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F5 Lab practice at Home

Hi Comrades,

Please advise, I am looking to setup F5 (LTM,ASM,APM) lab at home for study.

So can someone advise on the home setup expense and any idea if F5 also provide any kind of lab environment at reasonable cost.

regards, Jaspreet

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USER ACCEPTED ANSWER & F5 ACCEPTED ANSWER

You can virtualize an environment with 2x BigIPs (Active-Standby), 2-4 Web Servers (i.e. Django or Apache), and have your PC act as the default gateway for BigIP cluster whereas BigIP cluster is the default gateway for all web servers.

A modern PC with AMD Ryzen CPU and 32GB RAM will easily carry this. I have this build in a tiny ITX box.

Only the PC and 2x BigIP VE Lab licenses will cost you something. For Virtualization, use Hyper-V in case you prefer Windows 10. And use KVM if you use Linux. Both will be fine. Creating your isolated networks that use VLAN tagging can be a bit difficult with KVM as the Virtual Machine Manager (the best available graphical front-end) is poorly maintained and severely buggy since 2016. However, the libvirt command line is far better than anything Hyper-V/Powershell (and arguably even better than anything VMware paid solutions) have to offer. Hyper-V does not yet support NAT networking in its GUI but it's not a major drawback either (you can create NAT network for your Hyper-V VMs in Powershell).

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Comments on this Answer
Comment made 18-Mar-2018 by gurmjaspreet 53

Thanks, Hannes

which processor is best for network virtuals lab setup? Intel core i7 or AMD. Also can we run with 16 GB or required 32 GB to run the instances.

regards, Jaspreet

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Comment made 18-Mar-2018 by Hannes Rapp 3890
  1. If you want to run VMs, you will need more Cores and Threads. Intel CPUs of the same price range typically have much less Cores and Threads. A budget CPU like AMD Ryzen 5 1600 will work perfectly fine. If you keep the box at your home, make sure you get a quiet cooler and refrain from using the stock one. Alternatively, you can pay around 140 USD more and get Intel i7-8700 for the same amount of Cores and Threads, and 29% better performance benchmark (ref: http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare). Unless you're running performance tests to a choke-point, this will not make a slightest difference. My recommendation is to save the bucks and go for AMD.

  2. I'd recommend 32GB. It's not ideal if you're forced to micro-manage your RAM, and possibly even be forced to deploy BigIP VMs with 2 active modules instead of 3 in some scenarios.

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USER ACCEPTED ANSWER & F5 ACCEPTED ANSWER

My lab runs on a intel nuc core i5, 32Gb Ram, 500GB SSD with ESXi 6.5 stand-alone (free license) : total cost 900€

You can also buy a f5 lab license 10mbps, 10 access sessions licenses : 100$

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Comment made 18-Mar-2018 by gurmjaspreet 53

Thanks Piron.

Can you please advise where ESXi 6.5 will be installed, is it locally on the system with window 10 or need to install separately on other hardware machine and can be controlled by laptop or pc ?

Regards, Jaspreet

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Comment made 18-Mar-2018 by Stanislas Piron 10481

The intel nuc is a small pc where I installed esxi 6.5

There is not any windows installed.

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