VMware offers hardware compatibility list for home labs

Crowdsourced and unofficial info for when you want to run ESXi for fun ... or when official rigs aren't right

Vendors' hardware compatibility lists detail the kit on which they guarantee their software will work at useful levels of performance.

But what if you can't afford that kit for a home lab or other non-production project? Or have some hardware you think might do the job at work?

VMware is now offering builders of such rigs a tool to help them understand if the kit they have to hand will suffice: a Solution Designer.

Offered as a Fling – VMware's name for endorsed-but-unsupported software – the Solution Designer runs a script to automate acquisition of your available hardware and then reports on its suitability to run ESXi.

VMware staffer William Lam became aware of Solution Designer and asked for the addition of a feature that allows users of the Fling to "specify whether a specific hardware inventory is searchable when it is initially created".

That has the effect of making users' inventories available to others, with the result that Solution Designer can serve as what Lam calls "an 'unofficial' VMware Community Hardware Compatibility List."

Lam has asked the VMware community to use the new tool and upload their hardware inventories, so that more builders can learn from their experience.

While the tool has obvious potential to help commercial users understand if whatever kit they have to hand can run ESXi, putting it to work based on Solution Designer's output would not be sensible. Vendors tend not to offer their most enthusiastic support for rigs that don't observe their compatibility lists and, seeing as ESXi tends to underpin mission critical infrastructure and applications, that stance is understandable.

May we therefore steer you towards VMware's official HCL, which you can find here?

If both that list and Solution Designer leave you cold, VMware also offers a cut of ESXi that runs on a single Raspberry Pi 4. That version can't do much real work but does let users experience a VMware environment on very well-priced hardware. ®

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