In this video I show how I installed ESXi 8 on to the ASRockRack EPC621D8A motherboard and discuss some of the caveats of doing so.
Links in the video:
ASRockRack EPC621D8A motherboard: https://www.asrockrack.com/general/productdetail.asp?Model=EPC621D8A#specifications
VMware Comptibility Guide: https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?deviceCategory=server&productid=47030&deviceCategory=server&details=1&partner=600&page=1&display_interval=10&sortColumn=Partner&sortOrder=Asc
H3C NIC-GE-4P-360T-L3 NIC: https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?deviceCategory=io&productid=50861&deviceCategory=io&details=1&VID=8086&DID=37d1&SVID=8086&page=1&display_interval=10&sortColumn=Partner&sortOrder=Asc
There aren’t many choices when it comes to Socket LGA 3647 CPU coolers and Noctua seems to have a solid, yet expensive, option. Based on their reputation in the industry alone I expected better instructions but this cooler soon let me down. After reading the instructions serval times I got it all together. I choose to make a video on the installation of this CPU cooler and share a few tips that might help others with their install.
I was tasked with setting and testing a quick PowerCLI command today and my system was a bit behind. Of course I took to Youtube to find how to get started quickly with PowerCLI but most of the videos I located were too complex. In this quick blog post I’m going to go over the steps I took to update my Windows Environment with PowerShell, Install PowerCLI, and get it up and running.
Note: this procedure is for Windows systems that are connected to the Internet. There are manual ways to install PowerCLI. However, this post doesn’t cover that process. Additionally, there are Prerequisites to installing PowerCLI, check out this link for more information.
First — I checked to see what version of PowerShell (PS) I have installed. I opened a PowerShell command window as Admin and entered the following command. $PSVersionTable. From the output I could see I had 5.1.19041…
I could have also entered $PS.versionTable.PSversion
Note: Newer versions of Windows should have PowerShell installed by default. If you don’t have PowerShell installed follow this guide for 5.1.
Second – Now it was time to install PowerCLI
- Open the PS5 App as Admin
- Run this command to download – Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI
- Read and answer Yes or All when prompted (Be patient it may take a bit)
- Next you’ll need to Set Execution Policies:
- Enter the command – ‘Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned’
- More info on Execution Policies HERE
- Next command: ‘Set-PowerCLIConfiguration -InvalidCertificateAction Ignore -Confirm:$false’
Third – Ensure PowerCLI Commands are working
- With the PowerShell APP open try this commend to see the version of PowerCLI
- ‘Get-PowerCLIVersion’ << Deprecated command, but works for now
- Also ‘Get-Module’ will tell you the version
- Connect to your vCenter Server
- Enter the command ‘Connect-VIServer [FQDN or IP]
- Once Connected try the command ‘Get-VM’ to see a list of VM’s
These commands might seem simple but I was amazed by the amount of trial and effort it took to get PowerCLI up and running. I’m sure there are other issues folks might run into. If you do run into an issue post a comment below and I’ll be glad to help out.
I had the honor of presenting the keynote session at the Phoenix Usercon last week. It was my first time in public talking about how my laterality (left-handedness) broadened my view of #diversityequityandinclusion. I got some really great feedback from the audience and I’m hoping it helped them broaden their view too. If you want to know more check out my article here. https://www.linkedin.com/…/being-left-handed-dei…/ #vmug #vexpert #diversity #vmware
It’s been a long wait for Part 8 but I was able to release it today! If you are interested on how to network performance test your storage environment this session might help. The purpose of this session is to show how to interconnect two MikroTik switches and ensure their performance is optimal when compared to a single switch. The two NAS devices in this session have different physical capabilities and by no means is this a comparison of their performance. The results are merely data points. Users should work with their vendor of choice to ensure best performance and optimization.
I have presented my HOME LABS: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE to various groups. However, in this session I present it to my fellow vExperts. During these sessions I go into detail around VMware Home lab design considerations, which is something we usually don’t think of when building a home lab.
If you are looking for the links in the video simply download the slides via this link:
I do hope you find this information very useful. Please feel free to ask any questions or post comments…
Thanks — Enjoy!
I’ve been building White box PCs since the early 90’s and if you seen my home lab blogs and videos its a passion that has continued on for so many years. When I look for a case, I’m usually looking for practicality and usability as it relates to the indented design. As a DIY home lab builder, using commodity cases is normal but unique cases for home labs are not always easy to find. When I do look for unique Home Lab case ideas, I usually run into lists of the gamer builds that are not so much meant for Home Labs. In this blog I wanted to compile a list of cases that are a bit more unique but someone might want to use for a home lab. For each case, I listed out some of my thoughts around home lab use cases. Of course, deeper research will be needed to determine if they fit your indented use.
USE CASE: Could be used for a stackable home lab or workstations
- ~1U Formfactor | ++ Coolness factor | Portability | Light Weight | Low Noise
- The slide out system tray makes for easy access to internal components, especially when stacked
- Tight form factor limiting options
- Sometimes limited SFX Power Supplies Options
- ITX Standard might be hard for Home Lab deployments
- Limited to 3 Drives
USE CASE: Sure this may look like a standard PC Case, but what’s unique about this case is the MANY ways it can be configured and re-configured. Because of this unique flexibility it would work well as a Workstation or ESXi Host.
- MANY case configurations options
- Want even more space? Look at the Define 7 XL
- Supports ATX and some E-ATX configurations
- Clean case design with 3 Color Options
- Horizontal and vertical PCI Slots
- Wire management
- Air Filters
- 9 Fan Connections
- Lots of Disk space
- No 5.25″ disk bays
- No front facing USB or external ports (all on top)
- It’s big and the XL even bigger
- Some options sold separately
USE CASE: With so many disk options could see this case being used for FreeNAS or even a vSAN cluster
- LOTS of disk space 5 x 3.5 and 1 2.5
- MINI-ITX / Small form factor
- PCI Low Profile slot
- Upright or Lie-down configurations
- Check out the manufacture site for more and similar case designs
- Does require SFX power supply
- The size may limit flexibility
- Only one PCI slot
- No 5.25″ disk bays
In this video I review and show how I migrated my vSAN Hybrid deployment to All Flash vSAN.
- I cover some of my goals and reasons why I have made this investment
- Review the changes required
- Talk about how I Backed Up and Migration of my current data using the LOCKERSTOR 10 and Synology 1621+
- The way I decommission vSAN with only 3-nodes
- I then build a new vSAN Cluster and migrated the data.
- Wrapping it up I review Parts List and show how I built the new vSAN Cluster.
NOTE: This is a non-production and non-supported home lab. Products used in this environment are in no way intended for production systems.
See helpful links and additional photos below.
- More about NVMe Bifurcation Link
- SuperMicro X9DRD-7LN4F-JB
- SuperMicro AOC-SLG3-2M2 User Manual and Product Page
- SuperMicro X9 support for AOC-SLG2-2m2
- Sabrent Rocket NVMe
- Dual M.2 PCIe Adapter Card for NVMe/SATA SSD
Photos not in the video:
Post Migration Host (Much cleaner)
In this quick video I show how to enable VM Migration after a failed or incomplete Synology Active Backup.
Links in this Video:
Migration options for a virtual machine are greyed out though vMotion is licensed (1029926) https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1029926
Storage vMotion migration fails with the error: The method is disabled by ‘SYMC-INCR dd-mm-yyyy hh:mm’ (2008957) https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2008957
With so many 10Gbe Switch options out there for VMware Home Labs I thought I would take some time to create a list of some of the more common options.
Where did I get this data?
William Lam started the VMware Community Homelab project a few years ago. It allows Home Lab users to enter their information around their Home lab. To date the VMware Home Lab community have entered over 125 different VMware Home Labs. When a user registers they provide a URL link which leads to their home lab build-of-materials (BOM) or a description of the users home lab. Its a great resource when you are looking to see what others are doing. This was my primary data source for the results below.
On to the Results!
Over this past weekend, I took some time to review all VMware Community Homelab project links and specifically documented all the folks that noted their 10Gb Switch. I found where 25 users listed the use of a 10Gbe Switch. As I went to each link I documented the switch, its 10Gb Port count, who made it, the model, a current price, and a helpful link.
Here are the TOP 3 most popular and a curious switch:
#1 – With a user count of 7 the Ubiquity Unifi US-16-XG was the most used switch by a single model. Additionally, I noticed many of their other products in users home labs.
#2 – MikroTik with a user count of 8 across 4 different models. Their products are know to be very cost effective for 10Gbe so its no wonder they are in the top 3.
#3 – Our surprise result with a user count of 4 across 2 models is Netgear. But, its no surprise that Netgear has been making great home lab products for decades and they seem to be a bit popular in this 10Gbe arena.
Lastly, a curious switch I noted was the Brocade Communications BR-VDX6720-24-R VDX 6720. With 24 Ports of SFP+ 10Gbe its got me curious why you can find these on Ebay for ~$150. This is one switch I’ll have to look into.
This table contains to total results and extra information :
|Count||10Gb Ports||Ports||Manufacture||Product||USD Cost (05/2022)||Link||Notes|
|7||16||12 x 10G SFP+ ports | 4 x 10Gbe RJ45||Ubiquity||UniFi US-16-XG 10G||$600-800||https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-switching/products/unifi-switch-16-xg|
|4||8||8 x 10 Gb SFP+ | 1 x 1Gbe RJ45||MikroTik||CRS309-1G-8S+IN||$269||https://mikrotik.com/product/crs309_1g_8s_in|
|2||8||8 x 10Gbe RJ45 | 2 RJ45/SFP+ Combo Ports||Netgear||Prosafe XS708T||$850||https://www.netgear.com/business/wired/switches/smart/xs708t/|
|2||16||16 x 10 Gb SFP+ | 1 x 1Gbe RJ45||MikroTik||CRS317-1G-16S+RM||$400||https://mikrotik.com/product/crs317_1g_16s_rm|
|2||8||8 x 10Gbe RJ45 | 1 x 10GB RJ45/SFP+ Combo Ports||Netgear||XS708E||EOL||https://www.netgear.com/support/product/XS708E.aspx||EOL|
|1||12||8 x 10Gbe RJ45| 4 x Combo (TP and SFP+) | 1 10/100Gbe RJ45||MikroTik||CRS312-4C+8XG-RM||$625||https://mikrotik.com/product/crs312_4c_8xg_rm|
|1||8||8 x 10Gbe RJ45||Buffalo||BS-XP20||EOL||https://www.buffalotech.com/resources/bs-mp20-10gbe-multi-gigabit-switch-replaces-the-bs-xp20-10gbe-switch||EOL|
|1||24||24 x 10 Gb SFP+||Lenovo||RackSwitch G8124E||EOL||https://lenovopress.lenovo.com/tips0787|
|1||24||24 x 10 Gb SFP+||Brocade Communications||BR-VDX6720-24-R VDX 6720||EOL $150-400||https://www.andovercg.com/datasheets/brocade-vdx-6720-switch-datasheet.pdf||Hard to find information on this switch|
|1||See Note||48 x 1Gbe RG45 | 4 x QSFP+ 40GB||Cisco||N3K-C3064PQ-10GX Nexus 3064||$1,200||https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/nexus-3000-series-switches/data_sheet_c78-651097.html||Looks like the 4 x 40GB QSFP+ can be spilt into mutiple 10Gb SFP|
|1||4||4 x 10Gb SFP+||MikroTik||CRS305-1G-4S+IN||$140||https://mikrotik.com/product/crs305_1g_4s_in|
|1||4||4 x 10GB SFP+ | 24 x 1Gbe RJ45||Cisco||3750-24P w/ Cisco C3KX-NM-10G 3K-X Network Module||https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/catalyst-3560-x-series-switches/data_sheet_c78-584733.html|
|1||8||4 x 10GB SFP+ | 4 x 10Gb RJ45/SFP+ Combo Ports||Qnap||QSW-804-4C||$500||https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/qsw-804-4c|
Update: Here are a few switches that folks mentioned to me in their comments but were not part of the VMware Community HomeLab listing:
- Brocade icx-6610 ~$200 | 16x10G ports, 2x40G ports, 48x1G
- TP-Link TL-SG3428XMP $600 | 24xPOE 1G + 4xSFP+
- Netgear XS508M $600 | 8 x 10Gbe RJ45 1 x shared SFP+
- Ubiquity USW-Pro-Aggregation $899 | Layer 3 switch with (28) 10G SFP+ ports and (4) 25G SFP28 ports.
- Ubiquity USW-Aggregation $270 | L2 8x 10Gb SFP+
- Dell S4112T $1500-$5000 | Multi-function Rack Switch See docs
- D-LINK DX-1210-10TS $1200 | 8 x 10Gbe RJ50 2 x 10Gbe SFP+
- Dell X4012 ~$500-1500 | 12 x 10Gbe SFP+
It was a bit of a surprise the the following switch vendors were not mentioned by users: Linksys, Aruba (now HPE), Juniper, and Extreme Networks.
For a really good list of Network Switch and Router vendors check out this wiki page.
Lastly, it should be noted, there is a another way for Home lab users to enter their BOMs. Most recently a VMware fling known as Solution Designer is allowing Home lab users to enter their data. Here is a quick description of the new service:
The Solution Designer Fling provides a platform to manage custom VMware solutions. Building a custom VMware solution involves many challenging tasks. One of the most difficult is continuous manual verifications: checking the interoperability of multiple VMware products and performing compatible hardware validations. Solution Designer seeks to resolve these issues by automating repetitive manual steps and collecting scattered resources in a single platform.
Note: The only downside to this fling is you can only see your data and not others.
To sum it up, I’m sure this table is less then 100% accurate when it comes to VMware Home Labs. In viewing the listings on the VMware Community Home lab project, I found many dead user links and incomplete BOMs. The list above is more about how many folks are using which switch vs. the specifics of the switch. The specifics are something you might want to review at a deeper level. However, its a good start and the table above should come in handy if you are looking to compare some common 10Gbe switches for your home lab.
Thanks for reading and if I missed your switch, please do comment below and I’ll be glad to add it!