I know many of you have been asking about the hardware setup that we had used in this years VMworld Hackathon. I finally got a chance to document the details and you can find the complete hardware and software BOM below. For VMworld US, we had two different HW configurations, one for the primary Hackathon which was also re-used for VMworld Europe but we also had another configuration for the Hackathon Training sessions which was new this year. For VMworld Europe, we re-used the primary Hackathon hardware, but we also had the opportunity to take advantage of the new VMware Cloud on AWS offering and built a similiar configuration that teams could also remotely connect to as well. The only difference between the on-premises hardware and VMWonAWS, is the latter required users to RDP to a Windows jump host. Both options were provided and teams could select either environment to use.

Note: Internally, CDW is one of our vendors for purchasing hardware/software and that is why there are links directly to their site. However, you may find better pricing by looking online, especially Amazon which majority of the components are cheaper except for the server which you can get an exclusive vGhetto Discount at MITXPC. I have added links to both CDW/Amazon where applicable and I recommend doing research to find the best pricing if you are on a budget.

Here is a picture of the setup at VMworld US:

Here is a picture of the setup at VMworld EU:

Hackathon Setup:

  • 6 x Supermicro E200-8D (6 Node vSAN Cluster)
  • 24 x 32GB memory (128GB per system)
  • 6 x 250GB NVMe for vSAN Caching
  • 6 x 1TB SSD for vSAN Capacity
  • 6 x USB keys for ESXi Install

Cost per System: $2,929.92 (based on CDW pricing)

Hackathon Hardware BOM:

Hackathon Training Setup:

  • 4 x Supermicro E200-8D (1 per training session)
  • 16 x 16GB memory (64GB per system)
  • 4 x 250GB NVMe for vSAN Caching
  • 4 x 1TB SSD for vSAN Capacity
  • 4 x USB keys for ESXi Install

Cost per System: $2,049.92 (based on CDW pricing)

Hackathon Training Hardware BOM:

Sofware BOM US:

Here is a screenshot of the Hackathon environment via the vSphere Client:

Sofware BOM EU:

In addition to the on-premises hardware/software configuration that was used for both VMworld US and Europe, we also had an additional environment that was available exclusively for VMworld Europe. We were able to leverage the new VMware Cloud on AWS offering and built a similiar configuration that teams could remotely connect to as well. Below is a screenshot of the VMWonAWS SDDC which has the exact same configuration in terms of the vPods that were built and the only difference is that it lives in the Cloud and teams would have to RDP to a Windows jump host to access their infrastructure.

7 thoughts on “VMworld Hackathon Hardware/Software BOM

  1. Thanks a lot for the BOMs, William! Pretty helpful to see what you guys used. Might inspire me to get some new gear finally.

    Any word about the networking gear you did use?
    (Too bad something like a “10G token ring” doesnt work for lab environments :))

  2. does gigabit ethernet was enought for it in all flash ? you dedicated one nic for VSAN an one for management / NSX ? the e300-8D have 10G SFP embeded. I don’t really know what to choose between E200 and E300 for the homelab.

    • It all depends on your workload 🙂 We had two pNICs, one for vSAN and one for rest of the traffic but they all connected up to a pretty cheap consumer grade 1GbE switch. As mentioned in previous reply, you could run either a 2-Node (Direct Connect) between two Supermicro and avoiding a switch all together for the vSAN traffic OR you can look at some 10GbE switches. One recommendation that seemed decently price is Edimax https://twitter.com/ErikBussink/status/913809345149833217

      If you’ve got SFP+ in your home or lab, then E300 might be a good fit but I honestly would recommend E200, not only for the size but the CPUs on E200’s are more beefer 6-core vs 4-core

  3. great a didn’t notice that they do not have same number of core between them. great to have 10G ethernet RJ45 on the E200-8D.

  4. Hi William, first of all great blog one of my weekly favorites which I always read thru. Second I am kinda reaching out to you since I am kinda lost and you seamed to have used consumer hardware on your vsan vmworld hackaton setup too.

    I am running a triple vsan node setup with three times:

    Intel 1U Server R1208GZ4GC (each one with 2x Intel E5-2630L v2 / 128GB RAM / 2x 10GBit Intel Mezzanine Card / 3x Intel DC S4600 480GB (JBOD on the RMS25PB080) / 1x Intel Optane 900p)… but somehow the NVME does not get a usable IOP performance at all… even though if I would one use the NVME as a datastore performance is very very good.

    I ran HCIBench on this setup with 37292.28 IOs / 145.68 MB on easyrun. If I do just the 1x Intel DC S4600 as Caching Tier and 2x Intel DC S4600 as Capacity Tier… I get a 63699.04 IOs / 248.82 MBs same easyrun…

    Do you know any way to debug this issue?

    Did you by any chance run HCIBench on your Hackaton setup?

    Regards from switzerland,

Thanks for the comment!