home lab

VMware Home Lab and Learning Goals 2022

As we are beginning to wrap up the 2021 year, like me, you may be starting to think about the year ahead and what technologies and other skills you would like to develop. What is on your plate for the upcoming 2022 year? What technologies, tools, and skills are you looking to learn? It also is the time of year that I start evaluating the VMware Home Lab initiatives and see what changes I want to make and other hardware that I may want to add or get rid of. I wanted to put out a quick blog post covering my VMware home lab and learning goals 2022 edition and cover my thoughts for technologies I will be working with and learning in 2022.

Changes to the Home Lab?

I actually started a couple of months ago looking to add a new Supermicro host to the fleet of home lab servers running in my home lab. However, with the extreme supply chain issues and the vast chip shortage, I decided to pull back on ordering a new host to hopefully catch a break next year, if things improve with chip supplies, etc. It is a gamble, as things could get worse. Needless to say, my lab environment currently has the horsepower I need to run the workloads and learning environments that I need for my own learning, highlighting vendor products I feature on Virtualizationhowto and, at the end of the day, just geeking out on new stuff.

For the most part, I haven’t made any changes this year to the home lab. I did add a new workstation to my home office environment with enough resources and horsepower to run quite a few VMs in VMware Workstation. This has been a nice supplement to the other resources I have running already. I find there are some things I like to do quickly and easily in VMware Workstation locally as opposed to spinning up in vSphere. For more permanent workloads (more than a few days), I definitely use my vSphere-powered home lab for those VMs.

I purchased an IBM Lenovo P620 with a Ryzen Threadripper and this thing has been a beast so far. Loving the 16 cores which hasn’t skipped a beat on anything I have thrown at it.

IBM Lenovo P620 Ryzen Threadripper
IBM Lenovo P620 Ryzen Threadripper

I am currently running around 110 VMs across my 5 Supermicro servers and they run things really well. Three of the nodes comprise a VMware vSAN cluster that runs my “production” workloads, while the two other hosts have local-only storage that runs more ephemeral workloads that I don’t care as much about from an HA or persistence perspective.

You can read about my home lab and various configurations in the following:

Technologies to learn in 2022

If you are like me, it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to learn and lab everything that I want to. However, I am really interested in Kubernetes as this is not a technology going away any time soon and is a core technology to understand for modern workloads.

Learning Kubernetes in the VMware home lab in 2022
Learning Kubernetes in the VMware home lab in 2022

If you have been following my blog, I have been labbing and learning on different types of Kubernetes infrastructure that has consisted of pure Linux VM hosts, LXC containers, Minikube, and VMware Tanzu. You can read some of my Kubernetes lab adventures in the posts below:

There are so many things I want to learn related to Kubernetes and I just feel like I have started scratching the surface of the architecture, technologies, and other things I want to dive much deeper into. In addition, there are so many cool community and open-source Kubernetes tools and projects out there that I would like to load into the lab and test.

Also, in addition to learning more about Kubernetes, one of my goals is to continue learning more DevOps skills. This year, I have worked fairly extensively with a true CI/CD pipeline, version control, and have tried to implement more of these facets of DevOps processes into the home lab environment, with automated builds of VMware templates and other tasks. This has been a great learning experience and has led to sharpening a few skills I have been looking to sharpen for a while.

However, like many, I have many areas of improvement to make in my DevOps journey with skills I would like to acquire. I am still working quite a bit with Terraform, Ansible, and starting to play around with Bicep in Azure a bit. PowerShell and PowerCLI are still goto tools for creating scripts for the home lab and other purposes.

VMware-specific home lab technologies

As far as VMware-specific home lab technologies I want to continue to learn and tweak, there are many! However, since I am continuing to challenge myself with automation and learning more DevOps skills, VMware Automation is high on my list to continue to use and learn. VMware Cloud Foundation is another core product and solution that is at the heart of many VMware deployments. I am in need of a bit more hardware to get a fully functioning VCF environment into the lab. However, hopefully, I can achieve this in 2022.

VMware NSX-T and other core VMware products are definitely interests of mine and used in production environments that I work with, along with VMware Horizon, and vSAN, to name a few. It will be very interesting to see where the technologies go this coming year with vSphere 7.5, 8.0, and beyond.

Public cloud environments

Continuing to learn and understand new and existing public cloud environments and technologies is a neverending challenge. It seems these change on a weekly, if not daily, basis. However, learning more AWS, Azure, and GCP skills is on my radar, as well as VMware on AWS.

What are your goals for 2022 in the lab?

Hopefully, some of the ramblings in this VMware Home Lab and Learning Goals 2022 edition I have presented above resonate a bit with what you are working on. What technologies are you looking to learn or gain proficiency in this next year? I love to hear what you guys are interested in and working on as that seems to be how we all learn about new and exciting technologies – from the community. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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