A question came to me recently concerning my use of VMware ESXi on my home lab servers rather than Microsoft Hyper-V. I should of course acknowledge there are other options such as Linux and various other hypervisors but let’s stay on point for now.
At work I run both ESXi and Hyper-V, there are certainly features I’d like to play with on both and I need to keep my skill set up to date so I can’t really afford to miss out on one of them. That being said the issue was quickly resolved when I looked at some of the virtual appliances/simulators I wanted to test and do lab work on – many of them (at the time of writing) are still only available for VMware ESXi/Workstation. The second point that pushed me to VMware is the ability to nest Hyper-V inside ESXi but the inability to do it the other way round. As I am using two high end servers for my lab my physical hardware is limited in quantity but flush for resource. It is easy for me to deploy a Microsoft Server 2012 R2 or 2016 virtual machine on ESXi and then enable Hyper-V within this guest. This allows me to play with both hypervisors without having to rebuild my lab equipment or buy more physical kit.
I wouldn’t be surprised if over time my lab changes to suit my needs, I might perhaps sling Nutanix on and try their hypervisor ‘Acropolis’ or maybe something else, it just has to give me the maximum amount of flexibility to run anything and everything I could want.
Interestingly my original plan was always to install Microsoft Server 2016 Nano server on the bare metal and run a Windows 10 desktop on VMware workstation from my normal PC to manage everything. Maybe when some of these virtual appliances and simulators become available on Hyper-V I will give that a go.
I’d certainly be interested to hear what other people are using for home labs so feel free to drop a comment below or get in touch on Twitter @bytesizedalex