Autolab – Packaged VMware Nested Lab

Recently Autolab, a new tool promising to make deploying your labs a LOT easier was released. I deployed my new lab yesterday using this tool and it couldn’t be simpler.


This lab builder kit is designed to produce a nested vSphere 5.0 or 4.1 lab environment with the minimum effort. Prebuilt shell VMs are provided along with automation for the installation of operating systems and applications into these VMs. The lab build was originally created to aid study towards VCP5 certification however it has many other possible uses.

This is version 0.5 – Please submit bug reports to

Installation Instructions PDF
Nested AutoLab on Workstation 8
Nested AutoLab on ESXi 5

Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements for the lab are moderate. Hopefully you won’t need to buy a new computer, although you may need to do some upgrades.  If you can dedicate a computer to the role then the lab runs extremely well under ESXi.

Hardware Minimum Great Choice Used to build the lab (laptop bought in 2009)
CPU Dual Core, 64Bit Quad Core, i7 Core2 Duo
RAM 8GB How much can you afford? 8GB
Hard Disk 60GB free space 120GB SSD free space Second SATA hard disk, Laptop OS on small SSD
Operating System 64 Bit ESXi 5.0 Windows 7 64Bit
Virtualization Software VMware Player (untested) ESXi 5.0 VMware Workstation 8.0.2

Additional software

The AutoLab kit contains open source software and so can be freely redistributed. The full lab requires licensed software components some of which are quite large. Below is a list with download links where these are easily  available.

For the older vSphere versions and for PowerCLI you will need an account with VMware or a good contact at VMware or a VMware partner.

The version 4.1 components are only required if you plan to build a 4.1 environment, usually so you can run the upgrade to 5.0.

• vCenter 5.0 Install DVD
• ESXi 5.0 Install CDROM
• vCenter 4.1 Install DVD
• ESXi 4.1 Install CDROM
• ESX 4.1 Install CDROM
• VMware PowerCLI installer
• VMware vSphere CLI Installer
• Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 180 day trial DVD
• Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Client 64bit
• Microsoft Windows 2003 Server 32bit or Windows XP 32bit CDROM