Time to replace my Homelab – Part 1

My current homelab contains 2x HP ML10v2, 1x HP Microserver Gen8 and 2 Switches (1 Mikrotik Cloud Switch 24 Port, Zyxcel 16 Port). This setup was sufficient for a long time. But due to the increased resource requirements of some VMware products and my activities with vROPs, Log Insight and other solutions I require more resources. Furthermore I would like to reduce from 3 to 1 server and run more activities virtually based on the lab scripts from William Lam.

Current Setup:

HostnameCPUMemoryStorageAdd-On
xmesx01eIntel® Pentium® G3240 (3.1GHz/2-core/3MB/54W)32 GB1x 240GB Intel SSD1x HP Quad Gbit NIC
xmesx02eIntel® Pentium® G3240 (3.1GHz/2-core/3MB/54W)20 GB1x 240GB Intel SSD1x HP Quad Gbit NIC
Storage (Freenas on HP Microserver Gen8):Intel® Pentium® G2020T (2.5GHz/2-core/3MB/35W)16 GB4x 2TB WD RED1x HP Smart Array P410 + 512MB Cache Modul + Battery

New Setup:

CategoryDescription
Type:HP Proliant DL380 G7  
ChipsetIntel  ®   5520 Tylersburg + Intel ICH 10
CPU TypIntel ®  Xeon ®  CPU L5630
CPU Speed2.13 GHz
Cores / Threads2 CPU(s), 4 Cores per CPU, 2 Thread(s) per Core, 16 total
L1, L2, L3 Cache32k+32k,   256k,    12288k (12 MB)
Memory32 GB DDR3 ECC 
Installed8 x 4 GB
SAS - Controller:HP Smart Array P410i Controller
Controller PCIe:1x GB LAN Broadcom PCIe Karte
2x Fiber Channel Finsar Singel Port PCIe card
Disks8x 2,5“ SAS HDDs 

The plan is to extend the machine with 8x 146GB SAS disks and additionally upgrade the memory to 144GB at least. The FC card will be removed as it will not be used in my Homelab.

If someone is interested in buying one or two HP ML10v2 please send my a message.

to be continued …

Homelab the current state

It’s time for a new update about my new Homelab. In the past I was running HP Microserver 2x N40L and 1x Gen8. All these machines are still here but no longer in use and will be for sale soon. My new Homelab contains now 2x HP ML10v2, 1x Zyxel 16 Gbit Switch, 1x Lenovo ix4-300d storage.

2x Server HP ML10 v2: HP ProLiant ML10 v2 G3240-Server (nicht Hot-Plug-fähig, 4 GB-U, B120i, 4 LFF, 350-W-Netzteil)
2x SSD adapter per Server: Kingston SNA-DC2/35 SATA DriveCarrier Einbaurahmen für 6,4 cm (2,5 Zoll) bis 8,9 cm (3,5 Zoll) schwarz
Memory: Samsung 8GB (1x 8GB) DDR3 1600MHz (PC3 12800E) 2Rx8 ECC Unbuffered Dimm Server Workstation Arbeitsspeicher RAM Memory
1x Zyxel 16 Port Gbit Switch: Zyxel GS1100-16-EU0101F Gigabit Switch (16-Port, RJ-45)
1x Lenovo ix4-300d Storage: Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d Network Storage (0TB Diskless EMEA, Marvell Armada TM XP, 1,3GHz, 4x HDD, 512MB RAM)
2x HP Quad Network adapter: HP 538696-B21 PCI-e Quad Port Gigabit Server Adapter
2x Intel SSD 240GB: Intel SSDSC2BW240H601 interner Solid State Drive 240GB schwarz
4x WD RED 2TB: WD 2TB Red interne NAS-Festplatte (8,9 cm (3,5 Zoll), 5400rpm, SATA III) WD20EFRX

xmesx01e

xmesx02e

I have installed vSphere 6 on my servers. The Lenovo storage is providing 2 iSCSI targets to fulfil the requirement of 2 shared datastores for HA. Both datastores are part of an SDRS cluster. Besides this I have created a cluster which has HA and DRS enabled. On the network side I have created 3 standard vSwitches each with 2 Gbit network adapters. vSwitch0 is for the virtual machine traffic. vSwitch1 is for iSCSI and vSwitch2 is for VMotion. Yes I know thats a bit the old school way of networking but hey thats only my Homelab so a dvSwitch with Network IO control should not be required. A simple setup is sufficient for Homelab use. Maybe in the future I’m going to change it but that will have to wait until the next vSphere release.

So whats next?

Next will be to setup vRealize Operations Manager 6.3 to improve my troubleshooting knowledge of this product. Additionally I have an idea about how to simplify the troubleshooting and improve the supportability of the product. But this is a different topic. Today I’m going to install the lastest ESXi patches and check for upgrades of my vCenter appliance.

More to come …

Homelab upgrade and Options to install a SSD into the HP Microserver Gen8

I started to plan the upgrade my current homelab from 1x HP Microserver Gen8, 2x HP Microserver N40L and a Netgear 24 port switch. The only part which I will keep is the HP Microserver Gen8 it has already 16GB of memory and a HP SmartArray P410 with 512MB Cache module incl. battery. This machine will run my infrastructure machines like a tiny vCenter. As work horses I plan to use HP ML10v2 due to the fact that they are cost efficient and they support up to 32GB of memory.

Parts list which I will use in my future homelab:

1x Server HP Microserver Gen8: HP ProLiant MicroServer (Gen8, G1610T, 1P, 4 GB-U, B120i, SATA-Server)
2x Server HP ML10 v2: HP ProLiant ML10 v2 G3240-Server (nicht Hot-Plug-fähig, 4 GB-U, B120i, 4 LFF, 350-W-Netzteil)
2x SSDs per Server: Mushkin MKNSSDRE1TB Reactor 7mm SSD, 1TB
2x SSD adapter per Server: Kingston SNA-DC2/35 SATA DriveCarrier Einbaurahmen für 6,4 cm (2,5 Zoll) bis 8,9 cm (3,5 Zoll) schwarz
2x Disks per Server: HGST Deskstar NAS 3TB 6Gb/s SATA 7200rpm 24×7 RV S
Switch: TP-Link TL-SG3424 Pure-Gigabit L2 Managed Switch (24x 10/100/1000Mbps RJ45-Ports inkl. 4 kombinierter SFP-Anschlüsse, lüfterloses Passivkühlkonzept)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (1x 8GB) DDR3 1600MHz (PC3 12800E) 2Rx8 ECC Unbuffered Dimm Server Workstation Arbeitsspeicher RAM Memory

There are at least 2 options to install SSDs into the HP Microserver Gen8.

Option 1 is to connect a single SSD to the SATA port on the mainboard an place it where normally the DVD drive should be installed. That’s the cheapest method and might be not the best one.

Option 2 will use a adapter to map the 2.5″ SSD into a 3.5″ tray. I personally would use the Kingston SNA-DC2/35 adapter.

Homelab + ESXi Hostclient

My Homelab contains currently 2x HP Microserver N40L and one HP Microserver Gen8. The N40L’s are running ESXi 5.5 and the Gen8 is running ESXi 6. That’s my basic setup. Due the fact that I’m only using Apple computers I have searched a long time for an alternative to the vSphere fat client. Since a couple of months VMware has a Fling available called ESXi host client. The new host client is a HTML and JavaScript based vSphere client running directly on the hypervisor.

Hostclient installation:

Download the latest VIB from https://labs.vmware.com/flings/esxi-embedded-host-client

Upload the file to the ESXi datastore and install it using esxcli.

esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/datastore/esxui-3530804.vib

Afterwards you can access the hostclient using the management IP of your ESXi host https://MGMT-IP/ui

hostclient_login

Login using your ESXi credentials.

hostclient_host_view

Most of the standard configurations can be handled with the new host client which simplifies everything.

Now I hope that VMware will integrate this host client directly into the ESXi and finally retire the old vSphere fat client.

Few words about my current Homelab and my future extension plans:

* HP Microserver N40L
* 1 AMD Fusion
* 8GB Memory
* HP Smart Array P410 512MB Cache + Battery
* 2x 2TB Western Digital HDD
* ILO cards

* HP Microserver Gen8
* Intel Pentium
* 16GB Memory
* HP Smart Array P410 512MB Cache + Battery
* 2x 2TB Western Digital + 1x 4TB Seagate SSHD
* SSD cache
* ILO 4 onboard

Amazon: HP Microserver Gen8

I’m currently planing the replacement of the N40L’s with the new HP ML10 v2. The ML10 v2 has an very attractive price in Germany (around 180€) containing 1x Intel Pentium, 4GB Memory, no HDD. The new box is capable to handle up to 32GB of Memory, 4 HDDs and can also be equipped with an Intel Xeon.

Amazon: HP ML10 v2

There will be another post dedicated to the new ESXi host client including more screenshots and descriptions how to configure an ESXi host just using this client.

Openstack with VMware vCenter

Last week I started to play around with Openstack in combination with VMware vCenter. I used Devstack as baseline and configured the VMware support. I wasn’t expecting that it will directly work but it did. The configuration is described in the OpenStack Wiki.
As environment I used 3 HP Dl360 G7 (2xQuad Core, 96GB Memory, 500GB SAN Storage), running VMware vSphere 5.5 with the vCenter appliance.

New HP Microserver NL54

HP has announced a new version of the nice little Microserver. After the NL36 and NL40 now it is the NL54. The basics are the same the only real improvement is the new CPU which is now running on 2.2Ghz instead of 1.5Ghz. The official memory limit is still 8GB. :-( I had expected that HP will increase the limit to 16GB. Nevertheless it is a cool small server which is perfect for home lab setups.

Quickspecs

2nd Microserver just arrived

I got my 2nd HP Microserver today including the Remote Access Card. In the next days the memory upgrade of both boxes to 8GB each will arrive too. So that means my private Lab is nearly ready. I just miss the external iSCSI storage but this is currently no issue as I use a freenas on my ML115 G5 as shared storage.

Let the tests and trainings begin … :-)

VMware vSphere 5

Now I had the time to setup an vSphere 5 vCenter on Windows (MS Sql Express DB) and 4 HP servers. Setup was quite easy of vCenter no real issue. Only the SQL Express was a not working directly, but with some Google all issues could be resolved. I have than upgraded all 4 servers from 4.1 to 5 using the iso image. 3 of 4 have been successfully. The last one was not working after the upgrade and I have than plain reinstalled it. After this the environment was up and running. In the next days I will test all basic functions and later on I will test out the new stuff like VSA, DataStore Pools and so on. Keep you in the loop.