Home Lab Overview

Since I work with different customers all the time, I am constantly testing things for work in my home lab. When customers and co-workers hear about my lab they often ask what hardware is in the lab. I’m putting this post together so I can point people here and say “this is it.”
The current version of my lab consists of 6 ESXi hosts, 2 Linux hosts, 1 Synology NAS, a Netgear 48 port switch and a Ubiquity Edgerouter X.
In the following picture, the items are as marked by colored areas as follows:
Purple – 1 x Netgear 48 Port Gigabit Switch, Model GS748T
Red – 2 x Shuttle DS81 Hosts Running CentOS Linux. Each host has a Celeron CPU and 16 GB RAM.
Yellow – 1 x Synology DS1815+ 8-bay NAS
Green – 3 x ESXi 6.0 Hosts in my management cluster. Each host has a Core i5 CPU, 64 GB RAM and 2 x Intel Dual port Gigabit NICs.
Blue – 3 x ESXi 6.0 Hosts in my workload cluster. Each host has a Core i5 CPU, 64 GB RAM, 2 x Intel Dual port Gigabit NICs as well as 1 x 128 GB SSD & 1 x 500 GB hard drive for vSAN.

Lab Picture

All of the hosts in the management and workload clusters are the same hardware. Each has an Intel CPU, 64 GB RAM (4 x 16 GB) and two dual port Intel NIC’s. 

The Linux hosts are re-purposed from the previous iteration of my home lab. I use them for Openstack and Docker testing and integration.

All of the ESXi hosts connect to the Synology NAS via NFS and store all VM’s on a single 10 TB volume. 

Each of the 3 hosts in the compute cluster take part in a minimal vSAN config that I use just for testing. I don’t usually store anything permanent there since it is 100% unsupported hardware. 🙂


Finally, I have a single switch that connects all the components. I have several VLAN’s designated for simulating specific network segments as well as providing a means to use VXLAN with NSX.

Everything has connectivity back to my home network and the internet via a Ubiquity Edgerouter X in a patch box where my FIOS Internet router is located.

Sometime in the future I’ll show the software in use but it’s fair to say it’s VERY VMware and Linux focused. 🙂

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2 Responses to Home Lab Overview

  1. Vincent says:

    What motherboard are you using on your i5 Hosts?

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