Home Lab Network

networking-1

Introduction

If you have been following my Intel NUC As A ESXi Host series, you will notice that I have two networks, one called “Live” and one “Private”

 

Networks

Live

My “Live” network is everything that can potentially contact the internet: laptops, servers, printers, etc.  This network is on the 192.168.xxx.yyy/24 range – like almost everyone’s home network.

Private

The “Private” network is the one where most of my home lab virtual machines live.  They don’t have internet access, and in fact, can’t interact with anything on the “Live” network.  Their IP range is 10.1.1.xxx/24.

One of the reasons for this split, is to make sure anything I do on my home lab servers will not affect my home equipment.  For example, changing DNS entries, forcing group policies to computers, etc.

Management Network (VMware)

The Management Network seen in the screen shot above, is the management IP address of your ESXi host.  If you have a host with more than one NIC card (and really you should if you can), then this IP address is the one you use to connect to your host.

 

 Servers On Both Networks

I do have a few virtual servers that belong on both networks.  For example, my PRTG Network Monitor server can monitor both my “Live” and “Private” networks.  My Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server can provide updates to both networks.

 

Adding More Networks

You can have as many networks as you like, I just need two for my purposes, but you can create more.  To do this, follow the steps below…

Since my NUCs only have one network port, I am using a vSphere Standard Switch, not a vSphere Distributed Switch.  Because of this, you will need to replicate the steps below on to each of your hosts…

  1. Open the vSphere Client and connect to your host (if you have one, or your vCenter Server if you have one of those),
  2. Click the Configuration tab, then click Networking on the left menu,
  3. If you used my automatic configuration script, you’ll see something like the screen shot above,
  4. Click the Properties link above the network card, not the one top right,

esx-networking-1

  1. Click Add and follow the wizard selecting the options below…
    • Connection Types : Virtual Machine
    • Network Label : [whatever name you want to have]
    • VLAN ID : [a number between 2 and 4094]

esx-networking-2   esx-networking-3   esx-networking-4

  1. Click Close when you have added all the networks you want.

When you create a new virtual machine, or edit the properties of one, you will now have all your networking options listed for you…

esx-networking-5

 

IP Range

Once you have created your networks, you can use whatever IP range you want within them, they will be separated within your home lab.  As I mentioned above, my “Private” network is using the 10.1.1.xxx/24 range, and for that I have a DHCP server handing out addresses just for that network.  More on my virtual machine setup in a future blog post.

 

VLANs

Before you start using VLANs between hosts (if you have more than one) on your network, make sure that you have a managed switch that can handle VLANs.  If you don’t have a managed switch, you won’t be able to them.  A managed switch is one that has it’s own IP address that you can login to.  The managed switch I have is a HP 1810-8G (J9802A).  This allows me to not only enable and use VLANs, but also IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation for my Synology NAS.

If you do have more than one NUC, you will need to make sure they are tagged in your switch to handle the VLANs.  On my particular switch..

  1. Go into VLANs > VLAN Configuration,
  2. Tick the Create VLAN box, and enter the VLAN ID number (as we did above),
  3. Click Apply,
  4. Go to VLANs > VLAN Configuration,
  5. Select the correct VLAN from the small drop down list,
  6. Select each of the ports your NUCs are plugged into, making sure they have the “T” mark to designate Tagged.
  7. Click Apply.

And that’s it, your virtual machines should now be able to talk to each other across hosts on whatever VLAN and IP range you configure for them.

2 thoughts on “Home Lab Network

  1. Tim says:

    i am setting up a home lab using the same kind of switch and nuc but networking is not my strong point by any stretch of the imagination. can you explain how you are routing these vlans? a router of some kind, maybe your wireless router? thanks! Tim

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