Monthly Archives: November 2014

Building My Home Lab Part 2 – Networking

This will be a series of posts in which I describe how I have put together my Home Lab ESXi server.

Previous Parts:
Part 1 – Storage

NETWORKING

4x NICs in the server allow the creation of multiple, isolated networks via VLANs. One of the two integrated NICs provides vPro access. This NIC will not be available for use with ESXi as no driver is provided. See my earlier post on how it can be enabled.

Network Setup Overview:

  • The Cisco switch is set to L3 mode, enabling VLAN routing. An IP address is assigned to the switch on the physical network.
  • A VLAN is created and set as tagged on the port connected to the server.
  • An IP interface is created on the switch for the VLAN.
  • A static route and rules are configured on the physical router to allow the VM network to connect to the internet.
    UPDATE 20/11/14: I have changed this by setting up the third network interface on the router with the same VLAN created on the switch. The port this interface is connected to will act as a trunk port, allowing me to choose which VLANs will have access to the internet. This also allows the ability for the router to provide a DHCP server for the VLAN.
  • A static route is created on my workstation to the VM network. This allows my PC to access the VM network via the Cisco switch rather than the router. This is preferred as the network ports on my router are only 100Mbit and this traffic doesn’t need to go via the router anyway.

Cisco SG300 Configuration

Login to the web interface of the switch

Enable L3 Mode:

  1. Go to Administration – System Settings and set the System Mode to L3. This reboots the switch and resets it to factory defaults, so don’t bother setting anything else up first!

Create a VLAN and assign it to a port:

  1. Go to VLAN Management – VLAN Settings. Click Add. Enter a VLAN ID and a name, then click Apply.
  2. Click on Port to VLAN. Select the VLAN ID and click Go.
  3. Select Tagged for the port which is connected to the server and click Apply.

Create an IP interface for the VLAN:

  1. Go to IP Configuration – IPv4 Interface
  2. Click Add.
  3. Select the VLAN ID and Static IP Address.
  4. Enter the IP address and subnet mask for the interface, then click Apply.

Workstation Configuration (Windows)

Add a static route to the VM Network:

  1. Open command prompt as administrator.
  2. Enter: route -p add <VM Network> mask <VM Network Mask> <Cisco Switch IP Address>
    The -p switch makes the route permanent, otherwise it is removed on reboot.

ESXi network setup will be covered in a later post.

Up next – Installing ESXi.

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Building My Home Lab Part 1 – Storage

This will be a series of posts in which I describe how I have put together my Home Lab ESXi server.

STORAGE

Requirements:
Hosted within the ESXi server, a virtual storage solution.
Fast performance.

Hardware added to the server since the last post:

  • ICY DOCK MB994SP-4S – This can hold 4 2.5in drives inside a 5.25in enclosure.
  • 1x 120GB Corsair SSD drive – This will hold the ESXi OS as well has the NexentaStor VM
  • Dell PERC H200 HBA – Reflashed to IT mode (explained here). The HBA is connected to the dock via a Mini-SAS SFF 8087 to 4x SATA cable.
  • 4x 250GB Intel SSD drives – The storage drives, inserted into the dock.

As the motherboard supports Intel VT-d, the HBA can be passed through to the Nexenta VM, giving it direct hardware access to the SSD drives.

The setup of this will be covered when we get to setting up ESXi and the Nexenta VM.

Up next – Networking.