20 Responses

  1. Kuntal Patel
    Kuntal Patel at |

    Ha ha. Awesome timing, Chris. I did exactly what you described – got all the hardware and have been using it for few weeks. This weekend, I decided to work on setting up the VLANs. That’s when I realized I had no freaking idea what any of my network cables are connected to. So now I am goingn to color coding the cables and replacing them. This post weeks few ago would have been so much better 😛

    1 quick question about the power strips. All my equipment is on a baker’s rack. I have 4 UPSes that power my lab and they are all on the bottom rack. Are you suggesting moving the UPS to be closer to where the machines are or are you talking about connecting powerstrips to the UPS and placing the strips by the machine?


    1. Michael
      Michael at |

      Due to weight (lower center of gravity provides increased stability), I personally would leave the UPSs on the bottom and locate the power strips near the machines.

  2. Keith Townsend
    Keith Townsend at |

    Great tips Chris. One tip that I never follow and I always regret – Documentation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve built a new lab just because I didn’t remember to document my earlier configuration months ago. This includes most importantly passwords.

  3. Chris Conlan
    Chris Conlan at |

    I’m currently looking at redoing my home lab. My AMD 8 core is nice and CPU is barely touched, but I maxed my 32GB of RAM and need another host. Thing is, I’d rather go with a micro or mini-ITX build to conserve on space and power. My 18U wall-mount rack only has so much space.

    I run about 8 VM’s on a Synology DS1812+ (with 3GB of RAM). I haven’t noticed anything as far as speed since I installed it a few months ago. I get anywhere from 70-95MB/s transferring from my workstation to my file server. Running a HP V1910-24G as my switch.

    Looking at the DS1813+ since it comes with 4 Gig ports and true Link Aggregation. I’m using a Enterprise Plus NFR at home so I’d love to play around with vDS and more.

    I’m still researching a powerful low-power Intel whitebox that can at least do 32GB of RAM.

  4. EV_Simon
    EV_Simon at |

    @ Chris Conlan. I would have a look at the Shuttle SH67H3, takes 32GB ram and I use the Intel i7 3770 cpu in mine, great little work horses and capable of running a single quad port NIC in there as well.

    Just about to take delivery of my 3rd one this week.

  5. Chris Conlan
    Chris Conlan at |

    Thanks for the suggestion. I was originally looking at Shuttle to see if they had a barebone yet for the Haswell CPU’s. Might just go with that build you suggested. I already have 32GB of GSkill from the old host to put in there. Just have to build an additional one so I can finally do vMotion.

  6. Rob
    Rob at |

    Nice Home Lab ! 🙂

  7. Paul Braren
    Paul Braren at |

    Excellent article!
    Here’s what I use to affordably automate shutdown of my ESXi home lab (during power outages), using a simple appliance with USB cable attached to this UPS:

  8. Chris Conlan
    Chris Conlan at |

    Well, I’m going with Haswell. No clue why, but seems like Provantage is the only one with the new Shuttle Haswell barebone. So I ordered that and the i7-4770s. Going to toss in my 32GB of memory from my other host and the Intel 4 port NIC and see how it goes.

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  10. Chris Conlan
    Chris Conlan at |

    I successfully got vSphere 5.5 to work on my new Haswell build:

    Shuttle SH87R6 Barebones kit
    32GB Patriot USB 3.0 Flash Drive
    32GB of G.Skill RipJaw Z DDR1866 (4x8GB)
    Intel I340-T4 Quad Port PCI-e NIC

    I am going to be putting in some spare SSD drives shortly to test out vSphere Flash Cache. Also, building an identical box this week. I’m trying out a different NIC that is about $100 cheaper (Intel Quad Port still).

    Storage resides on Synology DS1812+. I find it funny people I work with think I’m crazy for recommending Synology boxes for small business that want shared storage. EMC is not a good option for that.

    1. Raymond
      Raymond at |

      Did you have any issues with the SH87R6? On the shuttle website they don’t list the 4770s as a compatible CPU but they do list the 4770 and 4770k.

      1. Chris Conlan
        Chris Conlan at |

        Haven’t had any issues so far. I am having one host just spoke being able to be pinged after awhile, but I haven’t had a chance to troubleshoot it.

      2. Raymond
        Raymond at |

        That’s great thanks. Have you ever tried to pass the onboard video through to one of the VMs? If you have a chance could you give that a try? If I could get video output from one of the VMs I’d be able to use it as a HTPC which would be perfect.

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