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 Jinsha Motherboard. I noted most of these challenges in the Gen 5 wrap up video. Additionally, I had some networking requirements that required several Intel NICs 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 Switch
Support 4 x Intel Gbe Networks
Support have 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:
This is not going to change much from Gen 5, but I used the table from my ‘HOME LABS: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE’, for vSphere 7 and calculated CPU, RAM, and Disk space I’ll need.
Third – Home Lab Design Considerations
This too will be very similar to Gen 5, but I do review this table and make 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.
- 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
- Rosewill RISE Glow EATX (Newegg $54)
- CPU: Xeon E5-2640 v2 8 Cores / 16 HT (Ebay $30 each)
- CPU Cooler: DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX 400 (Amazon $19)
- 128GB DDR3 ECC RAM (Ebay $170)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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:
Battery Backup UPS:
- 2 x APC NS1250
Window 10 Workstation:
- Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro series PH-ES614PC_BK Black Steel
- Motherboard: MSI PRO Z390-A PRO
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700
- RAM: 64GB DDR4 RAM
- 1TB NVMe
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!