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The Hubbub Around Virtualization Test Labs

There was quite a buzz in the blogosphere about what people do for their virtualization test environments. The theme of the VMware Communities Podcast #79, white boxes and home labs, spurred quite a discussion around the blogosphere, as many bloggers and people learning about virtualization go about this differently. Surprisingly, many utilize of physical systems to test and learn about virtualization.

Many of the bloggers took time to outline the steps they take and detail their private labs. I wrote about my personal virtualization lab at my personal blog site, outlining the layout of where I do most of my personal development work.

I make it a priority to separate my professional virtualization practice from my blogging activities. In my case, the lab is basic in that the host server, a ProLiant ML 350, is capable of running all of the major hypervisors. Further, I make extended use of the nested ESX (or vESX) functionality.

For a lab to be successful as a learning vehicle, some form of shared storage should be used to deliver the best configuration for advanced features. In my lab, I use a DroboPro as an iSCSI SAN for my ESXi server and all subsequent vESX servers. I can also use the iSCSI functionality to connect Windows servers to the DroboPro for storage using the built-in iSCSI Initiator. I purchased the DroboPro unit at a crossroads of product lifecycles, but the DroboElite was released in late 2009 and offers increased performance as well as dual Ethernet interfaces for iSCSI connectivity.

While my home lab is sufficient to test effectively all elements of VMware virtualization, there are some really over the top home labs out there. Jason Boche's home lab takes the cake as far as I can tell. Check out this post outlining the unboxing of all the gear as it arrived and his end-state configuration of some truly superior equipment.

How do you go about the home lab for virtualization testing? Do you use it as a training tool? Share your comments here.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 03/04/2010 at 12:47 PM


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