Digging deep into Unified Communications from Spain.

I can say that my ESXi server is the heart of my lab, so before I got everything, I was doing some research to get the best deal. The easiest way to get it built, is to follow the VMware hardware guide to get a supported server, but it means a higher price and maybe, pointless features for our purpose like redundant PSUs. On the other hand, you will, unlike me, save some headaches with the supported path. I like challenges!

In my case, I wanted something small with support for VM Direct Path and of course, all the hardware embedded on the motherboard. Based on those prerequisites, I found the Asrock Z68 Pro3-M, a micro-ATX form factor motherboard.

Hardware list:

– Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Pro3-M (Graphics and NIC on-board)

– CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 (note that is the non-K version, to take advantage of the virtualization features)

– RAM: 4x8Gb G.Skill Ares

– Case: Cooler Master Elite 342 MicroATX

– PSU: Tacens Radix V 450W

– HD: 1x Samsung SSD 830 128Gb – 4x2TB Seagate ST2000DL003

– Extra: Intel pci NIC.


I boot ESXi 5.0 from a USB pen drive and without doing anything, everything is recognized, the NIC Realtek RTL8111E included.

Continue reading…

Build your own pfSense server

May 20th, 2012 | Posted by Jaime Diez in Lab - (0 Comments)

I am not a security expert, although I have been always familiar with the terminology, despite the fact that I have never had the opportunity to work in so much depth in this field. To achieve my goal, I had to implement a firewall in my lab, like every enterprise company, then I started to look for an enterprise solution, but the price of most of them was too high for my requirements so eventually I found pfSense, an open free source solution which include almost of the features found in more expensive commercial firewalls.

It is based on FreeBSD, which as I’m told is one of the most secure OS, it is a good thing working in a platform to protect your network. A complete package system has also been included which allows further expansibility into the system. Packages like Snort, an IDS/IPS, Squid, a caching proxy and reverse proxy are just examples of the power that you can have in this small machine. I have mentioned Snort and Squid because I am using both of them, but you can find a pretty extensive list for different purposes.

In the official web site, you will find all the information to get started but the best thing is that you don’t need a super machine with a lot of resources, any thin client or an old computer will be able to handle the requirements. Sizing is based mainly on throughput and features.

Continue reading…

A brief review of my home lab

May 9th, 2012 | Posted by Jaime Diez in Cisco | Lab | Lync - (0 Comments)

In this first entry, I’m going to show you the curent layout of my lab, I say current because I’m always introducing new elements and making changes. My goal here is to have (almost) the same things that you can find in the real world and in most of  enterprise environments.

Despite the constant changes, the network is always the same with a WAN, LAN and DMZ well-defined. Let’s show you a picture in general.

Continue reading…