vLab for VCAP-DCA

With the Cisco DUCUI exam passed and out of the way I have decided to go back to the VMware VCAP5-DCA which I should have started last month.

Powering the lab backup I am greeted with everyone’s favorite message box. ‘Your evaluation┬álicense has expired.’ Time to rebuild the lab again :-(

Anyway I thought this maybe a good opportunity to blog about my Lab.

After attending VMworld 2012 and watching Simon Gallagher’s @vnif_net http://vinf.net/ #vBrownbag talk about vTARDIS I decided to give it ago.

My vTARDIS hardware.

  • HP DL380 G7 with 1 x Xeon E5649 @ 2.53Ghz (Six cores)
  • 36GB RAM
  • 2 x 146GB SAS, 5 x 600GB SAS and 5 x 1TB SATA SFF Drives.
  • 4 x NICS (only using 1) and iLO3

The disks are configured as:

2 x 146GB RAID 1 (Host ESXi boot drives, ISO store)

5 x 600GB RAID 5 (Split in 2 x 1TB LUNs for ESXi Datastores and vSAN LUNs)

6 x 1TB RAID 10 (vSAN LUNs)


I have 4 vSwitches on the host External, iSCSI01, iSCSI02 and vMotion


All the vSwitches on the host need the security policy changing to allow promiscuous mode.


For the VCAP lab I am running a Domain Controller, VMware Virtual Centre, MS SQL2008r2, NexentaStor CE and 4 x ESXI 5 servers.


The NexentaStor (vSAN01) Virtual Machine is configured with 10 VMDKs.

  • 1 boot disk, 4 disk on the RAID5 array and 4 disks on the RAID 10 array for vDatastore and 1 disk as a NFS store.


In the Nextenta GUI the disks are configured as below.





The VM has 3 network cards – 1 NIC for management and 1 NIC to each iSCSI vSwitch.


The vSANs iSCSI Network cards are configured with Jumbo frames.

This means that the host vSwitches, guest ESXi vSwitches and guest vNICs need to be set with a MTU of 9000 as well.

  • Host


  • Guest


As lots of people have blogged about create nested ESXi servers so I’m not going to :-) William Lam has a very good blog post here.

but each vESXi is configured as below


So 3 Windows 2008r2 servers, 3 ESXi 5.0 servers, 1 Nexenta, 3 Debian installs and a OVF deployment later I have…


vESXi storage


Hardware Acceleration!!!!


and vESXi networking before configuring VLANs, NIC teaming and migrating to DV Switches.


Time to get started…