Post VMworld, Upgrading the Home Lab

laboratoryWell it only took a few days after returning from VMworld 2013 to realize (more like want) I needed more power in my home lab. With all the great tech being offered both by VMware and its partner eco-system I took to NewEgg.com to spec out additional gear. Well, actually my first stop was Chris Wahls site (blog / Twitter) as he had posted previously about his “Baby Dragon II” build that peaked my interest several months back. Making the switch to micro-ATX, server class motherboards with IPMI makes a strong argument. With the smaller footprint of the hosts and the ability to manage them “headless” fits into the labs location, my garage. Using Chris’s build as the starting point I modified the components just slightly to accomplish my goals. As you will see below I used a different power supply and didn’t purchase the additional fans as I am not concerned about the additional noise level in the garage. Smile

THE LAB ENVIRONMENT

Primary Site Crucial-M4

My primary site hosts have been kicking around for a years old and are based on Intel Xeon Lynnfield cores. These hosts have served me well both in studying for various VMware exams as well as being used for writing the VMware study guides. Some of the components have been recycled from version 1.0 of the lab that was based on SuperMicro/AMD Opteron systems dating back to VI 3 days.These items are noted in the build list.

Secondary SiteLian-LI

The new hotness. Going to be use as my secondary site for playing/testing various BC/DR software.

Shared Storagesynology-ds1812

This was a recent upgrade to the lab as well. I replaced a pair of aging Iomega ix4-200d’s that just weren’t giving the kind of performance I was beginning to need. Based on the reputation from fellow VMware/home lab enthusiasts I went with an eight bay Synology unit. Along with the Synology I purchased four Crucial 256GB SSD’s to provide a performance tier as well as four Western Digital 1TB Red NAS drives for capacity. I am running the both sets of drives in a RAID10 configuration.

If you have any questions or comments about my lab or the builds please post them below!

-Jason