Boost Your Nested Home Lab (Part 1/3)
Many people run a nested vSphere home lab using VMware Workstation. Workstation is typically running on a Windows-based desktop or laptop with 8GB of RAM or more. For those of you who have worked with a nested environment like this, you’ll have found that you barely squeeze enough juice out of the system to run multiple nested ESXi hosts, vCenter and any other VMs you’re wanting to test.
So how can we squeeze the system just that bit more? How can we boost available resources for our RAM and compute hungry nested lab?
Gamers have been using software to optimize resource usage for years. Their goal is to squeeze as much available performance out of their games to improve their user experience. Well, we’re practically doing the same thing here, only instead of a game we’re going to optimize for VMware Workstation. My preferred software choice for this job is AlacrityPC.
AlacrityPC, or simply Alacrity, was one of the first optimization programs that I became aware of, way back in the Windows XP days. It’s fairly straightforward in how it works and the options it provides. You define the services and applications that you want to change the running state of while you execute preferred programs. In this case, Workstation.
There are also some extra tweaks and options available which can help bolster available resources. For example you can defragment system memory one or more times, to eek out every last drop of RAM.
There are more options available these days, with offerings usually from hardware vendors looking to appeal to the gaming market. Alacrity still holds its own, in my opinion.
The program itself hasn’t been updated in a few years, but surprisingly it works just fine on most Windows client operating systems. From Windows XP all the way up to Windows 10 (aside: please don’t run XP or Vista any longer, just don’t). I attribute this ability to keep on ticking to the clean design and implementation.
Prep the Flight Deck
Ready to try it out? First, you’ll have to download the installer as well as a patch. For our purposes I’ll assume you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows, so grab the 64-bit version of Alacrity, alacritypc_x64_188.8.131.52.zip , as well as the patch file, alacritypc_update_184.108.40.206.zip. Can’t find them? Check out the Files section on the SourceForge site.
Once downloaded, unzip the installer (remember that’s alacritypc_x64_220.127.116.11.zip ) and run the setup program you’ve extracted. After AlacrityPC is installed, you need to extract the contents of the update zip file, alacritypc_update_18.104.22.168.zip , into the AlacrityPC install directory. For a typical out-of-the-box Windows install, that’s C:\Program Files\Ken Salter\AlacrityPC . Make sure to overwrite any files when prompted.
Taxi the Jet
AlacrityPC is now installed and is waiting for us to configure it so we can boost VMware Workstation. In the second part of this short series, we’ll figure out what exactly we want to configure.
Featured image photo by DVIDSHUB