VMworld 2012 presentation proposals include "Build Your Own VMware vSphere Home Lab Using Commodity Hardware" (cast your vote by June 8th)

Posted by Paul Braren on May 30 2012 (updated on May 14 2014) in
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  • Before voting closes on June 8th, please consider the sessions you'd like to see presented at VMworld 2012 this August 26th-30th in San Francisco CA:


    Also consider voting for a session I proposed called:
    Session 2358  "Build Your Own VMware vSphere Home Lab Using Commodity Hardware"

    No idea if I'll get approval to attend this year (my last time was VMworld 2008), but getting nominated to present certainly wouldn't hurt my chances.


    Session Abstract:

    Build Your Own VMware vSphere Home Lab Using Commodity Hardware.

    In this session, Paul Braren will give an overview of how he created a versatile virtualization platform using commodity hardware. For an IT Pro, having a low cost, low power-consumption, yet very fast virtualization platform for a home lab is a dream. Paul will show how he has created such a platform, called vZilla. The session will cover equipment, configuration, and live demonstration.


    Paul Braren has been With IBM since 1995, and worked with a variety of software developers and datacenter managers, traveling 30 of 50 states. Deployments including installing and configuring IBM, HP, and Dell servers with Windows, Linux, and/or VMware. Specialties include novel KVM-over-IP approaches to distance lab tests for ServerProven, and the creation of RapidFlash, an easy-to-use firmware update automation appliance.

    Paul is also a member of numerous New England VMUGs, and Virtualization Group - Boston. His personal blog tinkertry.com discusses many of the issues he conquered when building an optimal, affordable platform for always-on virtualization.

    Speaker History:

    2009 IBM System x Conference Chicago, "Run “vSphere in a box” on your laptop, to learn, demonstrate, and test vCenter, ESX4/ESXi4, VMotion, HA, and DRS" (thread here)
    2009 IBM System x Conference Chicago, "Use RapidFlash to automatically update ALL firmware in a full IBM BladeCenter chassis"
    2012 Virtualization Group - Boston, Deep Dive Day, Breakout Session, "Build Your Own VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V lab at Home, using Commodity Hardware

    Session Outline: (DRAFT/Proposal)

    With RAM becoming quite affordable for Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge motherboards, there's a lot you can accomplish with the broader hardware support ESXi 5 now offers. This hypervisor and 32GB of RAM can go a long way in configuring an extremely versatile, always-on virtualization platform for a wide variety of home projects. Admittedly, this is a self-supported solution, meaning consumer motherboards aren't on the official VMware HCL (Hardware Compatibility List). So you're on your own for official support. But if you choose known-good motherboards, and your other key components are on the HCL, you can enjoy a great experience. Think home-made family cloud, with all the key consumer-centric fixins, including USB 2.0 and 3.0 support, and affordable off-site critical data duplication.

    Having your own lab is also a wonderful way to help with self-preparation for the VCP5 exam!

    Key Takeaways: (DRAFT/Proposal)

    • Rolling your own self-supported server can be tricky, but the efforts pay off, with versatility and speed, backed by robust RAID storage that is greatly accelerated by SSD.
    • There's a lot of practical tasks you can do in the home with an efficient, always-on virtualization platform, including daily PC backups, and basic home automation and monitoring.
    • Datacenter features can also be readily practiced at home, such as UPS-triggered automated shutdown scripts, without spending a lot on enterprise class gear.