VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 1 – Inventory Assessment

I have been working with several customers and partners who are exploring the features and capabilities of VMware NSX.  I generally direct people who are interested in getting some “Hands-on” experience with the product to VMware Hands-on-Lab Online. Today there are four labs available today.

  • HOL-SDC-1401 – Cloud Management with vRealize Operations
  • HOL-SDC-1403 – VMware NSX Introduction
  • HOL-SDC-1424 – VMware NSX in the SDDC
  • HOL-SDC-1425 – VMware NSX Advanced

Until recently I used VMware Hands-on-Lab Online to perform Live Demos for customers. In fact, the last time that I have used VMware Hands-on-Lab Online, my lab environment was deployed in under 26 seconds – now that is impressive!  The only challenge I have had with VMware Hands-on-Lab Online is the Time Limit.  Although the time allowed is generous, allowing up to 9 hours for the VMware NSX Introduction, there are occasions where I don’t want time to be a constraint.  As an example, I had recently scheduled a Live Demo with a customer.  The morning of the demo I enrolled in the VMware NSX Introduction HOL and prepared the environment for the demo.  At the last minute, my customer rescheduled the Live Demo for the next day.  As a result I had to re-enroll the next morning and prepare the lab environment a second time to perform the Live Demo.

In Q4-2014 I expect to be conducting significantly more live demonstrations, warranting the need for a dedicated NSX lab environment.  My goal is to have a fully functional hardware environment that closely resembles VMware Hands-on Lab Online.

After conducting an inventory of the VMware Hands-on Lab Online for the NSX I began to appreciate the tremendous amount effort and resources used to build the environment.  The environment includes (5) ESXi hosts! By my calculations a staggering 14 vCPUs and 34GB of memory are the minimum resources required to support the environment. Here is the break down:

  • (1) Compute Cluster A – (2) ESXi Hosts with 2 vCPUs and 4GB of memory each.  These are esxcomp-01a and esxcomp-02a.
  • (1) Compute Cluster B – (1) ESXi Hosts with 2 vCPUs and 4GB of memory. This is esxcomp-01b.
  • (1) Mgmt Cluster – (2) ESXi Hosts with 2 vCPUs and 6GB of memory each. These are esx-01a and esx02a.
  • (1) vCenter Virtual Appliance – 2 vCPUs and 6GB of memory.  This is vc-l-01a.
  • (1) NSX Manager – 2 vCPUs and 4GB of memory.  This is nsxmgr-l-01a.
  • Total vCPU and memory: 14 vCPUs and 34GB of memory.

In addition to these resources there are other infrastructure virtual machines that are not exposed to the participant.  These include:

  • (1) Jump Windows 2012 R2 Standard Server virtual machine with 1 vCPU and 2GB of memory. [Note: This is the system used to perform the labs]  This is ControlCenter.
  • (1) NFS Storage Appliance with 1 vCPU and 1GB of memory.  This is 10.10.20.60 and 10.20.20.60.
  • (1) Bridge virtual machine with 1 vCPU and 512MB of memory.  This is VM-VLAN-18.

Note: I did not include the infrastructure virtual machines in the Total vCPU and memory.  I plan on replacing these virtual machines with physical hardware.

Finally, we have the virtual machines that are “nested” on the ESXi hosts within the environment.  These include:

  • (6) SUSE Linux 11 (64-bit) Web Server virtual machines with 1 vCPU and 512MB of memory each.  These include: app-sv-01a, db-sv-01a, web-sv-01a, web-sv-02a, web-sv-03a, and web-sv-04a.
  • (1) Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (64-bit) IIS Web Server virtual machine with 1 vCPU and 512MB of memory.  This is iis-w-01a.
  • (1) Router virtual machine with 1 vCPU and 512MB of memory. This is Router.
  • (1) Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit) with 1vCPU and 2GB of memory.  This is sec-mgr-01a.

The Total vCPU and memory requirements will make it difficult to nest the VMware NSX Lab Environment on a single computer.  In my next post I will document the physical equipment used in my Lab Environment.

Continue reading the VMware NSX Lab Environment series:

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3 Responses to VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 1 – Inventory Assessment

  1. Pingback: VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 2 – Compute Hardware | NSX Insight

  2. Pingback: VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 3 – Storage Hardware | NSX Insight

  3. Pingback: VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 4 – Networking Hardware | NSX Insight

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