My Home Lab

Hello all,

Here are some details on my home lab.

  • four Supermicro SYS-5028D (128 GB RAM)
  • two Netgear 8 port 10 GB switcch (XS708E)
  • two Dell R710 - one using Nexenta supplying 3.51 TB of shared storage.  The other is FreeNAS supplying 3.4 TB.
  • one Synology DS1813+

The Supermicro are my ESXi hosts, and one of the 10 GB switches is for my storage network (and vMotion), and one for management. The two Dell are used as storage - one with Nexenta, and one with FreeBSD installed. They both have 10 GB cards in them.

As I am a BCDR kind of guy, I have two vCenters, with two clusters - one as my production site, and one as my DR site - so two hosts in each cluster.  Yes, all in my basement but still it works good.

The Supermicro, and Dell are quite quiet. I use Horizon View to access the lab when I am remote which is often.  I use both my MacBook Pro and iPad to access the lab.

I use the Synology as a NFS destination for Log Insight backups, and as an SMB share for file sharing.

I use vRealize Operations to help manage things, and Log Insight too.

Here is an article about NUC vs Supermicro from my point of view. Here is an article about installing Supermicro servers. Here is an article about making Nexenta work in my lab.


After listening to Virtual Speaking on home labs I thought I should add a little more to this article.

My first home lab gear was a Compaq Proliant 1900.  It had Novell installed on it.  I used it to test things before I did it at work for customers. Throughout my professional services career I did bigger lab and I did a lot of customer work in my own lab first - in a smaller footprint of course but it helped me out a lot.

When I joined VMware, I used my home lab for beta and my work lab for production. It was configured as a BCDR lab so that I had a production site and a DR site in both cases. Even at Veeam working with VAO I used the lab the same way. At VMware the dev people liked my lab as I never deleted it so it accumulated crud as I upgraded and upgraded.  So they could find answers to questions in my home lab sometimes. I even tested a few patches before they were released due to how I managed my lab.

Now I am at NetApp HCI so my lab is for my play.  I was not able to get into VMware beta for the next release but I hope to next time.

If anyone has questions or comments let me know.  This is a most excellent lab that helps me out enormously.


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