Creating a test vCloud system using Autolab

It’s often difficult to find the hardware available that can support a test vCloud environment but I found that out there on the Interwebs are several ingenious solutions that can use Vmware Workstation, ESXi or even Vmware Player to create a functional system.

One such solution is called Autolab and in essence creates a set of VMs whose core consists of a DC, a VC, an iSCSI SAN (FreeNAS) and two nested ESXi hosts (4.x or 5.x) from a single OVA file.

To this you can add a router (a tiny Linux based VM which has just 32MB of RAM assigned) to allow access to and from your live network. The router is required so you can move files into the NAS for use in the installation of the VMs

For people learning VCP you only need 5 VMs (DC, VC, Host1, Host2 and NAS). You can then practice migrating everything from 4.x to 5.x or play with HA and DRS to your hearts content

Autolab1For vCloud 5.1 I added two VMs which I created myself from OVAs supplied by VMware, one for vCloud Director and one for vShield Manager.

The result is that I have a working vCloud test lab on one ESXi system which has one quad-core processor  and only 10GB of physical memory!




For people who want to learn View and not vCloud, then they need only to add one Connection Server VM and one security server VM.

It takes a little time to setup the DC and the VC (because they use autoinstall scripts on Windows 2008 R2) and on my system took 1 hour each to install.

Here’s the proof that vCloud is alive


and here are the CPU and memory stats. Note that there was a step change when I realised I had the vShield manager VM configured with 8GB of RAM when it needed only 2GB (or less I haven’t really tried to squeeze yet).




Autolab is hosted by the nice people at VEEAM and there’s a VEEAM VM to build and a VEEAM ONE VM to practice with as well.

I would estimate that vCloud would be doable on a Linux laptop running 8GB to 10GB of RAM, with another 2GB required under Windows.

My diskstore shows that the vCloud lab uses 95GB so if you budget for 150GB for the lot you should be safe,

Now to find some vCloud labs…


One thought on “Creating a test vCloud system using Autolab

  1. Pingback: Mount vCloud Director: Helpful feedback from LinkedIn | Virtual Mountain

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