenshot of every window coming up during installation.
You should already have some experience in installing and configuring vSphere 4.x or 5.x.
The How-to is splitted into the following steps:
Step 1 – configure BIOS Settings and build two arrays
Step 2 – install ESXi 5.1 on your HP DL380 Server
Step 3 – install and configure vSphere 5.1 vCenter Appliance
Step 4 – install the openfiler 2.99
Step 5 – configure the openfiler to provide NFS Shares
Step 6 – Install the nested ESXi Hosts for our LAB environment