Home Lab – Let’s play ball!

I recently made the decision to finally get a lab. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time but either not had the time or finances to do it. After much deliberation and talking to others who also have a home lab already in place the decision was made to go with a HP Gen8 Microserver. The lab all up for a fully kitted out Microserver cost $1400. This included having to buy peripherals such as monitor, keyboard and mouse. As I moved house in the past few months I also managed to clear out any old kit I had lying around which meant having to purchase some new devices. I also purchased a new 8-port 1GB switch to connect the environment and allow me to scale if required.

The switch will connect to my internet facing router and using port forwarding I will be able to access the environment remotely. Noip.com will be used to dynamically update my external facing IP address to deal with those pesky power outages. This will also provide a DNS name I can access externally for web interface based projects. All for the princely sum of $0. I have decided to put VMware vSphere 5.1 on the host with the plan to upgrade to vSphere 5.5. When I begin these steps I will provide a documented update here on the blog. The vSphere 5.5 installation will be based on the last available beta release from VMware. The first project I want to work on is a Citrix XenDesktop deployment using Global Server Load Balancing on Netscaler VPX. So far I have only configured the switch as a pass-through device and the Microserver has vSphere 5.1 installed. The next steps are to get a cable long enough to travel from the switch to the router, configure port forwarding on the route to a DMZ based VM which will allow pass-through to the virtual environment.

Describing how the lab is built in these blog posts will also mean that if I get a disk failure then I’ll be able to rebuild based on the design plans 🙂

The HP Gen8 Microserver also functions as a NAS device. The spec is as follows:

Processor: Intel Celeron G1610T (2 core, 2.3 GHz, 2MB, 35W)

Number of processors: 1

Processor core available: 2

Power supply type: (1) 150W non-hot plug, non redundant power supply kit Multi-output

Expansion slots: (1) PCIe, for detail descriptions reference the QuickSpec

Memory, standard: 2GB (1x2GB) UDIMM (Upgraded to 16GB – 2x8Gb UDIMMs)

Memory slots: 2 DIMM slots

Memory type: 1R x 8 PC3-12800E-11 (ECC RAM required)

Included Hard drives: None ship standard, support up to (4) LFF SATA non-hot plug drives (Intalled 4x3TB Seagate 3.5″ HDDs)

Optical drive type: None ship standard

Network Controller: 1Gb 332i Ethernet Adapter 2 Ports per controller

Storage Controller: (1) Dynamic Smart Array B120i/ZM



HP PS1810-8G 8-Port Gigabite Switch