VMware Home Lab

Recently I found myself in the need of an updated home lab. My current ESX server was reaching its limits on both memory and CPU power. I didn’t really feed the need for 10Gbe connections (since I won’t be testing any vSan or other high bandwidth stuff) so I went for the small, powerfull but energy efficient Intel NUC.

It took me a while to go through all the models to find the one that was a fit for me, but eventually I decided to go for 2 NUC’s of the type NUC8i7BEH. The only downside is that these NUC’s come with only 1 RJ-45 port… .

So I did some more digging and found William Lam’s great blog called virtuallyghetto. He did some research and even some custom compiling for certain drivers for USB3.0 ethernet adapters. Appearantly, VMware released a fling containing drivers for the most used chipsets in USB3.0 adapters (and even thunderbolt adapters). The fling can be found here.

So after that, the choice was made. I compiled my NUC kitlist:

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7BEH22
Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB M.2 2
Crucial 16 GB SODIMM DDR4-2400 1 x 16 GB 4
Belkin USB 3.1 Type C to Ethernet Adapter 2
SANDISK USB-stick 3.1 Ultra Fit 64 GB 2

Its not the most powerfull homelab you will encounter, But it’s good enough for me. I ordered the NUC’s with 32GB of RAM, what should theoretically be their max. Unfortunately, I only encountered blog posts mentioning that 64GB is working AFTER I placed my order. Guess I still have some room for an upgrade huh… .

The EVO SSD’s are the local datastored (plugged into the NUC their M.2 slot. The Scandisks are tiny USB sticks that I will use to boot the ESXi from. I’ll post some more stuff later on about the build.

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