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May 23

Do’s and Don’ts of Your VMware Home Lab

Those of you reading this fit into one of two categories:

1) You DO have a virtualization lab and are looking to constantly learn more

2) You DON’T have a lab and you are looking at how to start one

This post applies to both categories and I hope to shed some light on some common mistakes as well as not-so-common mistakes and also give kudos to some things that people are doing right with their labs. These will hopefully save you lots of time, sweat, tears, and pain as you progressively tweak your lab’s performance.

Let’s go ahead and start with the DO’s. (If you have any Do’s or Dont’s you think should be added, add them in the comments section below and I will append the current list)

DO:

  • Plan your lab environment in advance
  • Make sure the hardware you choose is found in the HCL (Hardware Compatibility List)
  • Make sure your spouse/significant other approves of the cost beforehand 🙂
  • Decide beforehand the RAID type you’ll use in your NAS
  • Decide beforehand what network protocol you will use
  • Create ISO’s of all installers (OS’s and Applications)
  • Document all settings,IP information, Usernames, and Passwords for quick reference
  • Buy a VT-D enabled Motherboard to allow for nested virtualization
  • Start small on your hardware (you can always buy more RAM) just make sure your hardware is upgrade-able.
  • Calculate your power usage, get a PSU that is close to that max.
  • Create Templates of your VM’s as you get all the Windows Updates installed.
  • Setup WSUS in your environment for faster installation of Windows Updates.
  • More to come….

DON’T:

  •  Impulse buy your hardware
  • Run your lab on a 100Mb LAN connection, go Gigabit!
  • Throw all your installers into a LUN before you are sure that your storage setup is satisfactory (it’s possible you’ll delete the LUN)
  • Leave your lab running 24/7 if you aren’t planning on using it (or you could see a decent increase in your electricity bill)
  • Use high-wattage PSU’s unless you have to. You can save a lot of money by purchasing a lower wattage PSU.
  • Open VMware ports to access your environment across the internet.  (instead, open ports to a VM that can control your environment.)
  • Leave default VMware Usernames and Passwords.

There are plenty more but none that come to mind right at this moment. Help me out by telling us your Do’s and Dont’s!

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