Go SDDC Lab is my personal home lab, it has evolved over the last 9 years to its current “streamlined” form.

As a strong believer of nested virtualization (I was amongst the firsts outside VMware to successfully run nested ESX hosts on VMware Workstation back in 2007) I wanted to keep everything running using a “layered” approach.

The lab currently consists of two hosts, a small one called “minion” and a large compute host called “monster”. Minion is a Mac Mini 6,1 with a single dual-core i5 running at 2.50Ghz and 16GB of RAM, the Mini hosts both a regular 500GB SATA drive and a Samsung EVO2 120GB SSD that is being used with vFlash Read Cache.

The mini minion

Monster is a Dell R910 with four eight-core Nehalem-EX CPUs running at 1.86GHz and boasting 256GB of RAM, the host doesn’t currently have any internal storage and I’m looking for sponsors to add a PCI-E flash device to it to test new use cases.


I keep a layered design on monster, Layer 1 runs directly on top of ESXi 5.5 installed on Monster and holds the complete VMware vCloud Suite, then a specific resource pool holds all the hypervisors that provide Layer 2 (a mix of released and beta ESXi, KVM hosts and even Hyper-V) that are used to provide a “sandbox” for tests and such.

Hypervisor layers

Storage wise, the VMs are sitting on a NetApp FAS2020 with 12x 15K 300GB disks, enough to sustain decent performance during deployments, I’m currently looking for a replacement for this piece of equipment as I want to have an array that supports VAAI.

My little NetApp

On the network side, the virtualization lab is served by a trusty HP1800-24G that switches packets for the core gigabit network, there’s also a physical Cisco lab that is currently not interconnected to the virtualization part, in the future I plan to utilize the Cisco gear to simulate an MPLS WAN to separate sites all running on monster.

Cisco racky rack

The connection to the outside world is served by a Cisco 2811 with three different WAN connections (two ADSL2+ and a backup 3G network) that also doubles as SSLVPN endpoint and a BlueCoat PacketShaper 3500 that performs QoS on the WAN.

And, being a screen estate lover, this is my work desk, also dubbed, the “control room”

Ground control to Major Tom

The iPad on the top right is showing network stats coming from the PacketShaper and the Cisco Router using Panic’s StatusBoard and my statusboard-net-companions.