People looked at me like I was crazy when I said I wanted to run ESXi nested in vCloud Air OnDemand. Everyones first question was why? I have some specific use cases where I need to test integrations between layers of a VMware based Cloud Management Platform and push the scalability beyond what I could run in my lab. I needed this test platform to be long lived (which ruled out using EMC vLab), but I didn't need it to be powered up all the time. Combine that variably of demand with the fact that I only have 96GB of RAM available in my home lab and you have the perfect public cloud use case. The icing on the cake for me is that I can create geographically distributed vCenters to simulate a large F500 enterprise environment.
The catch is that the virtual switches in vCloud Air aren't configured for promiscuous access, so any guest VMs that you run on your nested hosts won't have internet access. Not a problem for me since this will be part of a geographically distributed scaling exercise and I don't need them to do anything.
So, why would anyone else want to run ESXi in vCloud Air OnDemand? Number one reason is a VCP / VCAP lab as a service on vCloud Air.
If you have lab needs beyond the VMware Hands on Labs, but don't have they equipment at home vCloud Air OnDemand could give you a lab with persistence while you prepped for the vCAP-DCA or other lab based exam. When your instances are powered off you only carry the storage costs. You could get by without a public IP simply running a small lab and accessing your Windows based vCenter through the vCloud Air console, removing the public IP reservation removed the majority of the powered off costs.
As a test run I built a small vCenter and two ESXi hosts on vCloud Air on Demand before I build out my larger environment. Deep dive after the break.
Register and activate a vCloud Air OnDemand account
Upload ESXi and vCenter Media
Create an "Lab" vApp
Complete the Software Install
- Install ESXi - Mount the ISO, hit F11 and Enter until the install is complete.
- Install FreeNAS or other virtual storage appliance.
- Install vCenter - Mount the vCenter ISO to the Windows 2012R2 box and run the simple install.
What does it cost?
I'l update standby and running costs in a bit when I have it sorted out. Right now my running costs for two windows hosts and a vCenter look to be about $0.46 an hour. The majority of that powered off cost is for a public IP, which I think is an impact of the bug I mentioned. I'm going to open a support SR since based on the documentation that charge should come off of there when the SNAT rules are removed, I'll update the powered off cost when that is resolved.
I also deleted the media I used for the install to reduce the storage costs.
Update : Here are my configuration and costs.
EDIT : I pulled FreeNAS out and just run NFS on Windows vCenter
NFS on Windows for shared storage is working fine in this environment.