Home Lab 2016 – Part 1

Home Lab 2016 – Part 1



Having a home lab is every IT enthusiasts dream come true, and now I can finally say that I have fulfilled that dream!  I previously was (and currently still am…) using a 1-node “white box” system I had built from a spare gaming machine I had laying around, running on an open air tech bench from TopDeck.  It’s comprised of the following:

  • 1 x ASUS Maximus Gene V motherboard w/ Intel 82579 LOM NIC
  • 1 x Intel core i5-3570K
  • 1 x ADATA SP600 32GB SSD
  • 1 x Samsung Evo 840 Pro 1TB SSD
  • 1 x Seagate 1TB HDD
  • 1 x Intel 82574 (single-port) NIC
  • 1 x Intel 82576 (dual-port) NIC
  • 1 x Corsair HX650 PSU

And even though it runs great, I simply felt it wasn’t enough as I basically wanted to replicate a mini-datacenter for my lab which would help tremendously with my VMware studies and overall VMware knowledge.

So I quickly got to work and embarked on the adventure of creating my new lab.  I started off by opening a Feedly account and subscribing to numerous other user and community blogs, reading what others did to create and build/setup their homelabs, and also checked out some youtube channels.

Lot’s of good reads out there…


Wahl Network

VMware Front Experience



Just to name a few…

I also spent the last year+ researching, planning, designing, and purchasing the equipment for my new lab.  And since I wanted somewhat of a low power solution (as to not incur outrageous electric bill charges) I settled on SuperMicro’s A1SAi-2750 ATOM SOC (System-on-a-chip) Mini-ITX motherboards.  Boy do these things boast a boatload of features (not getting into specifics as you guys know how to use Google I’m sure…)!  Since I also wanted to have them in a rack to replicate a mini-datacenter, I went with a Navepoint 9U rack enclosure.  I bought some Sandisk USB’s, some SSD’s & HDD’s (for eventual VSAN setup), and extra NIC’s (for redundancy and best practices), 1U cases, and some Synology NAS devices.  Here’s my entire part’s list…

  • 1 x Navepoint 9U Rack Enclosure
  • 1 x Cisco SG300-10
  • 1 x Cisco SG300-52
  • 1 x ICC 48-port feed-thru Cat6 Patch Panel – 1U
  • 1 x Cyberpower PR1000LCDRT2U UPS
  • 1 x Cyberpower PDU15SW10ATNET ATS/PDU
  • 4 x SuperMicro A1SAi-2750
  • 4 X SuperMicro 504-203B 1U rackmount cases (contains a 200W PSU in each case)
  • 4 x Sandisk 16GB USB 3.0
  • 4 x Kingston 120GB SSD
  • 4 x HGST 500GB 7200RPM 2.5” HDD
  • 4 x SuperMicro 1×3.5” to 2×2.5” Converter Brackets
  • 4 x SuperMicro PCI-E x8 L-shape riser cards
  • 4 x Intel I350-T4 (quad-port) NIC
  • 16 x 16GB Micron 1600MHz DDR3 204-pin SO-DIMM RAM

And for NAS storage…..

  • 1 x Synology DS415+
  • 1 x Synology DX213 Expansion Unit
  • 2 x Micron M500DC 800GB SSD
  • 2 x Micron M500DC 480 SSD
  • 4 x Sabrent 2.5” to 3.5” Bay Converter
  • 2 x HGST 6TB 7200RPM 3.5” HDD

The Networking components…

  • 1 x Ubiquiti EdgeRouter ERLite-3
  • 1 x ASUS RT-AC68U wifi router
  • 1 x Cisco SG300-10 SMB L2/L3 switch
  • 1 x Cisco SG300-52 SMB L2/L3 switch

And last, but definitely not least…. a slew of Monoprice Cat6 24AWG Flexboot cables (various lengths)

Phew!…what a list!  Wait!…am I missing anything??

The end result…my new mini-datacenter homelab 2016!! (with previous Dev “white box” system to the side) 

Stay tuned for Part 2 ( I hope) where I plan on “Putting it all together”!

Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts/feedback…and words of encouragement so I can continue on this new blogging adventure!


CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Home Lab 2016 – Part 1 by virtualex is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.