Home Lab

Configuring Openfiler

In our last post on Home Lab  we understand how to set up the lab infrastructure by creating multiple virtual machines and how to install various services on top of these virtual machines.

I spent some time post installation on configuring the Openfiler and captured some screenshots.

1) Log in to the url we captured post installation of Openfiler using the username as openfiler and password as password.

2 ) Understanding the GUI of Openfiler

 3) Configure Network Access and update the changes

) Creating a Partition

5 ) Enabling the iSCSI Target

Refer Openfiler Administration guide for more information.


I know most of us have been dealing with building our home lab and playing with VM's in our lab environment.

Talking about me personally i have been doing the same stuff for quite a long time now using VMware Workstation (one of the possible solution we have when it comes to home lab).

I am going to create home lab infrastructure however this time it's not gonna be on workstation but on Physical box.I know getting a physical box is not that cost effective solution for home lab kinda environments. Maybe i am blessed to have such a nice manager.

At the end of the day what matters is what sort of workloads we wanna run, are we only thinking about 4 -5 VM's hosting ESXi,Vcenter and couple of other services.Or maybe we are thinking to take our home lab infra at all new level.

So what do we got?

HP Proliant DL180 G6
CPU- 8CPU * 2.4 GHz
Intel Xeon (R) CPU
Sockets= 2
Cores per socket= 4
Hyper threading Enabled
Logical Processors 16 

How Many VM's are Required?

To Start with the basic's we need below VM's to work with as part of our home lab infra maybe later based on the tasks we are planning to do we can add few more VM's.

1)Domain Controller
2) ESXi1
3) ESXi2
4) Storage
5) vCenter
6) Dekstop (Optional)

Again when it comes to ESXi numbers its really upto us how many we need i added two keeping in mind few basic scenarios vMotion or maybe for testing HA functionality.

* I mentioned desktop aka control center from where we are going to manage our vSphere environment as an optional component because we can also use the same domain controller machine to accomplish this task.

Will Proceed further with the installation of above VM's one by one, starting with the installation of Domain Controller.

Create a Domain Controller Virtual Machine 

Step 1: Allocate CPU and memory resources i have not allocated much resources to this VM (1vCPU and 2 GB RAM) if you want you can do so. 

If your doing this lab on your workstation environment choose the option of creating a new VM from your workstation.

If you are doing on physical box, make sure you have already installed ESXi on top of it and you are able to connect to your ESXi directly from vSphere Client. (Will also see the installation of ESXi once we are done with the installation of Domain controller).

Step 2: Mount the ISO ( i used win2k3, we can also go for win2008, 2008R2)

Step 3: Power on your VM and proceed further with the installation of guest os.

Step 4: Once the guest operating system is successfully installed open command prompt and run dcpromo command and proceed further with the installation steps as show below.

We have now successfully installed the first machine as per flow, don't forget to allocate ip address to this VM.

Create another Virtual Machine to run ESXi

Beware that running ESXi on a Virtual machine (Nested) is dedicatedly for solving the purpose of home lab and not suitable for production environments.

While creating virtual machine for ESXi i allocated (4 sockets*4Cores with HT enabled) in total i got 16 logical CPU, Memory 6 GB, you can lower down the number of CPU based on the underlying resources you have. (Maybe you can go with 2 logical CPU) but this logical cpu will have a direct relation with the amount of vCPU that you can assign to a virtual machine. 

With above example i used in my environment i can go till 16vCPU for a single VM and later part you can go with  2vCPU to a single VM.

When it comes to installing ESXi host there are few steps that we need to follow below are the screenshots for the same.

Once the ESXi is installed will be Configuring ESXi through DCUI (Direct console user interface).

Once ESXi is installed and we have provided the DNS and IP details it's time when we have to go back to our domain controller and make an entry of this ESXi in forward look up zone to ensure the FQDN is resolvable and both DC and ESXi can communicate.

After successful addition of new host in domain controller we need to verify if testing the management network from DCUI pass.

Likewise we have installed one ESXi and configured it you can go ahead and create as many as VM's you need to host your ESXi. ( I used Name as ESXi4 because i created 4 ESXi's)

Create Virtual Machine for Storage

Most of the activities we will be performing post our infrastructure is ready needs shared storage, so i created a VM and allocated few CPU and Memory resources and good amount of disk size and mounted Openfiler ISO on Virtual machine.

Openfiler provides a simple way to deploy and manage networked storage.  Installing Openfiler results in a powerful networked storage solution that exports your data via a full suite of industry standard storage networking protocols. Openfiler lowers deployment and maintenance costs for networked storage without compromising functionality or performance. 

Once the installation is complete follow the URL to open GUI of Openfiler.

* Ensure whatever network details are provided is reachable from your domain controller and also we need to make a note of the hostname we have assigned to the storage. As we have to add the hostname in our domain controller forward look up zone.

Create Another Virtual Machine for vCenter Server

Now will proceed further with the installation of vCenter Server, i have installed vCenter server on windows server 2008 R2, you can also install vCenter as an appliance, don't forget to have a look on installation prerequisites.

So finally we have created virtual machine and installed various services as required will continue with another post to proceed further with the configuration these machines.