Home IT Lab

Network

  • Cisco Meraki MX64 Firewall & VPN
  • Cisco Meraki MS120-8 Core switch
  • Cisco Meraki MR33 WiFi AP
  • Dell PowerConnect 5424 Top of cabinet
  • Dell PowerConnect 5424 iSCSI fabric

Servers

  • Supermicro 1U8xl
  • Dell PowerEdge R720
  • Dell PowerEdge R410
  • Dell PowerEdge R300
  • Dell PowerEdge R210
  • Dell PowerEdge 1950
  • Dell PowerEdge 1950

Power, Storage, Backup & Misc

  • Dell PowerVault MD3000i iSCSI array
  • Dell PowerVault MD1000 iSCSI array
  • Dell PowerVault TL2000 Tape Backup
  • Dell 2161DS Network KVM
  • 3x APC SMT1500-RM2U

Rationale


Continuous education is vital for a successful career. By better understanding emerging technologies and trends, we can sharpen existing skills and learn new ones. 

One way I personally found that has helped me tremendously is by designing and building my own personal lab at home. A home lab allows me to dedicate the time I need to practice real word scenarios and test new technologies. Because of this it also helped me obtain vital certifications and develop a broader scope of technical understanding and capabilities.

My home lab has provided invaluable experience in:

  • Storage systems, SAN/NAS, NFS and iSCSI.
  • Virtualization technologies
  • Network & cabling best practices
  • Systems automation & configuration management (DevOps)
  • Network security, SSO & Federated login
  • Linux & Windows server integration

Systems summary


Currently, the lab is housed in a Dell 42U datacenter rack, with triple redundant APC UPS's feeding A/B PDU's. Networking is Cisco Meraki for Edge/VPN, core switching & WiFi access. Top of cabinet distribution is via a Dell PowerConnect switch, with another handling dedicated iSCSI traffic. Storage is provided by Dell PowerVault MD3ki and MD1k iSCSI disk shelves. The system is fully backed up to an on-premise Dell PowerVault TL2000 tape library.

The systems are all VMWare ESXi managed with VCenter/VSphere, and all all hosts are DRS & VMotion enabled. The virtual machines are a mix of Windows Server 2016 and SuSE Linux. SSO authentication for all systems including client VPN is provided by Windows 2016 AD/LDAP servers. Linux hosts provide various services such as MariaDB, Apache, NGINx, Plex media server, GitLab, Jenkins CI, IceCast, OwnCloud, Redis and Zabbix. Monitoring is done via PRTG, Zabbix and a full ELK stack. Additional systems are provisioned and hosted for others by special request.

Systems Status


Current systems status is dynamically updated via API and is available at https://status.home.aimana.com