2021: What's in my homelab?

I’ve talked about why everyone needs a homelab in my medium article but never had the courage to submit my homelab to the community homelab list maintained by William Lam . Mainly because I wasn’t sure how my lab would stack up against everyone elses' submission. With my latest post covering my experience enabling Tanzu with vSphere in my homelab, I feel like I’ve gone through the checklist of best practices and I’m proud of my minimalist(if i can say so myself) homelab setup!

https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6gbdUCgjRauJ3vLG/source.gif
Self Congrats!

Lab BOM

In this post, I’m going to provide an overview of what I’ve installed, cost of ownership, cost of operations and use cases

Hardware

  • 1x 15U Open Frame rack - approx $200 on ebay
  • 2x Dell R620 - approx $350(for RAM) + $100(for CPUs) + $400(for servers)
    • (unsupported CPU for vSphere 7.0)
    • CPU: 2x E5-2630 v2
    • Memory: 128GB RAM
    • Storage:
      • Model: PERC H310 Mini (for monolithic)
      • 2x 500GB HDD
  • 2x Dell R730 - approx $815(for RAM) + $100(for SSDs) + $950(for servers)
    • CPU: 2x E5-2620 v3
    • Memory: 128GB RAM
    • Storage:
      • Model: PERC H730 Mini
      • 2x 500GB HDD
      • 2x 100GB SSD
  • 1x Dell R720XD - approx $750
    • CPU: 2x Intel® Xeon® E5-2670
    • Memory: 92GB RAM
    • Storage:
      • Model: PERC H710
      • 12x 3.5" 3TB HDD
      • 2x 2.5" 1TB SSD
  • Cables, UPS and Accessories - Under $500

Networking

  • TP-Link (an old leftover router)
    • routes to my ISP through a firewall
  • Cisco 2960 Switch (mainly for VLANs)
    • 10.10.10.0/24 - (VLAN 10) Management
    • 10.10.20.0/24 - (VLAN 20) VM
    • 10.10.30.0/24 - (VLAN 30) vMotion
    • 10.10.50.0/24 - (VLAN 50) vSAN
    • 10.10.60.0/24 - (VLAN 60) NSX Overlay/TEP
    • 10.10.70.0/24 - (VLAN 70) NSX Uplink
    • default route back to TP-Link

Total Cost

  • Hardware: approx $4000
  • Electricity: under 50$ pm

SDDC Setup

  • Mgmt: ESXi 6.7 on 2x R620
    • vCenter 7.0 U1 GA
    • 2x NSX Manager
    • 2x NSX Edge
    • 1x VSAN Witness
  • Compute: ESXi 7.0 GA on 2x R730
    • 2 node vSAN Cluster enabled
    • NSX Overlay Network
    • Tanzu with vSphere Enabled
  • Networking (Load Balancing, Firewall etc)
    • 1x AVI Controller
    • 1x AVI Service Engine

Workloads

Common Services

  • 2x Windows 2019 Domain Controllers + DNS
  • 1x Windows 2019 Root CA (configured and shutdown)
  • 1x Windows 2019 Subordinate CA
  • 1x Windows 2019 Microsoft SQL
  • 1x Splunk (deprecated - poorly configured) - currently utilizing the Syslog capability from Unraid
  • 1x Ubuntu Docker (deprecated) - utilizing the Docker functionality from Unraid

EUC

  • WS1 UEM

    • 1x Console/Device Services
    • 1x Unified Access Gateway Appliance
    • 1x Access Appliance
    • 1x Access Connector Appliance
    • Bunch of Windows 10 VMs
  • Horizon

    • 1x Connection Server
    • 1x Composer
    • 1x Master Image
  • Templates

    • Bunch of Windows 10 Templates (built using Packer)
    • Bunch of Windows Server Templates
    • Bunch of Ubuntu Server Templates

Kubernetes

  • 1x Vmware Event Broker Appliance w/ OpenFaaS
  • 1x Ubuntu 20.04 Kubernetes Control Node
  • 2x Ubuntu 20.04 Kubernetes Compute Node

Use cases

  • Replicate and test Customer Scenarios
  • Build Demo environments for Events, Customer Workshops
  • Test new Technology and Products
  • Learn and test new automation capabilities
    • example - Packer and Terraform

How it started,How it’s going

/img/homelab/ghetto-rack.jpeg
They said I needed a rack for my servers
/img/homelab/first-esxi.jpeg
First ESXi Install
/img/homelab/first-cpu-swap.jpeg
Upgrading my first CPU
/img/homelab/baby-trouble.jpeg
Toddler trouble with the lab
/img/homelab/cable-mgmt.jpeg
When I asked my wife to assist with the cable management
/img/homelab/baby-proof.jpeg
Lab is now baby proofed

Wrap Up

Hopefully this gives you an idea of the costs involved and helps guide you in the decision making process - starting from procurement to install to configuration. While maintaining a homelab is a expensive ordeal and a huge undertaking in of itself, it gives me the opportunity to continuously learn as well as share those learnings broadly and widely!

“Life doesn’t put a limit on how much you can learn, you do.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

I want to sign off by encouraging anyone that are on the edge to get started today. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or assistance and I along with the #vExpert community will be happy to assist.

Contents