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Ideas for a vSphere home lab in Workstation or Fusion

In this article I would like to share a few ideas on how to setup a lab environment for vSphere. When I deliver VMware-training it is a frequently asked question by my students how they could run the software in their own lab-environment. For those who own multiple physical servers on which they can run ESXi it is not too difficult. But when your resources are limited you might need to look at other possibilities.

Install ESXi in a VMware Workstation virtual machine

When you don't have hardware that supports running ESXi and you want to setup this OS for testing or educational purposes then installing it in a VMware Workstation virtual machine allows you to run the OS on generic hardware. This article explains how to do this. It is based on VMware Workstation version 10 and ESXi version 5.5. Doing this is also know as running a nested hypervisor because it runs on another virtualization technology. 

Creating your first virtual machine in VMware Workstation

This article will guide you through the setup of VMware Workstation and the process of creating your first virtual machine. This article is based on VMware Workstation 10, the most recent version at the time of writing, November 2013. 

Can VMware Converter make a difference when using nested VMs?

Expanding a VMware Workstation virtual disk

When your hard disk in a VM is too small it is easy to increase the hard disk size. This article guides you through the necessary steps. We start with a VM running Windows 7 that has a 45GB hard disk. See the image below.

Windows 7 VM with 45 GB disk 

Shrink a VMware Workstation disk with VMware Tools command line utility in Windows

You can shrink a disk from inside a virtual machine running Windows with a command line utility named VMwareToolboxCmd.exe. The disk must not be a pre-allocated disk but should grow dynamically. 

Shrinking a disk can also be done from the Control Panel VMware tools entry, but when that is not available you can also do this from the command line. The utility is located in the folder C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools.