Extended my home lab

I’ve recently extended my home lab with additional capacity. In addition to my Windows Server + VMware Workstation (info here) I’ve added refurbished HPE DL380 G7 server with following configuration:

1 x Intel Xeon Processor X5650 2.66Ghz
96GB RAM
1TB HDD
will add SSD in the future

The added server is running VMWare ESXi 6.7. It hosts vCenter 6.7 appliance and also few virtual ESXi 6.7 instances. HPE G7 series servers are not officially supported by VMWare to run ESXi 6.7 but it seems to be working for now.

I found my refurbished HPE G7 server from Ebay.

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My home lab configuration

Beginning of the year I replaced my old home lab (HP ML110 G5) with a new custom configuration.

Configuration

  • Intel i7-4820K
  • Gigabyte X79-UP4
  • 8 x 8GB Kingston DDR3
  • 250GB Samsung EVO – OS drive
  • 500GB Samsung EVO – virtual machines
  • 6 x 4TB WD Red – Storage space pool
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • VMware Workstation 10

Hardware

CPU and motherboard was selected by following criterias – 64GB RAM, decent amount of SATA ports and reasonable price. SSD for OS and VMs was obvious choice.  6x4TB was included because I use the same machine to store my media library and backups.

Storage spaces

I created one storage space pool from six 4TB disks. From pool I carved out 16TB parity disk for media library, 2TB parity disk for backups (dedupe enabled) and 4TB striped disk for virtual machines which needed more space then I was able to provide from SSD.

VMware Workstation

I chosed VMware Workstation because of following reasons

  • Easy to run nested hypervisors – ESXi, KVM, HyperV and XenServer
  • Linked clones – feature that allows me to clone from single template a number of similar virtual machines. Saves a lot of space on SSD disk.

What I do with my home lab?

A lot of different things.

  • Hypervisors – ESXi, HyperV, XenServer
  • Windows infrastructure – AD, DNS, File server, etc
  • Linux servers – glusterfs test servers, nagios, cacti, etc
  • Storage appliances – FreeNAS, QuadStor, etc
  • Testing new things
  • and much more ….