Homelab

ESXi on 8th Gen Intel NUC (Coffee Lake - Bean Canyon)

Intel's Coffee Lake-based 8th Gen Bean Canyon NUC is an ideal candidate for running VMware ESXi. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many homelabs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. The Bean Canyon is available with i3, i5, and i7 CPU. It's the first series where the i5 is also equipped with a Quad-Core CPU, so both - the i5 and i7 - are ideal candidates for ESXi.

  • NUC8i7BEH/NUC8i7BEK (Intel Core i7-8559U - 4 Core, up to 4.5 GHz)
  • NUC8i5BEH/NUC8i5BEK (Intel Core i5-8259U - 4 Core, up to 3.8 GHz)
  • NUC8i3BEH/NUC8i3BEK (Intel Core i3-8109U - 2 Core, up to 3.6 GHz)

Read More »ESXi on 8th Gen Intel NUC (Coffee Lake - Bean Canyon)

Intel NUC with 64GB Memory Support (6th - 10th Gen)

Intel NUCs can go up to 32GB Memory for about 5 years. With the growing memory requirements of VMware Software, these numbers have become a problem in NUC based Homelabs. Luckily, single 32GB Modules are available and affordable now which boosts many NUC generations up to 64GB.

At the moment, there are a few vendors providing single 32GB DDR4 SO-DIMM modules. I highly recommend getting the Samsung M471A4G43MB1 module, which is not only very affordable and available but also listed on Intel's compatibility list for 10th Generation NUCs. A single 32GB Module costs about $130 on Amazon at the moment. The price has dropped massively in the last 12 months. In February 2019, a single module was available for $380. The lowest price was around Christmas 2019 at $112. Currently (March 2020) the module is available for $124.
Read More »Intel NUC with 64GB Memory Support (6th - 10th Gen)

Backup vSphere Cluster with ghettoVCB

The ghettoVCB script is a well known free backup solution for standalone ESXi Hosts created by William Lam. The script works with ESXi 3.x up to ESXi 6.7. It does not support vCenter or cluster backups out of the box but with a little workaround, you can backup virtual machines in a DRS enabled cluster. I'm using this type of backup for a couple of months without issues.

Read More »Backup vSphere Cluster with ghettoVCB

ESXi on 8th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake-G - Hades Canyon)

Intel launched a successor to their Skull Canyon based Gaming NUCs - The 8th Gen Kaby Lake-G NUC. The new Hades Canyon named NUCs are the first systems to have two Gigabit NICs embedded which makes them even better to be used with ESXi. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many home labs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. Generation 8 Hades Canyon NUCs are available with two different CPUs but their main difference is the Graphics chip. Compared to the previous releases commercial Dawson Canyon NUCs, they are not equipped with Intel's vPro Technology.

  • NUC8i7HVK (Intel Core i7‑8809G) - "The big one"
  • NUC8i7HNK (Intel Core i7‑8705G)

Read More »ESXi on 8th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake-G - Hades Canyon)

VMware ESXi 6.7 Installation on Intel NUC8i7HNK and NUC8i7HVK

When you try to install VMware ESXi 6.7 on the smaller version of the 8th Gen Hades Canyon Intel NUC (NUC8i7HNK), the installer fails to boot with the following error message:

Shutting down firmware services...
Using 'simple offset' UEFI RTS mapping policy

The problem only happens with the NUC8i7HNK, not its larger brother NUC8i7HVK.

It took a couple month and a lot of people were trying to get it up and running (eg. on Reddit) but the problem was finally fixed by Intel within BIOS Version 51.

  • NUC8i7HNK - Core i7‑8705G - Works with BIOS Version 51
  • NUC8i7HVK - Core i7‑8809G - Works out of the box

Read More »VMware ESXi 6.7 Installation on Intel NUC8i7HNK and NUC8i7HVK

7th Gen NUC Remote Management with KVM using vPro AMT

Intel's latest 7th Gen Dawson Canyon NUCs are equipped with AMT vPro Technology. Intel AMT (Active Management Technology) allows remote management including a KVM Console. vPro is available in NUCs with i7 and i5 CPUs. NUCs with i3 CPUs do not have vPro Technology.

7th Gen NUCs with vPro Technology:

  • NUC7i7DNHE
  • NUC7i7DNKE
  • NUC7i5DNHE
  • NUC7i5DNKE

Activation and access to the Remote Console/KVM are a little bit hidden. This post explains how to enable and use the remote management.Read More »7th Gen NUC Remote Management with KVM using vPro AMT

ESXi on 7th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake - Dawson Canyon)

Intel launched a commercial version of their 7th Gen NUCs. The new Dawson Canyon named NUCs are available with vPro technology which allows you to manage NUCs remotely. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many homelabs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. Generation 7 Dawson Canyon NUCs are available with i3, i5 and i7 CPUs but only i5 and i7 are equipped with Intel's vPro Technology. The i3 comes without vPro and has an identical CPU than the Baby Canyon. The i7 has a powerful 4 Core Kaby Lake-R CPU which give a great performance boost.

Read More »ESXi on 7th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake - Dawson Canyon)

Homeserver - ESXi on HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10

After Hewlett Packard Enterprise has missed offering a Microserver in their 9th Generation, it is now back in Gen10. The Microserver series provides affordable servers intended to be used in SMB and as home servers. Due to its low price and power consumption, you can find this system in many virtualization home labs as ESXi hosts or Storages.

The HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 is available with two different CPUs - AMD Opteron X3216 and X3421. Both models a SoC which means that the CPU cannot be changed like the Intel CPUs in Gen8. They support up to 32GB of unbuffered DDR RAM. The server can be equipped with 4 hard drive from the front.

  • HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10, Opteron X3216 (2x 1.6 - 3.0GHz / 15W TDP)
  • HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10, Opteron X3421 (4x 2.1 - 3.4GHz / 35W TDP)

Read More »Homeserver - ESXi on HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10

Fix for FreeNAS on HPE MicroServer Gen10 X3216 Stuck Console Issue

When you try to install FreeNAS 11 on the new HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 X3216, the installer stops booting and appears to be stuck at:

pcib0: <ACPI Host-PCI bridge> port 0xcf8-0xcff on acpi0
pcib0: _OSC returned error 0x10
pci0: <ACPI PCI bus> on pcib0

This article explains how to fix the issue during the installation and how to apply the fix at an installed system using the FreeNAS Web Interface.

Read More »Fix for FreeNAS on HPE MicroServer Gen10 X3216 Stuck Console Issue