My Home Lab Setup

Though I wasn’t able to attend, the recent VMTN podcast was about the home lab setup. This is an important topic for many people new to virtualization to gain experience as well as people that are advanced in the technology.

There are a number of different ways to go about provisioning a home lab. Here are a few links to what other virtualization personalities are doing:

Since I finally got moving on the topic, I thought I’d share my lab configuration as well. There are two key technologies for my configuration: ESXi and DroboPro. Here is my lab layout:

image

Ironically, it isn’t that complicated as the diagram may seem. The most complicated piece is the Untangle gateway that serves as my firewall, internal DNS, DHCP, web content filter, and other network services. The Untangle appliance is on three networks, one of which (vmnic3) doesn’t exist as a physical media.

It looks like this (minus much of the wiring!):

image  
My less than fancy camera couldn’t squeeze it all in, but under the printer is my $300 desktop and beneath that is the ProLiant ML350 server (the little red light is a USB key that is running ESXi). On the desk from left to right is the DroboPro, PC speaker subwoofer, fireproof USB drive and standard USB drive. On the desk is the KVM and console to all physical systems. For my VMware testing, I use the ESX/ESXi as a virtual machine option extensively. Next year, I plan to buy two inexpensive servers to put on the RWVDEV.INTRA network than can give me a little more flexibility for installing things like Hyper-V clusters.

I hope this gives a good picture to what I’m doing in my lab. If you want to get started with a lab for Windows stuff, virtualization stuff or whatever and need advice, send me a note!

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52 responses to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rick Vanover, Vladan. Vladan said: RT @RickVanover: New blog post: My home lab setup for #virtualization http://bit.ly/5LD0FO […]

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  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by RickVanover: New blog post: My home lab setup for #virtualization http://bit.ly/5LD0FO

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  3. […] this article: My Home Lab Setup « Rick Vanover's Blog Plurk This Post Delicious Digg This Post MySpace Ping This Post Reddit This Post […]

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  4. […] Rick Vanover – My Home Lab Setup […]

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  5. […] My homelab – Drobo […]

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  6. Posted by vesaPill on January 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    You realize subwoofers work on the premise of vibration, and that the biggest threat to hard drives is… vibration. Right?

    Reply

  7. Yes, I know of the vibration risk. But, consider that I only drop beats in the lab probably once a month to make any substantive activity from the subwoofer. It is usually powered off and only the flat panels are in regular operation.

    Reply

  8. […] Most of my colleagues have a home lab with at least some equipment that is rackable, but because of expense, room size, or the decor concerns of a much smarter significant other purchasing a data center rack is not possible (or advisable). In fact, our servers, storage and switches are stacked under a desk, piled in a corner, or hidden in a coat closet. Virtualization and server consolidation has helped reduce the total amount of hardware we need running at home, but we still end up with a makeshift and cluttered workspace that keeps us in the dog house. […]

    Reply

  9. Cool setup Rick! Thanks for sharing!
    And, by the way, I love that whiteboard diagram – too funny.
    -David

    Reply

  10. Rick,

    Nice little setup you’ve got there. I am not big fan of the drobo, how is it doing for you?

    I’ve managed to setup something at home for vmware:

    http://www.virtualization.net/58-building-home-virtualization-lab-on-a-budget/

    I did buy N7700PRO for storage, good device so far.

    Reply

  11. It is “OK” Sure, I’d like it faster, but for the price point I’ve found that almost all of the products are in the same category as performance goes. The adaptive RAID technology (BeyondRAID) that Drobo uses fits my need best, however.

    Reply

  12. […] admit it: My personal lab was hacked. At the time, I had the remote desktop protocol (RDP) as my interim remote access […]

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  13. Posted by Bali on September 17, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    hey bro. i like your setup , i am also planning to setup a virtual lab and i am not sure where to start. to begin with i bought an PC with i7 quad. processor and 16 gig of ram. but it does not have a iSCSI and the mother board does not support it either. i can buy and extra NIC for Gig support. please let me know what i need to do from here. also i dono about the licensing, will i be able to use Virtual center to do Vmotion and stuf on a ELU license ?

    Reply

  14. @Bali: You can use evaluation licenses, but they are time-limited for all the good functionality.

    Reply

  15. […] for more on this cool new product, as I’ll set it up in the Rickatron Lab this […]

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  16. […] my personal lab, I have a small iSCSI SAN that provides my vSphere test environment. It is a single-path solution, […]

    Reply

  17. […] my personal lab, I have two GPOs at the top of the domain that would execute for all objects in the domain but […]

    Reply

  18. […] is a great product, except that it doesn’t natively do housekeeping functions for you. In my personal lab, I noticed that I had an obsolete domain controller enumerated in the site (running at Windows […]

    Reply

  19. […] is a great product, except that it doesn’t natively do housekeeping functions for you. In my home lab, I noticed that I had an obsolete domain controller enumerated in the site (running at Windows […]

    Reply

  20. […] There are a number of factors that go into getting a PCI scan for an Internet-facing IP address. The first is the requirement that they are performed by an external party that is an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV). Recently, I gave the QualysGuard PCI service a test drive for performing a scan of a system in my personal lab. […]

    Reply

  21. […] There are a number of factors that go into getting a PCI scan for an Internet-facing IP address. The first is the requirement that they are performed by an external party that is an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV). Recently, I gave the QualysGuard PCI service a test drive for performing a scan of a system in my personal lab. […]

    Reply

  22. Dear @ WTI NewsBlog: You have been copying a number of my posts. I’ve informed TechRepublic of this, and I’d appreciate you either not copy my posts or use fair-use guidelines.

    Reply

  23. dog houses need not be elegant, it only needs to be a design that makes it easier for us to clean “~:

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  24. […] have used Untangle for a few years for the Internet connectivity and network management for my personal lab. For that network, I provide DNS, DHCP, content filtering, and port and protocol management all for […]

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  25. […] virtualize itself post on VMware employee Eric Gray’s VCritical blog. I maintain a [Link: http://rickvanover.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/my-home-lab-setup/%5D personal lab, as my employer’s resources are not the best place for virtualization science […]

    Reply

  26. […] a problem with a storage product. The issue was with a Drobo storage device. I use a DroboPro in my personal lab, so I’m quite familiar with the series of […]

    Reply

  27. Hey Rick, nice setup you got goin’ there.
    Two questions: Why ESXi and not MS Hyper-V? Is it the free ESXi version?
    And – you got any pointers on how to “build” a “SAN?” I’ve looked at some of Dell’s, but they are way out of my league.

    Thanks!

    Reply

  28. Juan:

    I did not use Hyper-V as that hypervisor doesn’t support nested virtualization. I need to get exposure with Hyper-V, but need additional compute capabilities to so such. Make sense?

    Reply

  29. […] my Rickatron virtualization test lab, I have a capable, mainstream physical server and small SAN; I also make extensive use of the […]

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  30. […] command syntax is: sudo domainjoin-cli join domain user. In the case of the domain, I’m using my personal virtualization test lab’s RWVDEV.INTRA domain name, and the syntax and its success is shown in Figure C. Figure […]

    Reply

  31. […] for a free 120 day trial. I recently downloaded this antivirus protection for my Windows Servers in my personal virtualization test lab. It is important to have some antivirus solution for my lab server operating systems, as I am […]

    Reply

  32. […] the course of provisioning Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 in my home virtualization lab, I decided to leverage the Hyper-V Server standalone installation, which closely resembles Windows […]

    Reply

  33. […] — Hazim Anzawi @ 9:39 pm In the course of provisioning Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 in my home virtualization lab, I decided to leverage the Hyper-V Server standalone installation, which closely resembles Windows […]

    Reply

  34. […] useful information about the vSphere environment. The vHealth tab was particularly helpful to my home lab because it identified files that were not mapped to an active virtual machine (Figure B). This is […]

    Reply

  35. […] useful information about the vSphere environment. The vHealth tab was particularly helpful to my home lab because it identified files that were not mapped to an active virtual machine (Figure B). This is […]

    Reply

  36. […] the image to enlarge. The option shown is where I have configured for my Active Directory domain in my home lab to configure computers with a lid (such as laptops) to do nothing when the lid is closed. This is […]

    Reply

  37. […] run vSphere in my personal lab, and I am constantly pushing my memory configuration to the max. To try to keep up with this moving […]

    Reply

  38. […] plug-ins are installed, the Add Host wizard can be run within this area of the vSphere Client. In my personal lab, I added a Hyper-V Server to the vSphere Client. Once this is completed, a number of basic […]

    Reply

  39. picture disney fairies,

    Reply

  40. […] serves a number of purposes, but one that irritates me is nomenclature. Figure A is a screenshot of my personal lab, and I have not done a good job in naming the GPOs. Ideally, a GPO is self-documenting so that it […]

    Reply

  41. […] These tips are general guidelines, and any of you keeping score will note that my screenshot from my personal lab is not exactly following all of these recommendations. It’s fine for a lab, but in […]

    Reply

  42. […] successful as a Windows Server administrator is because I use a test environment. I maintain a small private test lab at home, where I make extensive use of virtual machines and evaluation software. Evaluation software is […]

    Reply

  43. […] delivers a lot of powerful features; including many available for free. I’ve used Untangle in my personal lab, and have been very pleased with the product. Version 7.2 of the Untangle appliance has been […]

    Reply

  44. […] Brad Bird hit home with me. Making a home lab is important, but it can really add up! I maintain a private lab at home where I do extensive testing with virtualization for various network and Windows Server […]

    Reply

  45. […] fields to show), and the timer set to zero will not display the configuration file. Note: This in my personal lab; a production environment may not want to use the directory netlogon share for this type of thing. […]

    Reply

  46. […] machine’s provisioned and used storage amounts are displayed. Figure A shows a file server in my personal lab displaying these allocations. Figure […]

    Reply

  47. […] you have followed all of my ramblings on Twitter and checked out my home lab, you may have noticed that I use a Data Robotics Drobo device for iSCSI storage. The Drobo series […]

    Reply

  48. […] against that configuration. I’ve downloaded this tool, and I’m preparing to run it in my home lab environment, which includes three ESXi hosts and a vCenter Server. For the purpose of my home lab, I have not […]

    Reply

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  50. Woah I really like your site content, bookmarked! My wife and i loved your posts.

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  51. Posted by saif on May 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I am new to VM, I have background of EE with little networking but I loved VM and wanted to learn it. Since it is not possible to get a chance at my work, I am thinking to setup a small lab at home for vSphere, ESXi 5.x, Windows server and some SAN peripherals to implement some kind of storage with FCoE and iSCSI. I have very limited budget and no on hand experience of either SAN or VM. Any recommendation or advice will be appreciated.

    Reply

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