As an existing VCP4 I only had until the end of February 2012 to sit and pass my VCP5 exam.
For the previous exam I’d been given read-only access to my employer’s production environment, however, not being able to change anything or play with advanced functionality had definitely been a pain. This time I decided that I needed to see VMware vSphere and vCenter 5 right from installation and to be able to pull out cables and destroy networks at will.
Previously a VMware lab would have involved at least 2 physical servers, some basic switching and a reasonable NAS box and just wasn’t financially possible for me, however, technology progressed and now it was possible to virtualise the vSphere Hosts, vCenter and the Storage (I used OpenFiler) which meant I could do it all in one box.
VMware’s stance on hardware, over the years, had also gone from very restrictive to; “It’ll install on almost anything” so I was now able to put together a Home Lab using Desktop hardware. I priced up the following:
|Item||Price (Then)||Price (Now)||Link|
|Shuttle SH67H7 Barebone Bundled with FREE 500GB Hard Drive||£259.99||£239.99||eBuyer|
|2xCorsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333MHz
XMS3 Memory Kit CL9 1.5V unbuffered
|Intel Core i5 2400 3.1GHz Socket LGA 1155 6MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor||£147.48||£148.96||eBuyer|
|Intel PRO/1000 PT PCIe Server Adapter||£68.85||£64.32||eBuyer|
|SanDisk Cruzer Fit 4GB USB Flash Drive||£5.00||£5.99||Amazon|
In the end I didn’t need the Intel NIC, as the internal Realtek one was recognised by vSphere. I also had to buy some locking SATA cables and anti-vibration feet which kept things down to a low hum. The 140GB SATA II HDD and DVD Writer came out of an old PC in the attic, however, aside from the installation of vSphere (which boots off the 4GB USB Flash Drive in the back) I don’t think I’ve used either since.
The kit did me proud and I spent 2 weeks indepth with vSphere before successfully passing my VCP5 exam. Since then I’ve used it for further vSphere scenario testing and a Citrix XenApp 6.5 POC environment.