This quick reference page provides a summary of the specifications of this topology.

The procedure for implementing the VMware vSphere ICM pod varies, depending on the version of the course being used. For VMware vSphere ICM 6.5, please refer to the VMware vSphere ICM 6.5 Pod page.

Please be aware of the robust server requirements that are necessary in order to run nested virtual machines. Review the virtual machine server recommendations.

For the implementation of the VMware vSphere ICM Pod for v5.1, v5.5 and v6.0 it is necessary to request virtual machine templates from CSSIA. Using these templates will simplify your setup, since the virtual machines will be pre-configured.

Topology Supports... Documentation
VMware vSphere ICM Pod v6.0

VMware ICM Pod v6.0
VMware vSphere ICM Pod v5.5

VMware ICM Pod v5.5
VMware vSphere ICM Pod

VMware ICM Pod

Lab Topology


In the NETLAB+ pod design for the VMware IT Academy vSphere Install, Configure, Manage Course (ICM) course, all lab components are 100% virtualized (i.e. ESXi-in-ESXi) to achieve a high pod to physical host ratio, at a significantly lower cost point relative to traditional delivery of vSphere ICM. Using virtualization and the sharing and scheduling capabilities of NETLAB+, each student (or team of students) has access to their own set of virtual equipment, which they may maintain exclusive use of throughout the course.

Significant Cost Reduction

NETLAB+'s use of virtualized lab components results in a significant cost reduction by allowing several pods to run simultaneously on one physical server (final ratio to be determined). This cost reduction can open up the possibility of participating in the VMware IT Academy Program for many organizations who would be unable to afford it otherwise.

Virtual Machines

A description of the virtual machines in the pod is provided in the table below.

Virtual Machine Role
esxi-1 Virtualized ESXi server.
esxi-2 Virtualized ESXi server.
san Virtualized Storage Area Network server.
vclient A virtual Microsoft Windows XP workstation that runs the VMware vSphere client.
vcenter-1 A virtual Microsoft Windows Server that runs an instance of VMware vCenter server.

Virtual Machine Templates

The Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA) provides virtual machine templates to install on the pod.

To request access to the preconfigured virtual machine templates from CSSIA:

  1. Go to the CSSIA Resources page:
  2. Select CSSIA VM Image Sharing Agreement.
  3. Complete and submit your access request by following the instructions on the request form.
  4. CSSIA will provide, via email, password-protected download links. Access to the download links is provided only to customers who are current with their NETLAB+ support contract and are participants in the appropriate partner programs (i.e., Cisco Networking Academy, VMware IT Academy, Red Hat Academy, and/or Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy).
  5. Once all virtual machines have been downloaded, they can be deployed following the steps in the appropriate pod installation guide. Each virtual machine is deployed individually.