A new year and a new set of criteria for my homelab. I’ve been dealing a lot with deploying the entire vCloud Suite and SDDC. In one month I had deployed over 800 VM’s in my homelab. that’s about 26/day 7 days per week. Doing this required a bit more hardware than my original home lab and so I thought I’d share a few things with you all.
As you can tell from the picture, I’m not done with my home-made rack yet either, but it works for now. Below is a list of what I’m using. I will then jump into where I got it from and the costs.
Home Lab 2014:
- 3x (HP Proliant DL160 G6 Servers; 72GB Ram each, 2xQC Xeon L5520 @ 2.27GHz, 2xGB NIC 1xMGMT NIC, 4HDD bays)
- 1x Cisco SG200-26 Switch
- 1x Synology DS412+ (carryover from last year’s lab, really want an 1813+)
- 7x WD Red 2TB Hard Drives (4 in the Synology NAS and one in each of the Hosts)
Ok, So what do I have here? and How much did it cost. Let’s start with the Hosts.
HP Proliant DL160 G6 –
If it’s not on the HCL why did you buy it?
For several reasons actually:
- Power Consumption
How much was it?
Well, I found an ebay seller who pretty much just sells used datacenter servers.
I messaged him and told him I wanted 3 and asked if he could give me any discount, which he provided (small but helpful). These also include free shipping. I ended up getting mine for $540/each
What about the RAM?
Like I mentioned earlier. Each of these packs 72GB of RAM, which really was the biggest catch for me. This gives me roughly 220GB of RAM in my homelab *drools*.. ‘Nuff said here.
How much power does this consume?
Each of these servers has a 500watt PSU. Running with no workload, each server idles at about 175 Watts of usage and under a normal workload sits around 225 watts. This was ideal because I didn’t want a big increase in my electricity bills
Total Cost: $ 1920 (including Hard Drives)
Same as last year, but it now has DSM 5 running on it. This has allowed for a somewhat faster iSCSI performance (not as much as I was hoping for, but still reasonable). I chose Synology for many reasons. They make quality gear, it can function as many other servers at the same time (iTunes, Directory, PLEX, Cloud, etc etc), it supports NFS and iSCSI, Easy to use, familiarity.
I placed 4 WD Red 2TB drives in this and threw it into a RAID 5 configuration. could I have split it up differently?? sure… I’m not going to worry about that right now though.
Cost:$996 (including Hard Drives)
The Cisco SG200-26 is the perfect size for me in terms of growth/expansion as well as the capabilities of supporting LACP and VLANs. I have everything hooked up and configured via the management webpage and it took about 10 minutes. I also backed up my configuration just in case I need to reload it in the future.
Grand Total: $3,163
Seems like a decent chunk of change, and it is. Let me walk you through some reasoning here though.
1st, The loaded NAS I had from last year, so technically my cost this year was about $2,100. But let’s be honest with ourselves. I feel this was a good investment (I spent my tax refund on this, didn’t feel the bite out of my wallet). All of the knowledge and learning I can get from working in my lab, working towards certifications, and honing in on my skills will all be reflected in my pay. What’s my ROI? I’m hoping that it will be many times what I spent. What it will come down to once you purchase your gear and set it up is how much you will use it? How much of your investment are you going to leverage for your future? That’s where the ROI kicks in. I would suggest to anyone looking at building a lab that they do it right the first time and milk every penny out of it that you can. It’s well worth it.