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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
Following on from my recent VMworld Europe user award I have mentioned that I’ve been working on a scaled out version of the vTARDIS, this post will act as the index for this project, there is a lot of ground to cover in terms of it’s configuration.
|Disclosure/Disclaimer – I am a VMware employee, this project is not an official VMware effort, project, fling or even a thing – it’s my private-time work, documented for the community
Very little of this is an officially supported configuration, particularly the use of nested ESX – to re-iterate, this is not a VMware supported, recommended or blessed configuration – but it works well enough for my own needs – your mileage may vary and no warranty is granted, expressly or otherwise.
This is not a solution for production use, it’s suitable for lab/study work and actual performance is limited by the laws of physics
If you run into difficulties with any of this please feel free to drop me a line via the comments section of this post, however I do have a full-time day job at VMware, I’ll help where I am able.
What is vTARDIS? – see this post for details of the original vTARDIS project
What is vTARDIS.cloud?
A small, low cost physical infrastructure which is capable of supporting several multi-node ESX clusters. It provides an infrastructure representative of enterprise-grade vSphere/vCD deployments through heavy over-subscription of physical hardware as well as providing “production” home services like media streaming, data storage, DNS, DHCP etc.
My original home lab has been scaled out to support my new position at VMware and my VCDX/VCAP studies, a core part of my work is VMware vCloud Director (herein refered to as vCD) so my lab reflects that. Additionally my wife is trying to continue her IT studies, so it’s helpful to have a self-service portal for building out virtual machines for learning.
You very rarely have a large number of ESX hosts and shared storage to experiment with, testing scripts, rebuilding hosts, changing configurations. This provides a representation of a large vSphere/vCD deployment so you can carry out such work to support studies, or pre-production work.
What does it look like? – photo
The vTARDIS.cloud lives in my geek-cabin which is my home office (more info on that here) and now takes up most of a full rack.
What does it look like? – High-level architecture
the following diagram illustrates the layout of the vTARDIS.cloud
The key configurations and components of the design which I will post further details on are as follows (+more to follow);
How much did you spend?
I cannot say, as my wife will probably kill me I’ve acquired most of the hardware over the years or from eBay/factory outlet stores so it’s been a gradual expansion rather than an upfront cost. But still, it’s all been out of my own pocket – there are no sponsors or generous donations of kit (if you are reading this and would like to donate some equipment, read the disclaimer at the start and if you’d still like to talk drop me a line)
|Item||Approx Cost (£GBP)||Status|
|Cisco 3500 XL 100mb switch (48 ports)||£100 (eBay)||in-use, VLAN-trunks from ESX hosts and office workstations connectivity|
|Netgear GS487T 48 port gigabit switch||£100 (eBay)||Spares (decent switch but too noisy for use in office)|
|Linksys SLM2008 8 port gigabit switch||£90 (Amazon)||vMotion/vStorage networks|
|Iomega IX4-200d 8Tb NAS in RAID5 configuration||£1,000 (online, ouch!)||in-use, critical, like it a lot but v.expensive|
|Multiple USB2 drives 500Gb-1Tb||varies||in-use plugged into IX4 for backup|
|2 x HP ML110G4 Intel Xeon, 8Gb||£200 each||in-use (management cluster)
special online deals, now defunct
|3 x HP ML115 G5 AMD Quad Core, 8Gb RAM, dual port GbE Intel NIC||£2-300 for each serverwith RAM (varying deals)
80-100 for 8Gb RAM
40 for dual port Intel GbE NIC (job-lot on eBay)
|in-use (resource cluster)
now EoL – hopefully they won’t die!
|42U Rack (no-brand)||free||holding up servers|
|1 x HP D530 SFF Desktop PC, 4Gb RAM, 500Gb SATA||£90 (eBay)||in-reserve, was ESX 3.5 host (non x64 CPU)|
|HP TFT 15” rack mount monitor||free from skip at customer||in-use|
|HP 4 port PS/2 KVM||free from skip at customer||in-use|
|128Gb Kingston SSD||£200 (Amazon)||UberVSA virtual SAN storage (was in original vTARDIS project; since cannibalised)|
|64Gb Transcend SSD||£100 (Amazon – a while ago)||UberVSA virtual SAN storage|
|Compaq ML570 G1, quad Xeon CPU, 12Gb RAM, external disk array multiple 18Gb SCSI disks, SmartArray||£400 eBay (4 or 5 years ago)||retired, non-x64 and too power hungry (was power-sucken-cluster)
[open to offers!]
|Compaq DL360 G1, single Xeon CPU, 4Gb RAM, 2 x 18Gb HDD||£500 eBay (a long time ago)||retired, non-x64 and too power hungry (was power-sucken-cluster)
[open to offers!]
|Compaq DL320 G1 – unknown spec||free, from customer refresh a long time ago||retired and faulty, spider refuge|
|Sun Netra||free from a customer refresh a long time ago||retired, was old firewall, spider refuge|
|Compaq 2 drive DLT tape-loader||free from a customer refresh a long time ago||retired, and probably faulty by now, spider refuge|
How much does it cost to run?
This uses approx 600w of power 24/7 – it’s not that cheap here in the UK, I estimate about £6-700 per year, DPM certainly helps to reduce the power consumption of the resource cluster when it’s less-busy, although as a side-benefit the vTARDIS acts as passive heating for my garden office during the winter, that’s “green”, right?