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.
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.
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.