vSphere 5 AutoLab

It’s Alastair here, today I am very pleased to release the vSphere 5 AutoLab, a free tool for the VMware community.

What is the AutoLab?

The AutoLab is a quick easy way to build a vSphere environment for testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC, even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

What’s in the AutoLab?

The Autolab download contains a set of shell VMs and a lot of automation.  Once built the lab contains two ESXi servers, a Windows Domain controller, a Windows Virtual Centre, a FreeNAS storage appliance and a FreeSCO Router to link it to the outside world.

Inside the AutoLab

The download has been kept very small for easy download and distribution, it contains only free, open source, software. You will also need the installers for vSphere and Windows, you should use evaluation licenses for both vSphere (built in) and Windows.

What can I do with the AutoLab?

  • Run VMs on the lab ESXi servers, using iSCSI shared storage
  • Build an HA and DRS cluster
  • Work with vSphere Networking
  • Practice the upgrade from vSphere 4.1 to vSphere 5.0
  • Use PowerShell and the VCLI to manage the lab
  • Rebuild the whole lab quickly and with minimal effort
  • Choose how much automation you want in the lab build
  • Take the lab with you on your laptop

Will my laptop/PC be able to run the AutoLab?

If your laptop has 8GB of RAM and a recent CPU you should be able to run the lab. Here is my three year old laptop that is upgraded to 8GB of RAM running the whole lab including VMs running on the ESXi servers inside the lab.


Where can I get the AutoLab?


The AutoLab lives on LabGuides.com since it is an offshoot from the effort that Nick Marshall and I working on. Can you guess what that project is?

The Installation Instructions are in a pdf and you should take a look at those to get a better idea of what is involved.  Then there are two different downloads, both contain the same VMs but with slightly different configuration and different packaging. The download for VMware Workstation should also work with Player and Fusion.  The other contains a vApp for deployment onto ESXi 5.0. Download one  and get started by following the guide.


I hope that the AutoLab will save you a lot of time and frustration in building vSphere labs.  I will be posting on ProfessionalVMware the details of the automation that is in the AutoLab so you can reuse or modify the work.

Where can I get help with AutoLab?

We have very helpful forums at http://www.labguides.com/forums/ As always with forums make sure you search and read the sticky postst before asking questions, many questions have already been answered.

You can contact me through my other blog http://www.demitasse.co.nz/wordpress2/about/



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