In previous iterations of my home lab, I’ve built on the premise of keeping things as close to a ‘production’ system as I could. This meant running physical equipment and setting up scenarios with that line of thinking. This grew from two physical hosts that I bought back in 2010 and then grew into the three vSAN nodes that I added in 2014 and Cisco 3750G switches that I added in as well. I managed to build out a dual-DC type of configuration and it worked great for quite a while.
Since joining VMware in late 2014, my lab has been satisfactory to keep my skills current. As I made the transition to the Networking and Security Business Unit, NSBU, at VMware in January of 2016, the lab has been in need of some updating. Recently I made a decision to build out a new home lab, this time consisting of high-end pieces and going with nesting. I sold off my vSAN nodes, moved one of my old servers to be my wife’s new desktop, it’s still a badass for what she needs, and I got rid of the loud and power-hungry 3750G’s. The result has been a dramatic reduction in heat and noise in my office which is where I had to put my lab as I’m not fortunate to have basement where I can this gear.
As I started going down the path of deciding what I wanted to build, I knew it had to be powerful, quiet, and as power-efficient as possible. I wanted maximum capabilities to run multiple topologies and basically be a on-premises version of VMware’s OneCloud environment we have to demo and testing. With my new job in the NSBU and working with the VMware NSX platform, there are so many different use cases that I wanted to be able to setup and test out that my Healthcare customers may run into. With some back and forth with my homeDC peer, Erik Bussink, I came up with a build that does just that.
The build consists of the following:
- SuperMicro X10SRH-CLN4F-O
- Intel Xeon E5-2620v4
- 256GB Crucial DDR4 ECC
- Noctua HSF
- Fractal Design R5
- Intel P3608 1.6TB NVMe SSD
- SanDisk 16GB USB drive
- Rosewill 750W PSU
The best thing about this was I was able to sell all the other parts of my home lab and not have to add too much more cash to build this. I got a really good deal on the NVMe drive off eBay as those can run as much as $2500 by themselves.
The rest of my lab consists of the following:
The result has been a new high-powered and fully capable lab system that meets all my requirements.