Macbook Pro vSphere Lab Part I


As I prep for the new position at Teracai, I am up setting up a mobile vSphere lab environment to bring with me to client sites, when needed.  I’ve learned that showing customers the actual software, interface, capabilities..etc is better or expands on your presentation.  I really think EMC got this right.  They devoted an entire infrastructure to Demo their products.  To be in a pre-sales technical position going into a customer site with that capability really has it’s advantages.

Since I’ll be dealing with Cisco, VMware, and Dell products exclusively, I want to gear this lab as much as possible towards showing some of those technologies real time and not just pictures on a powerpoint slide.  This, along with some recorded content that your customers can access can really give them an idea of the product and it’s capabilities.

I’m going to attempt to cover this in a three part blog post.

In Part one of this series I’ll cover the hardware that I chose to get this going.

I’ll be completely honest here, I love Mac.  My wife bought me a Macbook Pro for Christmas last year and for some stupid reason I ended up selling it..and for the past couple months it’s been missed.  Also, we are starting to make the move towards becoming an Apple household.  The whole family has iPhones and iPads and since iCloud is on every device now, it only makes sense to move to Mac.  My wife and teenage daughter are really about Social Media, Music, Photos, Internet Browsing, and Office Productivity.  Mac OS X Lion with Office for Mac fits the bill nicely.  We can have our content protected and synced via iCloud which works out great especially moving from device to device.

Of course there are some downsides to going Mac as well and that is some of the applications just aren’t built for Mac.  I use Visio extensively and it’s a requirement for me to have it.  I realize that there is Omnigraffle but I just can’t get used to using that along with the lack of stencils.

On top of the above requirements, I also needed a decent vSphere lab.  This lab needed to perform decently, the last thing I wanted to do was bring a vSphere lab to a client site and have them think it was slow as all hell.  I need the ability to run at least 2 vESXi hosts, vCenter Server, a couple of VM’s and possibly down the road View or vCloud Director/vShield.  I’m not really counting on the later as CPU and memory, mostly memory will be my constraint in that use case.

Based on the information above, and since the new Macbooks just were released, I was able to snag a 2011 w/Apple Care and Speck case for a killer price.

I also ordered:

1. 16GB DDR3 Corsair Value Select (2 x 8GB)

2. 256GB Samsung 830 (Already have a Gskill SSD for OS drive)

3. SuperDrive Harddrive Caddy replacement

4. VMware Fusion 4

In Part two of this project,  when the hardware arrives, I will update the post with PICs and go through installation of all these components, to include the Macbook Lion install process to the OS SSD, memory upgrade, caddy with SSD installation, and VMware Fusion installation and then we’ll move on to Part three and setup the lab.

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