Building the Kraken – VMWare 5.0 Lab Cluster Overview – Part 1

by bluemedora_editor on July 3, 2012

Over the next series of blog posts we will document how we created a high capacity vmware cluster for our test lab environment using thumbdrives and older Dell Servers.

Kraken project Overview

At Blue Medora we run VMware for a large portion of our infrastructure and testing environment’s.  However recently the IT team was tasked with creating a secondary environment for a new development project.  In addition, we wanted this environment to be isolated from our regular network.  The environment needed to include vSphere servers running both  VMware vCenter sever, version 5 and an older version vCenter server version 4.   Each vCenter server needed to include a datacenter, a cluster, multiple hypervisors, and multiple VM’s. The hypervisors needed to have high availability and dynamic resource scheduling, and the VM’s needed to generate load and create events with minimal or no user interaction. We nicknamed this project “The Kraken” after the mythical multi-armed sea monster.


The hardware used for The Kraken project was a Dell M1000e chases with 16 Dell M605 blade servers.  Because the hard drives in the M605’s where already in use for an unrelated project we had to determine an alternate method of storage for the hypervisors, and virtual machines.  For VM storage we opted to use NFS for our storage traffic on our EMC SAN.  For the hypervisors we decided to go with a budget friendly solution, and purchased 16 flash drives, all of which where 16 GB’s each.  For dedicated storage traffic we used a Dell PowerConnect 5524 switch.


This is an ongoing, comprehensive, series. We plan to release all the sections in the coming weeks.

  1. Overview
  2. Building vSphere Server
  3. Setup Network and Storage on VNXe 3100 SAN
  4. Installing VMWare esx/I 5.0 on a M100e
  5. Configuration of ESX/I servers with NFS over Distributed vSwitch
  6. Building a Lightweight Debian stress test VM
  7. Automated deployment of VM Template to all servers in a cluster.


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