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White boxes and home labs – Community Podcast #79

We haven't posted a post with podcast notes in quite a while, but we're still going strong. If you aren't familiar with our curious tradition, every Wednesday at noon California time a gang of motley VMware admins, gurus, newbies, troublemakers, jokers, kibitzers, and seekers of knowledge gather around a virtual campfire and record a podcast. All are welcome, and a good time is had by all. You can listen to the podcast via the widget on the right, the mp3, or via iTunes. If you ask those in the know, however, they'll tell you that showing up live is much more fun, because the chat is usually going strong before, during, and after the show. We get about 30-50 people live every week, and if you dial in (via POTS or VOIP) you can ask a question or give a comment at any time, because we try to keep everybody unmuted. It's the closest thing you'll get to a VMUG or VMworld without leaving your desk. Follow @jtroyer on Twitter to catch the topic earlier in the week.

The VMware Community Roundtable podcast is up to episode #79, and our topic this week was white boxes and home labs. I get that question a lot for people who want to prep for their VCP (and it's even come up for VCDX, but if you're thinking about getting a VCDX you'd better be able to McGyver a home VMware lab with a toaster, an IBM PC XT, and an iPod).

The topic of building a home lab is an interesting one to me right now for two reasons: first of all, you can now build a complete setup running vSphere and virtual storage appliances right on VMware Workstation. All you need is some reasonably modern hardware and you can set up ESX and VMs, turn knobs, and explore most features of vSphere, all virtually. But if you do want to be touching the hardware, you can still be buying surplus off eBay, but the latest generations of modern servers and storage are affordable, performant, quiet(er), and thrifty with power. It might be worth your while to investigate some new hardware and sell that wind turbine to somebody else.

Links we discussed, with source material compiled by our own Duncan Epping over at Yellow Bricks:

As I said in the podcast, this is a topic of high interest and the specifics matter, so if you want to post any details about your own lab or white boxes, just let me know (jtroyer@vmware.com or the comments) and I'll add the links here.