The Home Lab Project

I’ve been slowly putting together a home lab which will meet certain criteria.

  1. Be Functional – I need a lab that will handle a majority of the VMware technologies I will be expected to deploy as a Senior Consultant.
  2. Be Affordable –  I don’t have unlimited funds, so I’ll need to show some restraint. I will also need to go easy on the power consumption.
  3. Be Sustainable – I want to be able to upgrade and add as my skills grow. I will also want to build the lab in stages to help defer the costs associated with owning a home lab.
  4. Small Footprint – My home office is limited in space, so a rack of servers won’t really work in my situation.
  5. Be Quiet – I’ll need fan-less or ultra quiet cooling.

With these objectives in mind, I have set out to procure my hosts for my first cluster.

Compute: Intel NUC NUC6I5SYH

Boot Device: Samsung 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit

Storage 1: SanDisk Ultra II 480GB SATA III

Storage 2: SSD Samsung NVMe SM951 128GB M.2 PCIe 3.0

Memmory: Crucial 32GB Kit (16GBx2) DDR4 2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) DR x8 SODIMM 260-Pin Memory

Network Adapter 1: StarTech USB31000S StarTech USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet NIC Network Adapter

Network Adapter 2: USB 3.0 to Dual Port Gigabit Ethernet Adapter NIC with USB Port

TOTAL PER UNIT: ~$940 USD (memory has doubled since I built my first host and the 128GB M.2 is no longer available. The 256GB M.2 is actually cheaper than the one listed here)

Managed Switch: NETGEAR JGS524E-200NAS 24-Port Gigabit Managed Switch

Router: Ubiquiti Edgerouter Lite ERLITE-3 Desktop Router

Cabling: Monoprice SlimRun Cat6A Ethernet Patch Cable – Network Internet Cord – RJ45


Grand Total for 3 Hosts and Networking: $3,045 USD