Cost savings in the Lab

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With power pricing getting severely out of hand (well, it has been for months now), I figured I should do my part.

Currently, my lab consists of four ESXi servers, two storage servers, one backup server and one personal tinkering server.

My ESXi cluster has always ran on about 1.5 hosts worth of redundancy. In order to save some power, what I did:

  • Leveraged VMware vRealize Operations Manager (or.. VMware Aria) to appropriately downsize virtual machines to the resources they actually need,
  • Looked at all the virtual machines again and powered off all VMs that I wasn’t using anymore, or will not use for the foreseeable future,
  • Decided that for the lab, I will be okay with having no host redundancy at the moment as I do not touch my lab nearly as often anymore as I used to.

For vRealize Operations Manager, part of what the product allows you to do is look whether virtual machines can be upscaled or downscaled. If a VM is short on resources, it will give a recommendation as to what it thinks it would need. The same if it has too many resources, it will tell you whereabouts you can downsize the VM to. In my case, I was able to de-allocate 24 vCPUs and 56GB of memory worth of compute

I also looked at some larger nested labs I had running for VCF. These are pretty big, and consume CPU (so also they consume extra power.) As I have not had time for my lab I decided to just turn those VMs off.

Lastly I made the decision to treat it more like a “homelab” instead of a “close-to-production-simulation lab”. This means I do not aim for redundancy.

In the end this means that I have turned off three servers. Instead of running four compute nodes, I run two. Technically if I really try I could do it with one host, but for now this is sufficient. I’ve also turned off my personal tinkering server as I have not touched it in months. In total, I was able to pay about 60 euros a month less on power. This isn’t a whole lot but it’s still something. This also has to deal with that I pay for 3A of power upfront and the rest is counted as overage.

Hopefully this sheds some light on things you could potentially do at home. Without vRealize Operations Manager I would have never thought I had 34 VMs that I could downsize, which made turning off a couple of servers possible.

Thank you for reading this!