Monday 3 May 2021

Home Lab Step-by-Step Part-1-HostInstallation

Getting started with base infrastructure for home LAB

Technology is evolving each day, and to keep up with the momentum VMware is coming up with upgrades/updates of the VMware portfolio products.


To stay upto date with the latest versions, hosting a lab has become a necessity, but what I saw most of the IT practitioners, who are not from infrastructure domain face challenges setting up their labs.


Well it wouldn’t be an issue anymore, I am going to lay down step by step instructions on how to setup your home LAB with just one ESXi.


In order to start, you need to download the latest ESXi image from VMware download portal. Navigate to url VMware Customer connect Portal and login with your credentials.

Once logged in navigate to Products and Accounts>>Products>>All Products.

In all products screen select VMware vSphere>>View Download components.

Select option go to downloads on VMware vSphere hypervisor.

Select the version and download the ISO.

Accept the EULA and download will start.

Once you have the ISO image available boot the server with the ESXi image, and start the installation process.

Press continuMe on the welcome screen of the installer.

Accept EULA, by pressing f11 key on the keyboard.

Select the installation disk from the list, in my case I only have one (but for you I would recommend installing ESXi on a 32GB USB drive, to use HDD as a datastore) and hit enter.

Select the keyboard layout and hit enter.

ESXi enforces password requirements for access from the Direct Console User Interface, the ESXi Shell, SSH, or the VMware Host Client.

·         By default, you have to include a mix of characters from four-character classes: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as underscore or dash when you create a password.

·         By default, password length is more than 7 and less than 40.

·         Passwords cannot contain a dictionary word or part of a dictionary word.

Enter a password which fulfills above requirements, and make a note of it.

Press f11 to confirm the ESXi installation.

Monitor the installation progress, and hit enter for reboot once installation is over.

Congratulations, you have completed the first step of creating a Home LAB for yourself.

In my next post, I will demonstrate the steps to configure networking which depicts your physical datacenter network in nested environment, post that we will install nested ESXi servers to start exploring the different line of products offered by VMware and other entities.

I hope I was able to add value, if your answer is yes, then don't forget to share and subscribe. 😊

If you want me to write on specific content or you have any feedback on this post, kindly comment below.

If you want, you can connect with me on Linkedin, and please like and subscribe my youtube channel VMwareNSXCloud for step by step technical videos.


Yesterday, I published this post and I received feedback to include list of requirements which needs to be satisfied by the hardware on which ESXi (Hypervisor) will be installed. Hence, I would request you to please refer the ESXi Hardware Requirements for choosing the right hardware for your LAB, and ESXi Requirements which has all requirements for an ESXi server. You can use any machine which supports hardware requirements, most important is Intel VT-x or AMD RVI for supporting nested environment. You can refer to this blog which I found useful in understanding which type of system you need with your use cases and budget.


  1. Hello

    With regards to the network for the nested ESXi Hypervisor, did you leave it as the default setting for 'NAT' or change any to 'Bridged, Host-Only or custom, and how many additional NICs where added if any?

    Thank you

    1. Dear Victor,

      Its a very valid question, however this would be valid with VMware workstation, and in our case we are using ESXi directly installed on the hardware. Nested environment will be hosted on a physical ESXi host. Using ESXi gave us option to create Trunk PG, and our nested ESXi hosts will be connecting to the same Trunk PG, we can add number of nics depending on our use case on the nested ESXi. Hope it clears the confusion, please let me know if you need more clarification.

    2. i got the same question, i create a lab with vmware workstation but not cant access to the vm with vmware vcenter appliance in vmware exsi (vm in work station)

    3. Dear Watafa, I have covered this in my post https://www.vmwarensxcloud.com/2021/08/home-lab-step-by-step-networking-using-vmwareworkstation.html you need to keep all your VMs vCenter, virtual router etc on same network that is custom "host only".

  2. Hello Pradhuman, Nice article and helpfull. Please let me know the physical host configuration you selected and number of physical Host over which you have created this Nested enviornment.

    1. Hi, I started the blog with a server with 2 sockets 6 Cores each and 64 GB RAM, however later on upgraded it to 128GB.

  3. Thanks long Time I'm looking for simple steps like yours

  4. Bro all ok but not everyone can afford to buy server hardware for this lab, kindly make post on vmware workstation and give step by step details on how to set it up using our normal machine.

    1. Dear Faisal,
      You are correct, I am already in a process of writing this. if you are following this blog you will get notification once I post it.

  5. Dear Pradhuman,
    Very good article!
    My name is Xiaohong, I am facing a issue:
    Due to ESXi doesn't support network adapter on my laptop, I have to use Windows-based VMware workstation pro instead of physical ESXi host, what is the minimum hardware requirement for this lab?

    Thank you!

    1. Dear Xiaohong,

      You can do this lab with as low as 64 GB RAM and 8 cores.

      As you need to provision Infrastructure services as well.

  6. Hi PradHuman,

    Firstly I want to thank you for writing such knowledgeable and elaborate content. This home lab series you made has been so helpful. I'm following along and I can confidently say I'll be able to have this complete for myself very soon.

    I have a question regarding hardware requirements for not only this, but also for further expansion with NSX-T and other services later. Would you mind providing the kind of hardware you are using for your setup? I'm using a lenovo SFF i7 workstation with 32GB memory and nvme storage. I have a feeling this won't be suitable in the future. I can get by using it as is now, but I know more elaborate designs will require more resources.

    Appreciate all your hard work on this series! Thank you

    1. Dear Javier,

      I am glad that it is helping and really grateful for your kind words. You are absolutely right, it would need more resources. I am going to write a small post on what hardware I started with and later How I did expansion for catering my future needs of testing stuff like VCF.


Popular posts