For application developers and IT administrators, virtual testbeds are crucial tools in determining how applications perform and how well they will fit within an enterprise's IT environment. Building such a testbed doesn't have to cost a lot of money, a key concern at a time when IT budgets are taking a hit while demand on IT continues to grow. I set about to build a virtual testbed out of free software and legacy hardware in the Labs.
The following are the steps I took to build an OpenFiler iSCSI NAS server and a VMware ESXi bare metal virtualization instance. Click on each of the steps for a slide show illustrating the process in more detail.
1. The first step was finding the hardware and figuring out the layout. Again, all that was used here was hardware found around the lab. Using this and adding a SATA RAID controller and some USB sticks, I put together an iSCSI NAS device and a management workstation. I also used a host of free software.
2. Next came installing OpenFiler from formatting to setting the password, and making sure it could be managed via a Web browser.
3. The third part was configuring OpenFiler to get it ready to work with VMware ESXi.
4. Next came installing ESXi onto a USB flash drive, a process that should take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
5. Finally, I configured ESXi to get the testbed up and running.