Starting a Home ESX Lab

I’ve been working on a few projects recently in my spare time. Since I rarely get the chance to keep track of everything I’ve worked on I thought using a blog may be a nice way to maximise my commute time every day whilst keeping track of what I’ve been up to.

Recently I visited India for a client that was setting up a new facility. My primary responsibility was ensuring the software worked correctly but I’ve always been a bit of a hardware fan. Before I’d finished school I had a LAN at home with 16 different machines with most flavours of BSD and Linux. I clearly needed my own dedicated primary and secondary DNS.

This was in the 1990s when computers were inefficient and thankfully electricity was fairly cheap. These were the days that co-location was solely based on the number of Us rather than current usage. Things have changed a little since then and I decided it was time for me to get more heavily involved in virtualisation.

I’ve used Amazon’s and Rackspace’s cloud services for the last couple of years, was offered a technical evangelist role with a major cloud software monitoring company a couple of years ago and led the client-facing software side of a smaller cloud provider in 2011/2012. What I haven’t done however is get my hands truly dirty with hardware in the last couple of years.

So I’m starting to setup my home lab and this time I’ll be taking advantage of some virtualisation whilst also refreshing some of my other hardware and networking skills.

I am aiming to create a fully virtualised infrastructure in my home office from router to all service provision. The network will be designed how I’d work on a corporate network for some practice but with some access for consumer devices as well. Key goals for this project are going to be low power, low noise and high performance. Minimising the amount of space I’m using is far less important than having a home office that I can actually work in.

Stay tuned and hopefully some interest tidbits will appear over the next few months.


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