Feeds

Home lab operators: Ditch your servers ... now!

Brit vTardis creator hails the combination of Core i7 laptop and Windows 8's virty power

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

At last year's Melbourne VMware user group (VMUG) conference, VMware's Mike Laverick opined that IT pros need a home lab these days, because bosses have stopped shelling out for training.

Plenty of you agreed with that proposition. Some even showed us their very own home labs.

Most used old servers, an arrangement that this year's Melbourne VMUG conference heard is a redundant approach.

The source of that pronouncement? None other than Simon Gallagher, a member of the London VMUG steering committee, former VMware staffer and – most importantly for this article – creator of the vTardis home lab. Gallagher describes vTardis as follows:

“A small, low cost physical infrastructure (or single server) which is capable of supporting several multi-node ESX clusters. It provides an infrastructure representative of enterprise-grade vSphere/vCD deployment through heavy over-subscription of physical hardware as well as providing 'production' home services like media streaming, data storage, DNS, DHCP etc.”

vTardis has been around since 2010, with some variants able to run on laptops. But in Melbourne Gallagher said he's been able to ditch servers altogether, thanks to the combination of a Core i7 processor and … Windows 8?

The Core i7 resides within a Lenovo W530, a laptop Gallagher says is up to the job of running a home lab because it can handle 32GB of RAM. With a 512GB solid state disk and VMware Workstation 10 aboard, he says he has no trouble running up to ten ESX instances, complete with nested virtual machines.

Gallagher says lesser laptops will struggle to pull off that trick, and noted that the Core i7 3720QM he's using offers Intel's implementation of second level address translation (SLAT), Extended Page Tables, as this technology makes it easier for virtual machines to use memory (AMD's equivalent is called Rapid Virtualization Indexing). Not all Intel or AMD CPUs offer SLAT and Gallagher's messages was don't try this stuff at home without it.

If you do own such a machine, Gallagher said all the hassle of server-powered power bills can go away forever, as can the need for a man-cave like his own Geek Cabin in which to house the lab.

One problem Gallagher did identify for those who would like their own vTardis is software licensing. VMWare offers 60-day evaluation software, but rebuilding a lab every 60 days is painful. The free version of ESXi lasts forever, but is missing some handy features like vCenter, vMotion and clustering. Now that Microsoft has more-or-less killed TechNet , similar problems await those contemplating a Hyper-V home lab.

Let's not finish on that sad note. Instead, let us know if your home lab has been collapsed into a laptop. Let's also ponder what could be possible at home with the likes of Eurocom's Xeon-powered, 12-core, 24-thread laptop. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.