VMware vSphere Whitebox Lab Setup Part 2

Posted on 04 Jan 2011 by Ray Heffer

The second part of this series continues with the vSphere build on my whitebox server, the Asus Rampage II Extreme with Intel Core i7 2.8Ghz and a 120GB SSD.

Following on from the previous guide where we installed ESXi on to the USB drive, we are now ready to access the physical ESXi host and start creating some virtual machines. Since this is a home vSphere lab environment, accessing the lab from anywhere (not just at home) is a major advantage for me, so I’ll be taking you through the steps to create a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual machine with an RD Gateway (Remote Desktop Gateway).

We will also need shared storage in order to use vMotion, so I will also guide you through the setup of an OpenFiler iSCSI virtual SAN.

To Do List:

If you have followed the previous guide then your physical ESXi host should be up and running and sitting in your garage, shed, spare room (wherever its new home is!). You can now switch on your laptop or desktop PC, get a warm drink and we will get the vSphere lab configured!

Note: I’d also like to mention that whilst I decided to install VMware ESXi 4.1 to a USB drive, there is no reason you can’t install the full ESX 4.1 (with Service Console) to the local SSD drive.

  1. Download and install the vSphere client
  2. Create the core virtual machines:
    • Domain Controller
    • vCenter server
    • RD Gateway
    • OpenFiler SAN
  3. Finally create virtual ESXi hosts.

You will also notice that the ESXi server will automatically assign a 60-day evaluation license. Although you can register for a free ESXi license, the free edition will be extremely limited in features and totally unsuitable unless you simply wish to run virtual machines.

I will be assuming that all licenses for your home lab will either be evaluation or purchased. The downside of evaluation licensing of course is that you’ll have to re-install your environment every 60 days.

Download and Install the vSphere Client

  1. Navigate to https:// (E.g.
  2. Download vSphere Client and install!

When you launch the vSphere Client, you’ll need to enter the IP address of the ESXi host followed by the username (root) and password. You should have this information following the installation and initial configuration in part 2. You will receive a security warning stating that the SSL certificate is untrusted.

Finally, select “Install this certificate and do not display any security warnings” then click Ignore.