I recently bought an Intel NUC 6th generation in order to build my own VMware ESXi lab. This is my first home lab and the first PC I ever built so I’m excited.
I’m building this for two reasons, one my laptop has a small SSD preventing me from having a bunch of VMs. Second, I’m attempting to get a CCNP certification and I’d like do setup a virtual lab for that.
Bill of materials
I decided to go for the i5 simply because the i7 design wouldn’t allow me to have a HD, while the one I got has space and a connection for a SATA disk.
- Intel NUC 6th i5 – 390 U$
- Seagate 2TB HDD SATA III (ST2000LM003) – 96 U$
- G.SKILL 32GB DDR42133MHz – 130 U$
- SamSung 256 GB M.2 SSD
I also had to buy a keyboard to complete ESXI installation. I bought the NUC with the 256 SSD included on Ebay for 390. The total price was 616 U$ which makes me pretty glad for an I5 machine with plenty of storage and fast SSD if needed.
Assembly was straightforward and I used this video as reference.
Installation is simple and consists of 4 steps:
- Downloading ESXi iso
- Creating bootable ESXi usb drive from image using RUFUS
- Installing and configuring ESXi
- Installing GNS3 from OVA
I will come back here and put a link to download the ESXi iso, basically vmware can provide you this.
Configuring ESXi could be tricky, but don’t pay attention to details, simply enable ssh and set a static IP address and you should be fine. Next you can download a Vsphere client from the ESXi machine. And you can also use the web browser.
I couldn’t create a VM from the OVA using the web client, so I recommend you to use the vsphere client.
If you need a step-by-step guide. I recommend you to check this youtube guide on how to install ESXI 6.0
In my next blog, I’ll post my experiences with GNS3.
ps: I wish I had installed ESXi with an SD card, just because I think it’s cool. I also wish you could deploy a VM from an OVA in the ESXi storage because that would make it much faster.
I’m also a little pissed because VIRL requires an 200$ license. I haven’t tested it yet but I have the feeling that for learning purposes INE would be much more cost effective, and I doubt VIRL will provide a seamless experience.
Thanks for reading. 🙂