(Not) Home Lab Setup

Everyone in the #vDM30in30 challenge seems to be spouting off about their home labs.  Before I moved to Austin, I had a home lab.  It was a half-rack on the floor with 3 servers and two mass storage arrays coupled with a wiring cabinet on the wall with a cable modem, firewall, router, and switch.  It was good fun (though murder on my electric bill) and I was sad to leave it behind.

Honestly most days I felt like a mad scientist.

Maniacal Laugh

I’d be lying that I didn’t say “Good new, everyone” in my head when I got something new running for the first time.

Two years ago I left behind that home and moved to Austin.  I moved some data to the cloud, parted with other data, decommissioned the machines, wiped all the drives, and sent the machines out for eCycling.

I made myself sad.
I made myself sad.

Fast forward a year and I convinced the nice people here at SolarWinds that I need my own lab.  What’s in that lab you say?

The short list is this:

  • Catalyst 37xx & 38xx Stacks
  • Cisco 2811 & 2821’s
  • Cisco Catalyst 4500 Chassis
  • Dell, Juniper, & NetGear Switches
  • SonicWALL Firewalls
  • ESX Servers
  • Hyper-V Servers

It’s backed mostly by spinning disks, but also includes a PureStorage FA m20 All Flash Array.  It’s a thing of beauty.

So, insofar as physical gear, that’s the list, but that let’s me run a plethora of virtual devices and appliances.  What’s the current count of devices/servers in this lab?  Today, it’s sitting at 109 total, but I’ll be adding at least 5 more servers in the next 3-4 days.

The beauty of it is that it is built like a real topology – complete with 4 separate “office” – two data centers and two branch offices.  It looks and behaves like a real office environment.  It’s great, but there’s always room for more.

I’d love to get a 3-node Nutanix cluster in my lab.  Maybe build them on Intel NUC’s running community edition.  I’ve never gotten a chance to really look into converged devices, so this would be a great way.

On the network side of the house, I’m interested in some WAN Accelerators.  Either Riverbed or Cisco WAAS, but I just haven’t had the time to set them up.

1 thought on “(Not) Home Lab Setup

  1. So from this you’d think Kevin’s dear old dad would have a finely tuned single-box server platform. Uh, not so much. After emergency replacement surgery following a HDD nosedive, many of the pieces are (figuratively) still laying among the ruins. Goes to show you how spoiled you can be if your very own mastergeek is (physically) nearby. I sure miss him!

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