Home Lab

My home lab is an ever-changing, almost perpetually broken monstrosity of noisy, dusty, old hardware. But it’s a fastastic place to learn, test configurations and generally figure things out!


From top to bottom…

  • 24-port Patch Panel (to rooms around the rest of the house)
  • 2 * HP 1800-24G Switches (Cheapest gigabit switches I could find that supported VLANs and LACP)
  • Watchguard X750E running PFSense, upgraded with a 4GB CF card and 1GB DDR2 (Fantastic 1U box, <£50 on ebay and 8x Gig ethernet ports!)
  • Cisco 3560 POE
  • Cisco 3560
  • Cisco 3550
  • 3 * Cisco 1841 (with various cards)
  • 6 * Cisco 2620XM (with various cards, serial etc)
  • 2 * Dell 1950 I, 2* DC Xeons, 16GB (VMWare hosts booting from USB (for VCP labs)
  • Dell 2950 III, 2 * QC Xeons, 16GB, 6*73GB SAS, Server 2012 R2 (Running as an iSCSI SAN, vCenter and other random lab tasks)
  • And in the back of the rack I have a Cisco 2511AS-RJ access server with an old school AUI-Ethernet converter
  • On top of the rack, 2x Cisco 1131 APs for wireless labs

To the left of the rack there are a couple of tower servers:

  • Custom built NAS box with 8*3TB hard disks running Server 2012R2 with storage spaces/dedup for ISOs, backups etc
  • My main VMWare powerhouse, 2*AMD 8128 8-core CPUs, 96GB RAM, ASUS board, 3* 600GB SAS RAID0, LSI RAID controller, Silverstone TJ10 case with pretty green fans!

Most of this gear isn’t switched on most of the time, apart from the tower servers and the watchguard as it’s so noisy and power hungry. It’s in a downstairs cupboard with a door though so it’s out of the way at least … I fitted a bathroom extractor fan on the outside wall behind the rack so it doesn’t overheat TOO much. Cisco kit is feeling a bit unloved for the moment while I concentrate on VMWare (having a L3 3560 switch connected to VMWare is a godsend for testing though …) but i’ll be firing up all the routers again soon i’m sure 🙂

Any questions or complaints (!) about this setup please feel free to contact me through the contact page here or via LinkedIn (see the right column)

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