vSphere 5 Auto Lab that is is a quick and easy way to build a vSphere environment for testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC, even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

What is the AutoLab?

The AutoLab is a quick easy way to build a vSphere environment for testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC, even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

What’s in the AutoLab?

The Autolab download contains a set of shell VMs and a lot of automation.  Once built the lab contains two ESXi servers, a Windows Domain controller, a Windows Virtual Centre, a FreeNAS storage appliance and a FreeSCO Router to link it to the outside world.

Inside the AutoLab

The download has been kept very small for easy download and distribution, it contains only free, open source, software. You will also need the installers for vSphere and Windows, you should use evaluation licenses for both vSphere (built in) and Windows.

What can I do with the AutoLab?

  • Run VMs on the lab ESXi servers, using iSCSI shared storage
  • Build an HA and DRS cluster
  • Work with vSphere Networking
  • Practice the upgrade from vSphere 4.1 to vSphere 5.0
  • Use PowerShell and the VCLI to manage the lab
  • Rebuild the whole lab quickly and with minimal effort
  • Choose how much automation you want in the lab build
  • Take the lab with you on your laptop

Will my laptop/PC be able to run the AutoLab?

If your laptop has 8GB of RAM and a recent CPU you should be able to run the lab. Here is my three year old laptop that is upgraded to 8GB of RAM running the whole lab including VMs running on the ESXi servers inside the lab.

RunningLab

Where can I get the AutoLab?

http://www.labguides.com/autolab/

 

Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements for the lab are moderate. Hopefully you won’t need to buy a new computer, although you may need to do some upgrades.  If you can dedicate a computer to the role then the lab runs extremely well under ESXi.

Hardware Minimum Great Choice Used to build the lab (laptop bought in 2009)
CPU Dual Core, 64Bit Quad Core, i7 Core2 Duo
RAM 8GB How much can you afford? 8GB
Hard Disk 60GB free space 120GB SSD free space Second SATA hard disk, Laptop OS on small SSD
Operating System 64 Bit ESXi 5.0 Windows 7 64Bit
Virtualization Software VMware Player (untested) ESXi 5.0 VMware Workstation 8.0.2
Additional software

The AutoLab kit contains open source software and so can be freely redistributed. The full lab requires licensed software components some of which are quite large. Below is a list with download links where these are easily  available.

For the older vSphere versions and for PowerCLI you will need an account with VMware or a good contact at VMware or a VMware partner.

The version 4.1 components are only required if you plan to build a 4.1 environment, usually so you can run the upgrade to 5.0

Source: vSphere 5 AutoLab

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