VCDX Brown Bag Lab Architecture!

For those of you following along with or VCDX Brown Bag series, we figured you might be interested in the “Lab” architecture used during our discussions. This is in the hopes that y’all will benefit from it, suggest improvements, etc.

The Hardware:

Surprisingly there isn’t much to it in this case. The lab is running on a Dell D630, with 4GB ram, and a second hard disk caddy for VMFS storage. This box is running vSphere ESXi 4 with the free license.

Because we’re using ESXi as the base platform, it means the rest of the setup is contained within virtual machines. Quite a few virtual machines actually.

The VMs:

There are quite a few of these to be spun up or down as needed for different brown bags. As our focus right now is on the Enterprise Admin Exam, there wont be much in the way of traditional guest work loads. Here is a breakdown starting with the storage and working up from there:


We have two in this case:
– EMC Celera VSA
– Openfiler

Why two? Well, the EMC Celera is a bit heavier than Openfiler in terms of ram use, but provides a more realistic environment to configure our storage.


In this case as the current release of the Enterprise Admin exam is focused on VI3 and ESX 3.5, we have (depending on the focus of the Brown Bag) one or two ESX 3.5 VMs configured as follows:

1x vCPU
2 GB Ram
15 GB Disk

This is on top of the physical vSphere setup mentioned above.

Virtual Center:

This is another VM that will be spun up and down as the lab and focus of the Brown Bags dictates. It is here to facilitate the things only vCenter can, and is configured as follows:

OS: Windows Server 2003 Std x86
1x vCPU
1 GB Ram
20 GB Disk


This is just the start of the VCDX Brown Bag lab. As the lab moves, changes, expands, this post (or a follow-up) will be updated. Have any suggestions? Drop a line in the comments!

3 thoughts on “VCDX Brown Bag Lab Architecture!

  • In my opinion, the Celerra VSA is great for learning the Celerra Manager interface, but running nested VMs on it has not been good performance wise. Adding storage beyond what it comes with is also not real straight forward. Sorry EMC, but this opinion should be of little consequence since the VSA isn't for production use anyway.

    In my experience, Openfiler VSA has performed better and adding storage is a cinch.

  • I prefer HP’s VSA. I run the full featured laptop version in 384MB memory in Workstation on my laptop.


Comments are closed.