Archive | May 2015

My humble Homelab Setup

P183 V3_3DBox

I figured that it might be a good idea to write a short post about the setup I have at home to test stuff. I have access to another bigger Lab at work, when I need to test solutions that I can’t fit into my own setup. My setup is a homebuild, that was built for silence some 4-5 years ago, but have been upgraded a bit since then.

Cabinet Antec Performance one P180
Motherboard: Asrock Z77 Pro3
RAM: 32Gb DDR3
HDD: a single 250Gb Spinning disk
SSD: Kingston SSDNOW v300 120Gb SSD
NAS: Synology DS413j

On this I run VMware vSphere 5.5 (planning to upgrade to 6.0 soon). And untop of that a few freebsd and linux servers, as well as a few windows servers for testing purposes.

PernixData FVP in the Home Lab Part 1.

So I finally got around to upgrading my homelab to 32Gb ram, so I can run the vCenter all the time, which is needed for PernixData’s FVP solution. Also gotten a cheap Kingston v300 120Gb SSD for testing.

Been running for 2 weeks with vFlash Read Cache from VMware which seriously speeded up my homelab. However i did run in to one Caveat.

I had let the VCSA used some of the vflash as all the other servers, however i couldn’t start up my VCSA after a total shutdown of my homelab (to install the extra RAM).
Failing with a¬†“Could not create vFlash cache: msg.vflashcache.error.VFC_FAILURE”. As its the vCenter Server that gives the vFlash out to the other server it seems that it can’t use it itself. I might be mistaken in this as I have not tested it again.

I found @h0bbel’s article on it, and removed vFlash from the vCenter Server and vupti it could boot, and after it had booted up, the rest of my servers could be booted normally.

With previously only 16Gb of ram, I had let the host use 30Gb of the 120Gb of the flash to Swap, and that was way faster than using my NAS. However it was still alot slower than after i had upgraded it to 32Gb of ram. It left with with roughly 90Gb of SSD to use for caching.

One thing I found annoying about vFRC from VMware is that it is per VMDK, meaning i had to edit each machine and set aside some part of the SSD for caching for that particular vmdk. I’d much rather have it use the SSD to boost the entire datastore, instead of trying to figure out how much each of the vmdk’s should have. As i have read Duncan’s tweets about it, that will be added in a coming version of vFRC.

As I have written earlier I was lucky enough to be selected as a PernixPro, and one of the nice benefits of that, is a NFR license to FVP. So that is what I’m going to install and write about in Part 2 of this blog post.

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