Over the past few months, I’ve been searching for a good home lab server to replace the ones I had been using that were decommissioned and given to me by my previous employer…3 HP DL385 G6 rack servers with 64GB each. Well anyone that knows servers, know that these are not ideal from a home lab. Not only are they big, bulky and heavy, but they suck electricity like a newborn baby sucks a warm bottle (I can attest to this, being a new dad to a healthy,hungry boy) and on top of that, they can make a room HOT…really fast! I knew this was not a long term solution for me and there was only so much that I could do with VMware’s online HOL. I needed something that I could not only have to test out all the latest products from VMware without a 2hr or so limit, but also something that I could continue to use to prepare for advanced certifications and create content to share on the blog.
What I Wanted In A Server
First of all…it needed to be small. I have a office at home…not a dedicated server room. I wanted something no bigger than a desktop tower PC. To me, the smaller, the better. I also wanted something that would provide me with enough resources to run two of VMware’s most resource intensive products, NSX and vRealize Automation. Those two products alone would need about 50GB of RAM to install all the components to get up and running. I first began looking into the SuperMicro SYS-E200-8D and SYS-E300-8D servers. I was drawn first to their size and then to the fact that they could max out at a whooping 128GB of RAM. However, I didn’t like the idea of only have 2 options for storage, one 2.5 HDD and one M.2 slot. Then I stumbled across Paul Braren from TinkerTry on Twitter and I that’s when I discovered what would soon be my next home lab server.
What I Got
I ended up purchasing a SuperMicro SYS-5028D-TN4T server bundle from WiredZone and added two additional 32GB DIMMs to have a total of 128GB of RAM.
In this blog post we will be deploying the NSX manager appliance. This is the first step in beginning to deploy NSX in your VMware environment. First things first, after downloading the NSX OVA file, right click on the cluster you want to deploy the appliance in and click Deploy OVF Template. Browse to and select the NSX OVA file and click Next.
In this post we will be deploying an additional Edge Services Gateway (ESG) so that we can take advantage of Equal-Cost Multipath (ECMP) from the distributed logical router to the ESG. The advantage of using ECMP is that you can split the traffic from VMs evenly between the ESGs and have multiple bidirectional links. Let’s get started configuring!
Navigate to Networking & Security > NSX Edges and click the green + to begin deploying a new ESG.
Picking up from where we left off in our last post, we will be configuring routing between the physical network and the virtual network by means of the NSX Edge Services Gateway appliance.
A little backgroud about the NSX Edge:
NSX Edge provides network edge security and gateway services to isolate a virtualized network. The NSX Edge gateway connects isolated, stub networks to shared (uplink) networks by providing common gateway services such as DHCP, VPN, NAT, dynamic routing, and Load Balancing. Common deployments of NSX Edge include in the DMZ, VPN Extranets, and multi-tenant Cloud environments where the NSX Edge creates virtual boundaries for each tenant.
So to begin, we need to deploy a NSX edge appliance. We do this by navigating to Networking & Security > NSX Edges and clicking the green +
In our last post, we deployed our logical switches and tested L2 connectivity between VMs on the same logical switch. As mentioned in that post, in order to allow communication between logical switches, we will need to deploy and configure a distributed logical router. That’s what we will be going over in this post.
First navigate to Networking & Security > NSX Edges and make sure the correct NSX manager is selected. Click the green +.
Continuing from where we left off with deploying NSX controllers and preparing our hosts for NSX, now its time to deploy a logical switch and add virtual machines to it. A logical switch can be looked at as a logical broadcast domain to which virtual machines can be connected to. The segment IDs that are associated with them can be looked at as VLAN tags for logical switches. Each logical switch will have its own segment ID or VXLAN Network Identifier (VNI) assigned to it from the segment ID pool that was created under the Host Preparation tab.
To deploy a logical switch, navigate to Networking & Security > Logical Switches and click the green + symbol.
Once you’ve deployed the NSX manager appliance and you’ve setup the registration with your vCenter, its time to deploy our controllers and being our host preparations for NSX. From the Networking & Security pane click Installation > Management. At the bottom you will see the NSX Controller nodes pane. Click the green +