VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 5.0 home lab upgrade

I started my VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) home lab journey three years ago on version 4.01 and shared my experience with a blog post. I’ve upgraded my server and deployed nested VCF 5.0 on ESXi 8.0 Update 1 this month. Currently, I have a 4-host standard management domain and a 3-host workload domain deployed in VCF.

The latest VCF and ESXi, NSX Data Center, SDDC Manager, and vCenter versions deployed

Other upgrades included expanding my host RAM to 768GB from 512GB, replacing my primary storage with a 4TB SSD Samsung 870 QVO SDATA III, and fixing my 10GBase-T SFP shielded Cat 6a connection.

Physical network issue resolved: SFP+ 10G transceiver and wiring to server in garage

I discovered that one of my 24 DIMM memory sockets was bad during the memory upgrade. Luckily I found a new motherboard replacement on eBay for $105 shipped, which resolved the problem.

BIOS error due to faulty DIMM slot on motherboard requiring replacement

Stability and Performance Improvements

These changes have improved the stability and performance of VCF on a single host using the VMware VCF Holodeck Toolkit to deploy. The toolkit provides guidance and tools, including VCF Lab Constructor (VLC), to deploy nested VCF hands-on-lab environments on a standalone ESXi host. I have yet to experience the network connection dropping or the server hanging from losing local storage. The additional RAM and latest versions of VMware software have made VCF seem as performant as my primary home lab, a traditional vSphere cluster of 3 physical servers.

One more change…

I also changed the sizing and architecture in the Deploy Parameters in the VCF Deployment Parameter Workbook. The VMware Cloud Builder appliance uses this information to create the management domain. Circled below is where I increased the vCenter Server Appliance Size & NSX Virtual Appliance Size back to the default and chose a standard instead of consolidated VCF architecture. With the RAM upgrade, I was okay with utilizing the limited memory for the recommended defaults. I no longer have resource exhaustion errors in NSX Manager, SDDC Manager, or vCenter with all of these changes.

Deploy Parameters in the VCF Deployment Parameter Workbook

New VCF Adventures

With the more reliable and better performing VCF infrastructure, I’m ready to deploy the latest versions of NSX Edge Appliances, Tanzu, NSX Advanced Load Balancer, and Aria Enterprise Suite on top this fall.

Physical Host running ESXi 8.0 Update 1 where nested VCF is deployed
Each nested host for VCF deployed as a VM on the physical host, plus a jump host for deployment, UPS shutdown agent, and VyOS router appliance for BGP routing into my home LAN.