Home Lab

My home lab hardware has easily been the largest contributing factor to expanding my IT knowledge, and by extension my career. I would encourage every aspiring IT professional to get this type of project a shot.

It's not hidden, but it's not obnoxious
It’s not hidden, but it’s not obnoxious

Left to right: Lenovo TS140, Unifi USG, Unifi 8Port 60W switch, Unifi AP Lite, Raspberry Pi (Pi-Hole), Synology DS418, Brother USB printer, APC BR1000MS UPS

On the far-left is a Lenovo TS140. This is the Xeon model with the E3-1225v3 processor, and I have upped the RAM to 32GB of DDR3 ECC memory. Here’s a quick breakdown of what I’ve done and learned along the way

  • Lenovo TS140
    •  Virtualization
      • Current:  Hyper-V – Server 2016
      • VMWare ESXi – started with 5.5 and updated through 6.5 before switching.
      • Proxmox – open source virtualization. This would be my second choice if I wasn’t heavy into Microsoft as a career.
      • Constantly rotating and creating new VMs to explore new operating systems.
        • Ubuntu / CentOS / Debian / Server 2016 & 2019
    • Storage
      • 1x 120GB SSD – Operating System drive
      • 1x 500GB SSD – VHDX storage on ReFS volume
      • 3x 2TB Hitachi Deskstar ($30/per on eBay) – Storage Space volume creation
    • Networking
      • Teaming NICs with the addition of a PCIe LAN Card
      • Virtual Switches
    • Backups
      • 1x 1TB External HDD – VM Backup Repository for Veeam
      • Using the Veeam NFR licensing, configuring and testing of Veeam
      • Studying for VMCEv9 I heavily relied on this live environment
    • Active Directory
      • Home domain
      • Testing out new Features and Roles at will
      • Troubleshooting and replicating interesting situations freely

The virtualization aspect here really is key. By exploring a handful of different platforms I’ve been able to expose myself to new technology at a rate that others cannot manage. Again, this was all contained in JUST that Lenovo Server, it doesn’t include the actual networking hardware configuration!

I won’t go on with the Home Lab information here, as I want to produce individual posts for each of the primary systems as well as dig in a little deeper for some of the interesting parts. However, I will leave a bit of a gallery here of additional pictures before leaving the rest of this conversation to future-me.

USG, 8 Port Switch, PoE Unifi AP, Raspberry Pi 3+

Externals attached
Externals attached

Modem and APC UPS