Virtualization is an important tool for a homelab, large or small. For many years I ran some iteration of VMWare, normally ESXi with vCenter. Last year I switched everything from VMWare to Proxmox, a "free" hypervisor platform. In 2022 there are quite a few homelab hypervisor platforms that we could take advantage of.
Homelabbers have plenty of options when it comes to running a hypervisor at home. If you are just getting started you might investigate something free like Oracle's Virtual Box, Microsoft's Hyper-V, or VMWare's Workstation Player. These products are often referred to as
Type 2 hypervisors, or hypervisors that virtualize on top of an operating system. These products work well as they allow you to just install the hypervisor directly on your existing operating system, the cost to get started is quite low, if it isn't for you or you feel that you want to move onto more advanced hypervisors, worst case you just uninstall the hypervisor (or in the case of Hyper-V, just turn off the Windows feature).
Hypervisors like VMWare's ESXi and Proxmox Virtual Environment are known as
Type 1 hypervisors, or hypervisors that are installed on bare metal. The benefit of
Type 1 hypervisors is that they are more performant, designed to run as servers, and include more enterprise-like features.