Thinking like a Service Provider

It used to be the rare vCenter outage didn’t matter as few people would even notice. Now more people are being indirectly exposed through tools like vCAC and they will take notice and your phone will be ringing. Please see my VMware blog post on how organizations are starting to Think Like a Service Provider.

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Rebuilding my home lab

Over the last few years I have used a variety of equipment for a home lab and decided with the new job it was time to rebuild my home lab. I looked at everything from building a high end workstation, to buying a used server, to using hosted services. At the beginning of my search I only had a couple of basic requirements. I wanted at least a 4 core single processor with 64GB ram but would love to have a dual processor with 128GB of ram. And of course it needed to run ESXi.

The high end workstation or used server would have been nice to have “hands on” and would have allowed me to build exactly what I wanted. However it also meant powering it, finding a place to house it, and of course cooling it. The other downside was my home internet. While I have 18Mb/s download, my upload is only 2Mb/s and I rarely see that. As much as I travel this could be a real problem.

So the cooling and bandwidth issue led me to look closer at hosted services. This led to a few new requirements, namely I needed something that had an affordable monthly payment, no crazy bandwidth charges, and I needed root access so I could run ESXi on it. After a few days of googling and researching I came upon So You Start. They ended up having a solution that solved all of my issues. For about what it would cost to purchase a used server, I can rent a server from them for almost 3 years. After taking the plunge I was up and running on my new hosted server with a fresh copy of ESXi in less than an hour. Not bad!

I have now had the server for a few weeks and so far it is working out great. I’ve been able to upgrade the ESXi version, install a firewall appliance, VPN, and load it up with vCSA, vCO, vCAC, and a multitude of tools that I need for work as well as to push my skills ever further. In future posts I will go over everything I have done in the lab as well as a few issues I have had to overcome.

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I recently was asked to guest post on the VMware Consulting Blog. If you are interested in BCDR please take a look at it.