Virtual Home Lab


Although a dedicated server/workstation hardware is suggested and preferred for ESXi/CSR setup over a desktop PC, I unfortantely don't have the means to procure such a resource. The only option I have is an i7 4770 PC with 16GB of RAM (plan to upgrade to 32GB later). I'm completely oblivious to ESXi environment. Kindly bear my lack of knowledge and help me fire up my first home lab by giving your feedback to the following queries. The ESXi/CSR installation related queries are here because I haven't been able to find the desired answers so far.

1. Will I be at a significant disadvantage if I put the ESXi on an old 7200 RPM SATA II WD 80GB HDD or a 16GB USB 2.0?

2. Other than wireshark PC/VM, which other VMs do I need to consider CPU/RAM resources for?

3. Is there a way to install vSphere Client on ESXi itself?

4. Do CSR versions above 3.13S require ESXi version 6 to work properly?

5. Is the "large page sharing" technique used on the SSD where my VMs are, or on the drive where ESXi is installed? And if it really reduces the RAM usage of 20 routers that much, is it possible to avoid upgrading the RAM to 32GB?

Any and all help will be much appreciated.



  • Thanks very much for your response and apologies for the late response.

    The reason why I'm not comfortable with GNS3 is what those unexpected issues it tends to emcounter for no reason. I've got limited time and resources and want to save unwanted troubleshooting time by going for the most reliable solution, that is ESXi/CSR1000v combo.

    Is it true that vsphere client can't be installed directly on ESXi hypervisor and I need at least two PCs (another for vsphere client) to successfully lab on ESXi/CSRs?

    Can you please answer my other queries as well?


  • Ok. So can you tell me about your current IOU setup? I mean how do I get it set up if I want to go that way?

    Better to have another option to consider.

  • Thanks. I'm sure I'll be able to get all the help regarding running the IOU on GNS3 from the community. The question is how to get this IOU software, L2 and L3 both.

    Would you be able to help me with that also? If it's freely available that is.

  • Actually I was able to get a little bit of help to run the ESXi/CRS combo successfully. ESXi is booting from a USB 2.0 and CRSs are on an SSD; serial console is accessible through telnet using SecureCRT. So one of my queries has automatically been answered; apparently there's no way to manage the ESXi server/host locally.

    Now the memory usage for 10 routers is ~13.5 gigs on idle (with transparent page sharing tuning in effect) but I'm not sure if it's the ideal number. But for this I'd rather open another thread.

    Thanks very much for all your help and insight Martin.

  • Also check out this tutorial that will help you with your Virtual Lab.

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