Jan 23

The Path to Learning Virtualization

So, if you are like how I was, one day I decided I should take the leap into the world of virtualization. Where was I going to start? I had years and years of experience in tech support, small business and residential consulting, business intelligence analysis, and communications administrator support (MS Exchange, Proofpoint, Blackberry Enterprise Server, Etc.). Where would I best be able to jump into virtualization? So I decided to first try out Virtualbox. I gave that a try for a little bit and realized that, well, it’s great for trying out other OS’s within your primary Operating System, but other than that… well… I was ready for something bigger. I jumped into Microsoft Hyper-V and started my first virtual environment with a Dell T610 with the following specs:

  • CPU: (2) Xeon E5620, 2.4Ghz, 12M Cache,Turbo, HT, 1066MHz Max Mem
  • Intel Gigabit NIC Dual Port
  • 32GB Memory, 1333MHz advanced ECC
  • Raid 5 – (5) 1TB
  • 870 Watt redundant Power Supply
  • RD1000 Tape backup
  • Synology DS212j
  • 2 (Western Digital Red 2TB Sata drives) for NAS

Dell T610 Server It’s a pretty sturdy system. I ended up throwing Windows Server 2008r2 on as the main OS. Hyper-V ran: a Terminal Server, SQL Server, Application Server, Monitoring Server and has plenty of room to spare. I got pretty comfortable with Hyper-V and decided to move into the realm of VMware. I didn’t want to format the Dell T610 so I decided I would play around in VMware Workstation 8 (now at Workstation 9) on my desktop:

  • ASRock Motherboard
  • I7-2600 Quad-Core CPU
  • 16GB CORSAIR Vengeance Ram
  • (2) 1TB Green Hard Drives (Had them laying around, otherwise I wouldn’t have used green drives)

I ended up using what is now Veeam Autolabs which is amazing! The creators of Autolabs have done a great job in creating automated scripts to install and configure the environment. My original VMware Workstation ran the following:

  • Domain Controller, 1 cpu, 384MB ram
  • vCenter Server, 1 cpu, 1.25GB ram
  • vNAS, 1 cpu, 128MB ram
  • vRouter, 1 cpu, 12MB ram
  • ESXi Host1, 2 cpu, 2GB ram
  • ESXi Host2, 2 cpu, 4GB ram

The following is a Hardware Requirements table from the autolabs website:

Hardware Minimum Great Choice Used to build the lab (laptop bought in 2009)
CPU Dual Core, 64Bit Quad Core, i7 Core2 Duo
RAM 8GB How much can you afford? 8GB
Hard Disk 60GB free space 120GB SSD free space Second SATA hard disk, Laptop OS on small SSD
Operating System 64 Bit ESXi 5.0 Windows 7 64Bit
Virtualization Software VMware Player (untested) ESXi 5.0 VMware Workstation 8.0.2

Although it was somewhat slow because of the lack of resources (allocated the minimum amounts) it did it’s job. I got my VCP5 and have continued to play around with, tweak, and learn more about VMware’s products and virtualization as a whole.

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