ESXi 5.5 Free Hypervisor: Will Home Labs Survive?

ESXi 5.5 is finally here, and brings with it a lot of good, new features. Especially interesting, is that early tests seem to indicate that the USB passthrough issues that people were seeing on 5.1 have somewhat resolved themselves (although there are reports that USB 3.0 is working, but not USB 2.0). In addition, however, an interesting tangle for those of us with home labs relying on the free hypervisor has cropped up. VMWare is moving is to get rid of the traditional vSphere Client that we … [Read more...]

Extensive iSCSI/SAN Testing by The Home Server Blog

Every good lab needs an easy to setup, quality, reliable form of iSCSI to use for storage, even if it's not for anything but testing. Working with ESXi in any type of production environment, you won't be using local storage, but rather iSCSI datstores. There are a plethora of methods to getting good iSCSI targets, but I've found the best solution for a Windows OS is StarWind iSCSI SAN Free Edition. It's a software that I promote, enjoy using, and respect the team over at Starwind for making a … [Read more...]

Power Consumption: ESXi Home Lab

One of the bigger questions that I've always gotten about my builds is what is my energy consumption.  That's something I've always been able to estimate, however, I've never taken the time to actually watch the wattage load with my Kill-a-Watt, or anything else.  Primarily because my lab is also a production lab, it very rarely comes down for any amount of time.  Last night gave me that opportunity. Battery Backup for ESXi: APC BR1500G and APC BR24BPG My lab had been running on an older, … [Read more...]

vCenter Server Build with a Starwind iSCSI Target

Up until now, I have been running vCenter as a VM inside my cluster.  There's a large debate over the pros and cons of running vCenter as a VM vs. a physical box, and I won't get into that here except to say it didn't work for me and my specific requirements/desires.  To that end, I decided to build a dedicated Windows 2008 box to use as my vCenter server.  In addition, I decided that I'd let the box do double duty and also run Starwind iSCSI, (the free edition), to make it one of my iSCSI nodes … [Read more...]

ESXi Configuration Backup by Cloning the ESXi USB Stick

Although there are a number of utilities out for doing an ESXi Configuration backup, I try to shoot for the easiest method, and for me, it was just cloning my ESXi USB stick. However, ESXi uses it's own file system, and you can't simply copy the files from one USB to another; you need to image them. Enter a nice little free tool called USB Image Tool. USB Image Tool Overview USB Image Tool does two things, and it does them well: it creates an image of a USB drive and stores it to disk, and it … [Read more...]