Building a Modern SOHO Virtualization Lab – Part 4


With the NUC Skull Canyon it is possible to boot an operating system from an iSCSI LUN. Whereas with other operating systems (e.g. Windows), certain steps are required to install a software iSCSI initiator inside the operating system and then configure the iSCSI initiator to boot the operating system from an iSCSI LUN, VMware ESXi is automatically enabled for booting from an iSCSI LUN as long as the iSCSI LUN is mounted before ESXi installer is loaded. If the iSCSI LUN is mounted properly, the ESXi installer will detect the mounted iSCSI LUN and will offer it as one of the available targets for installing ESXi. Therefore, to boot ESXi from an iSCSI LUN, nothing needs to be configured in ESXi itself besides selecting the iSCSI LUN as the destination to which ESXi should be installed (not unlike selecting any other drive visible by the ESXi installer). Continue reading

Building a Modern SOHO Virtualization Lab – Part 2


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