Home Lab (Pre-planning)

Over the next few weeks I will be building out two home labs from scratch.

  1. A production lab with the expectation that it can sustain a small business user environment of up to 25 users.
  2. A demo lab that will be used for testing before doing a professional install.

While I call the first environment a “lab”, it will actually function as the backbone to my house. This lab is intended to keep my day to day sysadmin skills sharp as I maintain my own DHCP, DNS, Active Directory, vCenter, virtual desktops, firewall rules, VLANs, and more.

Last week I ran out to Amazon.com to fill up my shopping cart with the following:

I’ll beat any readers to the punch and say that I completely agree my home lab is probably overkill. I will also counter and say that having similar tools at home to what I use at work will only make me better at what I do. Not to mention building out this project will give me an excellent opportunity to document the install and setup process from start to finish on everything needed to start up a basic I.T. infrastructure.

The second lab environment will be used for preparing for projects where I don’t want it to cross over to (and possibly take down) my production lab. This could include things like preparing for a VMware in-place upgrade or a BGP networking job. Because it is a lab I will likely only spin up on an “as needed” basis, I am not going to spend to much on its infrastructure and it will likely consist of a lot of repurposed equipment. It can of course piggyback off my newly purchased firewall, switches, ect.

With the major purchases underway I’ll need to start planning out my network infrastructure before I move on to the any actual building of the lab. Stay tuned…