Setup vSphere 6/NSX Home Lab on to Public Cloud (AWS/Google) via Ravello Systems

Finally, after debating for sometime whether to buy a server or two for setting up my vSphere 6/NSX home lab, I decided to spin up the environment in a Public Cloud. Through my initial research I found that with Ravello System ( you can deploy ESXi hosts using their HVX technology. I am sharing my notes how to install and configure the environment from start to end.

Step 1: Create an account on Ravello Systems; you don’t need a credit card to create your account. You get 14 days of trial period.

Step 2: Create an Application container and go to canvas to build your application.

  • Click on “+ Create Application” to create your application container and as you can see I have 3 applications created.pic 2016-05-25 at 1.06.03 PM

    pic 2016-05-25 at 1.21.50 PM

  • Click “Create” and it directs you to an empty Canvas for the application.

Step 3: Upload ESXi image and deploy hosts

  • Click on “+” sign beside Actions and then click on “+ Import VM” which launches the “ravello-vm-import-server“. If this is the first time you are importing, install the Ravello VM Import Tool.

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  • Once the install completes, login with the Ravello account and click on “+ Upload“. This launch the wizard to upload ISO image and then go > Next.

pic 2016-05-25 at 3.27.09 PM

  • Browse to the location of ESXi ISO image and follow the same steps to upload more images if required such as Windows Server.

Note: I faced an issue while trying to upload Windows ISO image, change the type to “QCOW” and this will list all your ISOs in the folder.

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  • Next from the Available VMs list drop the “Empty ESX” onto the Canvas.
    • Go to “General” tab > enter both the Name and Hostname
    • Go to “Disks” tab > click on Browse under CD section to mount the ESXi ISO
    • In the Disks tab > change the vol1 disk size to 10 GB
    • Click Save

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  • Click Publish and then start the VM (esxi host)
  • Click on Console and follow the steps to install ESXi

Step 4: Follow Step 3 again to install multiple ESXi servers. For Windows server, drop a the Empty image on the canvas and rest of the steps are similar to install windows host.

pic 2016-05-25 at 8.07.01 PM


Step 5: Once all the VMs are installed and configured this is how my environment looks like:

  • 3 x ESXi 6 hosts
  • vCenter Server 6 for Windows
  • Windows AD and DNS server
  • NFS Server for shared storage (see Step 6)

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Step 6: Deploy a NFS to provide shared storage to the environment.

  • Drag a new Ubuntu vanilla VM from the library (at the time this blog was written the latest version is 14.04.1) onto the canvas
  • Select a key pair or to create a new key pair (in the General tab on the VM properties pane)
  • Set the Name and Hostnames in Ravello UI (General tab) to NFS or any hostname you would like to use in your application
  • Update the Application to deploy the VM
  • Once up and running, add a disk e.g. 100Gb for NFS share to the VM

pic 2016-05-25 at 12.01.13 PM

  • SSH into the newly created VM using the IP address and your private key.
    ssh -i <key> ubuntu@<IP Address> Once in, do the following:

    • sudo apt-get update
    • sudo apt-get install nfs-kernel-server -y
    • sudo mkdir /nfs
    • sudo chmod 777 /nfs
  • Find the 2nd disk (size 100GB) to create a partition on it and then format the disk partition; see screen shots below for details
    • ls /dev/sd*
    • sudo fdisk /dev/sda
    • sudo mkfs.ext4 -L /nfs /dev/sda1
    • sudo mount /dev/sda1 /nfs
    • add to /etc/exports the following line:
      /nfs *(rw,async,no_subtree_check,no_root_squash)
    • sudo service nfs-kernel-server restart

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  • Add to /etc/exports the following line:

    • sudo vi /etc/exports
    • /nfs *(rw,async,no_subtree_check,no_root_squash)
  • sudo service nfs-kernel-server restart

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Step 7: Mount the NFS share on to ESXi hosts and verified vMotion for the VM by migrating using both the host and datastore option.

Step 8: By default, vmnic0 is enabled and is the only uplink for standard switch. Enabled vmnic1 and added to standard switch.

Step 9: Created a distributed switch and migrated Mgmt., vMotion and VM networks to vDS port groups.


2 thoughts on “Setup vSphere 6/NSX Home Lab on to Public Cloud (AWS/Google) via Ravello Systems

  1. Wow, that’s what I was looking for, what a information! present
    here at this web site, thanks admin of this site.

  2. Awesome blog! I am from network background and new to vSphere and this has helped massively. Much appreciated!

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