After completing the MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator certification and almost completing the Citrix Certified Administrator (Almost there, July 8th scheduled for exam). I will begin reviewing and preparing for the VCAP5-DCA, VCP5-DT, XenDesktop, and maybe if time permits the new MCSE 2012 track.
For this, I wanted to prepare my lab accordingly. Now, for the MCSE, my lab is good enough to lab all the Windows exams and and more. However for View and XenDeskop, I need a bit more then what I currently have. I was recently reading an article that Chris Wahl posted on the Management Cluster for the vSphere Home Lab. Honestly, I think it makes a lot of sense and if you have the hardware why not? So being that I recently build two white boxes as my ESXi hosts and the fact that I had an N40L (which is what Chris is using for his Management Cluster ESXi host) I figured why not do the same.
My only issue however, is that previously, the N40L was my Storage server running FreeNAS 8.3. So what I ended up doing, was removing FreeNAS and installing ESXi on the N40L, then installing my management domain controller, vCenter Appliance, and FreeNAS on to a VM. All the hard drives that I had previously, remained in that host. The issue that I am having is with the performance of my storage, as you can see below
One of the things I tried when I first deployed FreeNAS within a VM is to install VMware tools and switch to VMXNET3 adapter, however because the N40L is not a very powerful server and the fact that I have other heavy VM’s like vCenter running on it, FreeNAS starts to suffer which in turn makes all my lab suffer.
After doing some research and checking out other blogger’s home lab’s, it seemed like the Synology is a popular choice! With that said, I went ahead and ordered the Synology DS412+. It’s a little pricey, roughly around $700 CAD but I was able to find a good deal with tax and shipping included for a total of $680 CAD. So why did I decide to go with this specific NAS? Well there are a couple of reason:
- Support for VAAI
- Support for NFS (aside from iSCSI)
- Link Aggregation
- USB 3.0
I could of went with cheaper NAS like the DS 411slim, but when comparing the features, I opted for the DS412+, I didn’t want to go cheap on storage as it is probably the most important part of my home lab, after all you’re only as strong as your weakest link and if my storage is weak, it brings down my whole lab!
Once I receive the NAS, I will create another post and my configuration.