mysidia at gmail.com
Thu Feb 20 03:24:30 UTC 2014
On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM, Phil Gardner <phil.gardnerjr at gmail.com>wrote:
Seeing you are a Linux admin; VMware's prof. training offerings are
basic "point and click" things, not very Linux-admin friendly; no
advanced subjects or even CLI usage in "Install, Configure, Manage". If
you are already at the level of doing scripted ESXi installs and
configuring hosts for SAN storage and networking according to VMware's
best practices, then you should be able to work out the little that is
left by reading the ample documentation and a few whitepapers, unless
you need proof of completing a class as a certification pre-requisite.
One way to get the extra experiences would be to start by putting
together the simplest two-node or three node cluster you can muster; try
various configurations, put it through its paces: make it break in every
conceivable way, fix it....
There is almost nothing extra to do for DRS/HA config, other than to
design the networking, storage, compute, and DNS properly to be resilient
and support them.
You literally just check a box to turn on DRS, and a box to turn on HA,
select an admission policy, and select automation level and migration
Of course, there are advanced options, and 'exotic' clusters where you
need to know the magic option names. You may also need to specify
additional isolation IP addresses, or tweak timeouts for VMware tools
heartbeat monitoring, to cut down on unwanted false HA restarts.
These are not things you will find in the training classes; you need to
read the documentation and literature contained on various blogs --- it
would probably be best to read some of Duncan Epping and Scott Lowe's
books; if you have the time, and to further solidify understanding.
Ultimately; you are not going to be able to do this realistically, without
real servers comparable to the real world, so a laptop running ESXi may
not be enough.
You could also find a company to lease you some lab hours to tinker with
other storage technology; i'm sure by now there are online cloud-based
Rent-A-Labs with the EMC VNX/Dell Equallogic/HP storage hardware.
>vswitches/SAN config (but only with NFS datastores backed by a NetApp,
Also... with uh... NetApp units running current software at least can very
easily create an extra block-based lun on top of a volume, to be served out
as a block target. You might want to ask your storage vendor support
what it would take to get the keycode to turn on FC or iSCSI
licenses, so you can present an extra 40gb scratch volume...... Or
you could download the Netapp simulator to play with :-O
All the ESXi documentation is online, and all the relevant software has a
60-day evaluation grace period after install. You just need to work through
Get things working in the lab, then start trying out more complicated
scenarios and trying the advanced knobs later, read the installation
see how things work.
Buying or scavenging a used server is probably easiest to do for long-term
playing; look for something with 32GB of RAM, and 4 or more 2.5" SAS
drives. Try to have 100GB of total disk space in a hardware RAID10 or
RAID0 with 256MB or so controller writeback cache, or a SSD; the idea
is to have enough space to install vCenter and operations manager and a few
A 3 year old Dell 11G R610 or HP DL360 G6 likely falls into this
Install ESXi on the server, and create 3 virtual machines that will
be "Nested" ESXi servers; OS of the VMs will be ESXi.
If you would rather build a desktop tower for ESXi; look for a desktop
motherboard with a 64-bit Intel Proc with DDR2 ECC Memory support in at
least 32GB of RAM, VT-d support, and onboard Broadcom or Intel
Network controller and Storage controller choices are key; exotic hardware
Considering vCenter itself wants a minimum 12GB of RAM: in case you want
to test out _both_
the vCenter virtual appliance, and the standard install on Windows....
about 32GB RAM is great.
In competition against the VMware HCL, there's a "white box" HCL:
I would look to something such as the Iomega Storcenter PX6, PX4 or
Synology DS1512+ as an inexpensive shared storage solution for playing
around with iSCSI-based block targets. I think the Iomegas may be the
least-cost physical arrays on the official Vmware HCL, with VAAI support.
You can also use a virtual machine running on the local disks of your ESXi
server to present shared storage,
as another VM If you run your cluster's ESXi servers as nested virtual
machines, on one server.
Some software options are Linux... Nexenta.... FreeNAS... Open-e.
HP Lefthand.... Isilon... Falconstor....Nutanix (I would look at the
first 3 primarily)
You can also use a spare Linux machine for shared storage; I would suggest
SSD for this, or when
using disks: something with enough spindles in appropriate RAID level to
give you at least 400 or so
hundred sustained random IOPS, so you can run 3 or 4 active VMs to play
with without the whole
thing being appallingly slow.
FreeNas / Nexenta / ZFS are also great options, 64-bit system with 16gb+
of RAM to give to Solaris.
Finding a hardware configuration on which Solaris X86 will run properly
out of the box can be challenging.
Of course, if you have a spare Linux machine, you can also use that too,
in order to play around with VMs on NFS or iSCSI.
> Not sure if this list is the best place, but it is probably the only list
> that I'm on that won't give me a bunch of grief about the chosen technology.
> I looked at VMware's site, and there are a ton of options. I'm wondering
> if anyone has some basic suggestions or experiences.
> I'm a Linux admin by trade (RH based), with "ok" networking ability. I'm
> sufficiently versed in deploying scripted ESXi (including 5.x)
> installations for a specific environment, including vswitches/SAN config
> (but only with NFS datastores backed by a NetApp, unfortunately, no
> blockbased stores).
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