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. 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