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How to build a VMware vSphere Data Center in a home lab

Building a VMware vSphere Data Center in a home lab? Read on!

One of the first topics that usually is covered even before thinking about the physical infrastructures working in the background is about how to build a Data Center. Surely the different resources and layers available are making this exercise even more interesting than challenging.

Building “Applications and Enterprise Services” continually available reducing costs and increasing scalability in the long term by leveraging commodity hardware. This is a theme where Converged and Hyper Converged Infrastructure providers have built a solid foundation for the future generations of Data Centers.

Global Cloud service providers like Google, Facebook, Amazon and many others know the importance of Web Scale solutions capable of increasing and extending their infrastructures based on commodity hardware upon request. A reusable model that also meets wide standards.

Another big element that is part of the equation and almost hides itself to a point where it is making the access to the IT Infrastructure “invisible”: the software-defined approach.

It’s only in recent history where these technology providers have adopted the methodology with a Software Defined approach. This is true for Storage and Networking layers at first that obviously represent important factors together with the Computing resources. Since the inception of the Software Defined approach it has been a remarkable success to the present day. Indeed a Data Center evolution.

When it comes down to reproducing real scenarios into your home lab for building and testing a VMware vSphere Data Center it is not making any difference. Actually home labs can definitely be a nice sandbox environment to learn and rehearsal what is our primary purpose. I agree that generally speaking the resources in a home lab are not even comparable to an Enterprise Data Center. The latter for sure doesn’t seem to submit the budget to WAF (Wife Approval Factor)!

We still get to play and learn more about the Software Defined solutions making our home lab the most resilient Data Center we can afford 🙂

With this in mind the creation of a VMware vSphere Data Center is very easy.  From a VMware perspective a Virtual Data Center is a container for the inventory objects required to complete a fully functional environment for operating virtual machines. It is possible to create multiple Virtual Data Centers based on Org Departments, Geo Locations, highly performing and highly available environments.


Build a VMware vSphere Data Center in your home lab

In the previous articles we have seen how to build a home lab based on Intel NUC and how to deploy VMware vCenter to operate multiple vSphere Hosts. Next is to select the Container where to create the new Data Center  using the Action menu as shown in the screenshot below.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center add

Let’s select a representative name for the Data Center object.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center name

Once created we are now ready to add the available physical Hosts to our Data Center. A right click and from the contextual menu choose Add Host. As per screenshot below we need to specify the user with “management rights” to that particular physical Host.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center add host

Let’s accept the Certificate message.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center host connection settings

Let’s review the information provided. Also ti is important to make sure both FQDN DNS resolution is working. Although it is possible to add new Hosts by IP Address other vCenter services will use FQDN names to resolve hosts.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center host summary

Let’s assign a valid key.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center assign license

We can also specify where VMs will be stored according to the inventory structure.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center VM location

And a final review of the settings before committing.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center wizard summary

Once we have repeated these steps for all available physical Hosts it is possible to manage them from a single console.

domalab.com VMware vSphere Data Center

One important configuration topic in a Data Center is Networking. In a separate article we’ll cover the available options addressing best practices for network redundancy and high performances.


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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