Why a Home Lab!?

After kicking around the idea of building a home lab for quite some time now I finally got around to actually doing it. Note: this is not what I would consider your standard or cheap lab by any means. This was built with the intentions in mind to have a production environment for the VM’s I use at home, some backup technologies and of course an ample study environment. In building this I definitely wanted to have space available for growth and enough power to run virtually anything I need. I wanted to have something in the home that was powerful enough to run basically anything that I could throw at it but at the same time was semi-quiet as to not disturb the family.


There are many reasons that someone would want to have their own virtualization lab at home but here are some of the more prevalent ones:

– Centralized Home Infrastructure:

What better way to take control of your home network than to build your own lab from scratch. Want an XBMC server in your house? Just spin a up a VM. There are countless things that you can do with a home lab. Check out www.reddit.com/r/homelab for some great ideas.

– Exam Study:

This is definitely a big one for me. I am currently working on obtaining the CCIE certification so I definitely need hands on with a lot of equipment and what better way to do that then by having your own lab at home.

– Learning:

The best way to learn something is by researching and actually deploying the solution yourself. What better way to do that than in the comfort of your own home where you don’t have to worry about the implications of messing up a solution in a production environment.

Below is a list of equipment that I went with for my lab. I decided to go with one 500GB SSD drive as main internal storage. ESXi will actually be installed on a flash drive and plugged into one of the internal ports on the motherboard. I will also be able to use the QNAP as an iSCSI target for additional storage among other things.

Equipment Purchased:


Nas Investment: $1,377

Server Build:

– iStarUSA 3U Server Rackmount Chasis (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811165083)

– Enermax Revolution X’t Power Supply (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194110)

– Intel Xeon E5-2603 Server Processor (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116936)

– Kingston Data Traveler 8GB Flash Drive (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239764)

Server Investment: $1,740

Total Investment: $3,117


 2014-12-02 18.21.03
2014-12-02 18.29.16
2014-12-02 18.29.27
2014-12-02 18.29.37
2014-12-02 18.30.30
2014-12-02 18.33.14
2014-12-02 18.33.34
2014-12-02 18.33.42
2014-12-02 18.33.49
Screenshot 2014-12-02 19.39.30
Below is a list of VM’s that I currently have running:
– DCSERV2 – Backup DC, DNS
– VEEAM – Backup Server
– WIN7VM – Main workstation for Work
– VCSERV1 – vCenter Server
– Cisco IOU – Lab/Study VM
– VIRL – Lab/Study VM
– CSR100V – Lab/Study VM

If you have any questions feel free to follow me on Twitter at @ipv4freely or email me at colby@colbyc.me
Posted in CCIE, Networking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *