Updating #VMware #HomeLab Gen 5 to Gen 7

Posted on Updated on

Not to long ago I updated my Gen 4 Home Lab to Gen 5 and I posted many blogs and video around this.  The Gen 5 Lab ran well for vSphere 6.7 deployments but moving into vSphere 7.0 I had a few issues adapting it.  Mostly these issues were with the design of the Jingsha Motherboard.  I noted most of these challenges in the Gen 5 wrap up video. Additionally, I had some new networking requirements mainly around adding multiple Intel NIC ports and Home Lab Gen 5 was not going to adapt well or would be very costly to adapt.  These combined adaptions forced my hand to migrate to what I’m calling Home Lab Gen 7.  Wait a minute, what happen to Home Lab Gen 6? I decided to align my Home Lab Generation numbers to match vSphere release number, so I skipped Gen 6 to align.

First: I review my design goals:

  • Be able to run vSphere 7.x and vSAN Environment
  • Reuse as much as possible from Gen 5 Home lab, this will keep costs down
  • Choose products that bring value to the goals, are cost effective, and if they are on the VMware HCL that a plus but not necessary for a home lab
  • Keep networking (vSAN / FT) on 10Gbe MikroTik Switch
  • Support 4 x Intel Gbe Networks
  • Ensure there will be enough CPU cores and RAM to be able to support multiple VMware products (ESXi, VCSA, vSAN, vRO, vRA, NSX, LogInsight)
  • Be able to fit the the environment into 3 ESXi Hosts
  • The environment should run well, but doesn’t have to be a production level environment

Second – Evaluate Software, Hardware, and VM requirements:

My calculated numbers from my Gen 5 build will stay rather static for Gen 7.  The only update for Gen 7 is to use the updated requirements table which can be found here >>  ‘HOME LABS: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE’

Third – Home Lab Design Considerations

This too will be very similar to Gen 5, but I do review this table and made any last changes to my design

Four – Choosing Hardware

Based on my estimations above I’m going to need a very flexible Mobo, supporting lots of RAM, good network connectivity, and should be as compatible as possible with my Gen 5 hardware.  I’ve reused many parts from Gen 5 but the main change came with the Supermicro Motherboard and the addition of 2TB SAS HDD listed below.

Note: I’ve listed the newer items in Italics all other parts I’ve carried over from Gen 5.

Overview:

  • My Gen 7 Home Lab is based on vSphere 7 (VCSA, ESXi, and vSAN) and it contains 3 x ESXi Hosts, 1 x Windows 10 Workstation,  4 x Cisco Switches, 1 x MikroTik 10gbe Switch, 2 x APC UPS

ESXi Hosts:

  • Case:
  • Motherboard:
  • CPU:
    • CPU: Xeon E5-2640 v2 8 Cores / 16 HT (Ebay $30 each)
    • CPU Cooler: DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX 400 (Amazon $19)
  • RAM:
    • 128GB DDR3 ECC RAM (Ebay $170)
  • Disks:
    • 64GB USB Thumb Drive (Boot)
    • 2 x 200 SAS SSD (vSAN Cache)
    • 2 x 2TB SAS HDD (vSAN Capacity – See this post)
    • 1 x 2TB SATA (Extra Space)
  • SAS Controller:
    • 1 x IBM 5210 JBOD (Ebay)
    • CableCreation Internal Mini SAS SFF-8643 to (4) 29pin SFF-8482 (Amazon $18)
  • Network:
    • Motherboard Integrated i350 1gbe 4 Port
    • 1 x MellanoxConnectX3 Dual Port (HP INFINIBAND 4X DDR PCI-E HCA CARD 452372-001)
  • Power Supply:
    • Antec Earthwatts 500-600 Watt (Adapters needed to support case and motherboard connections)
      • Adapter: Dual 8(4+4) Pin Male for Motherboard Power Adapter Cable (Amazon $11)
      • Adapter: LP4 Molex Male to ATX 4 pin Male Auxiliary (Amazon $11)
      • Power Supply Extension Cable: StarTech.com 8in 24 Pin ATX 2.01 Power Extension Cable (Amazon $9)

Network:

  • Core VM Switches:
    • 2 x Cisco 3650 (WS-C3560CG-8TC-S 8 Gigabit Ports, 2 Uplink)
    • 2 x Cisco 2960 (WS-C2960G-8TC-L)
  • 10gbe Network:
    • 1 x MikroTik 10gbe CN309 (Used for vSAN and Replication Network)
    • 2 ea. x HP 684517-001 Twinax SFP 10gbe 0.5m DAC Cable (Ebay)
    • 2 ea. x MELLANOX QSFP/SFP ADAPTER 655874-B21 MAM1Q00A-QSA (Ebay)

Battery Backup UPS:

  • 2 x APC NS1250

Windows 10 Workstation:

Thanks for reading, please do reach out if you have any questions.

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ videos and blogs that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start posting really boring content!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.