Building a Modern SOHO Virtualization Lab – Part 3

SECONDARY NIC WITH 2016 NUC SKULL CANYON

When I first discovered the 2016 NUC Skull Canyon, my primary hesitation was that this NUC had only one Gigabit Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC). In my ESXi lab, I have been using several Late 2012 Mac Minis with two GigabitEthernet NICs each. I used the primary (on-board) NIC for management and VM traffic and the secondary (Thunderbolt-based) NIC for iSCSI traffic to the iSCSI SAN. Unfortunately, the NUC Skull Canyon has only one on-board NIC, which in my opinion is a significant oversight on Intel’s part. Granted, the Late 2012 Mac Mini also comes with one on-board NIC, so it has the same “design flaw” as the 2016 Skull Canyon NUC. Continue reading

Building a Modern SOHO Virtualization Lab – Part 2

GOING BEYOND SIX-VM-PER-HOST LIMIT

In the first blog post of this series, I described the progression of my VMware ESXi virtualization lab, as I was able to scale the number of concurrently running VMs from four to 12 VMs running on two 2012 2.6 GHz quad-core Mac Minis.

In early of 2016, I thought that I had solved the VM scaling problem in my lab by having purchased an iSCSI NAS capable of read-write SSD caching, but just a few days later I learned that I was wrong again. As I attempted to add even more VMs to my lab, I realized that I had a new bottleneck of 12 VMs. It turned out that I could not run more than 6 VMs on each Mac Mini, as powering up a 7th VM on either Mac Mini resulted in the same old issue manifesting itself in all VMs on the Mac Mini becoming unresponsive and eventually crashing. To my chagrin, I realized that I had not yet found the final solution to my problem. Continue reading