Building a Home IT Laboratory

Written by Denis Stadler on . Posted in Tech

At the beginning of November I decided to buy a HP ML 110 G6 Server, in order to build an entire virtual infrastructure on it. So, I ordered it from Amazon Germany (the same product was at least 200 Euros more expensive in Finland) and I received it on the 20th of November. The HP ML 110 G6 server has the following characteristics: 1 Intel Xeon 3430 Processor, 250 GB HDD SATA 7200rpm, replaced the standard memory of 1 GB with 2 kits 2*4 GB form Kingston which gives me a total memory of 16 GB.

Now the next challenge was to decide between installing Windows Server 2008 R2 as OS and add Hyper V as a role on it or using a raw hypervisor (Hyper V or ESXi). I have decided to go for the raw hypervisor mainly because I want to use in a very efficient way all the resources available. The next milestone was licensing. Hyper V as hypervisor is free (anyway I have the Technet NFR subscription as Microsoft Certified Trainer benefit) but I didn’t know anything about ESXi a.k.a Download VMware vSphere. After some researching I found out that it can be downloaded from VMware, so the license was not a problem anymore.

Now the next question: which to use? Considering that I didn’t have much experience with ESXi and the fact that it can be used to create Virtual Machines which run other OS the Windows (here Hyper V has some limitations) I have chosen ESXi.

In a business Environment things may be different. There is the Licensing Question which generates a lot of expenses. Microsoft provides a big advantage by offering the possibility of creating 4 Windows Server Virtual Machines using the Host’s license if you have Windows Enterprise on the host, and the number becomes unlimited if you have Windows Datacenter Edition. The details about the licensing can be found here.

Now, the infrastructure that I have implemented on it is presented in the following picture.

After a couple of days everything is up and running. Please find the details of the machines below:

DC
1 Virtual Processor, 4 GB RAM, 2*40GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
Windows 2008 Server R2
Active Directory(is the only one in the network)
Exchange 2010 (all roles except Transport Edge and Unified Messaging)
WSUS
VMware vSphere Client (this is the machine programmed to start with the server)

SQL - this server cotains all databases (the two SharePoint Farms, the MOSS Farm, CRM 2011, WSUS)
1 Virtual Processor, 2 GB RAM, 1*40GB HDD, 2*20GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
Windows 2008 Server R2
IIS
SQL Server 2008 R2 (Database, Reporting Services)

SharePoint – development machine for SharePoint 2010
1 Virtual Processor, 4 GB RAM, 2*40GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
Windows 2008 Server R2
IIS
SharePoint Server 2010
Visual Studio 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Office Professional 2010

CRM – development machine for CRM 2011
1 Virtual Processor, 2 GB RAM, 2*40GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
Windows 2008 Server R2
IIS
Dynamics CRM 2011

SharePoint WCM – here I have implemented a different farm because i want to be able to test different scenarios of Content Deployment / Authoring / Publishing
1 Virtual Processor, 2 GB RAM, 1*40GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
Windows 2008 Server R2
IIS
SharePoint Server 2010

MOSS – an Office SharePoint server 2007 farm was necessary, I still work in projects where is used MOSS 2007
1 Virtual Processor, 2 GB RAM, 2*40GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
Windows 2003 Server R2
IIS
MOSS 2007
Visual Studio 2008, SharePoint Designer 2007, Office Professional 2007

Client - to be able to test all the CRM and SharePoints features and the integration with Office 2010
1 Virtual Processor, 1 GB RAM, 1*40GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
Windows 7
Office Professional 2010, CRM for Outlook Client

Debian 6.0 - to be able to test the creation of a Linux Web Server
1 Virtual Processor, 512 MB RAM, 1*16GB HDD (Thin Provisioned)
I have used the guide from How to Forge – The Perfect Server – Debian Squeeze (Debian 6.0) With BIND & Dovecot [ISPConfig 3]. It is very clear and comprehensive even for a person who is not a Linux expert.

Conclusions and Challenges / Next Steps:

  • I have enabled Wake On LAN on the server, and tried it form my iPhone with the following application: iNet WOL (usually I shut down the machine when I’m not working). As long as my iPhone is in the WiFi Network it works, from the internet it doesn’t (port forwarding for port 9 is enabled on the router, so in theory it should be possible to send the magic packet). I wonder if my ISP is blocking this?
  • Next thing to do it would be to use this platform to create a complete set of posts regarding a complete SharePoint project implementation (from Gathering of the Requirements to the Live stage), taking into consideration the recommendations from the ITIL and MOF standards.

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Denis Stadler

I'm a technology enthusiast, with more than 10 years of experience in SharePoint and Dynamics CRM projects. To find more details about, please visit the about me page.

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