Sorry for the long delay between posts. After the last post I spent all my time studying in advance to be as prepared for the class when the time came (more on that later). After spent several weeks of reading the posts on VMware and other sites, I went with a slightly different approach. I started out with a new Mac Mini (late 2012 model) and upgraded the memory to 16 GB. I then installed a copy of VMware Fusion and installed ESXi under that. This is where joining VMUG and subscribing to the Advantage program which got me a discount on the purchase of Fusion and enabled me to get the Professional version which allowed some additional features such as making some additional changes to networking and other areas not available with the regular version of Fusion.
One thing that I found was that ESXi will only get 8GB of memory to use. There is a way to “edit” the configuration file for ESXi once it is installed to allow for more memory to be assignable to ESXi. This is posted on VMware website. I modified the file and gave up to 14GB to ESXi. Since the Mac Mini has a HDMI output for monitor use, I picked up a 21″ LCD TV with dual HDMI inputs for less than $100. Although my initial plans were to run the Mac Mini’s in headless mode, I knew that having a monitor handy would be a good thing.
After I started working with ESXi and reading some of the materials that I would be using to study in advance for the class, I decided to purchase a second Mac Mini. Although I could have saved some money by going with a regular server, I have some other ideas that made the Mac Mini’s a better choice. I did something else as a part of the purchase of the 2nd Mac Mini. When I went to the local electronics superstore to pick it up, I also purchased a 5 port gig switch and a bargain priced firewall/router ($15 was too good to pass up) that allowed me to “sandbox” my lab network from the rest of my network at home while allowing me to access the internet directly for patches, updates and other things that I would need as I went along.
I had the chance to purchase a used Dell T300 server with 4GB of ram and fully loaded with a set of 160GB hot plug drives. My goal here was to do a bare metal install of ESXi and run FreeNAS as a Guest OS under that. This took a series of installs to find that installing FreeNAS (v8.3.1) as a guest OS under ESXi would allo me to assign just a 8GB drive in ESXi to install FreeNAS on and then build another drive give the rest the drive space to FreeNAS that could be further carved up as a simultaneous iSCSI and NFS datastores. This helped build the platform for an independent storage setup to allow me to work with all of the variations of vMotion.
Now that i have gone through what I put together for a lab, I will go over the study aids that I pulled together to help me get the most out of the VMware class and pass the exam.
To read the rest of my posts in the VMware Series – Click on this link