New(ish) home lab

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JK2447, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. JK2447
    Highly Decorated Member Award 500 Likes Award

    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

    Hi all

    I'm sorry I've not been around much lately, I've been mad busy in work. I did however have the time to buy myself a new (second hand) home lab as I want to take my VMware certification all the way to the top tier VCDX. To get there, I need to pass my VCAP DCV Deploy currently booked for December 18th, pandemic permitting as this needs to be done physically onsite at a test center.

    My VCAP for now is based on vSphere 6.7, although the guys are very close to releasing the vSphere 7.0 version (I work for VMware). I hunted around for the best bang per buck as they say, and settled on three Dell T3610 Workstations. You can pick these up for around £250 on ebay for the Hexa core Xeon 1650 CPU version. They then cost me approx a further £250 to up the ram to the max 128GB and throw some SSDs in there to get all flash vSAN. Note you should have 10gb for all flash vSAN but 1GB works fine, the writes are just slower and you'd not do this in a production environment obviously, but it works.

    I upgraded the NICs to quad i350 T4s as I wanted SR-IOV so each of mine have 6 nics in total. And I chucked in two Quadro GPU's as I wanted to play with VMwares Bitfusion, to share GPU's over ethernet.

    Lastly I bought a cracking Netgear Prosafe JGS524E 24 Port Gigabit Ethernet Smart Managed Plus Switch which can do VLANs, link aggregation etc. £36 delivered from ebay :)

    All of the above is vSphere 7.0 ready, I spent a lot of time checking on the Hardware compatability list. I had agonised about buying my own lab but with 7 being in support until 2025, I figured what the heck, it will serve me for years, and I can really get back to being hands on in my own lab to cement what I learn. I'm currently a Technical Account Manager meaning I am no longer hands on but we'll see what 2021 brings.

    I plan to do a few posts on what I get up to. Do you have a home lab? Do you just use the public cloud or a test environment in work? I wasn't sure if the home lab was dead but it's very alive from when I've seen on twitter

    Certifications: VCP4, 5, 6, 6.5, 6.7, VCAP DCV Design, VMConAWS Skill, BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VSP, VTSP
    WIP: VCAP 6.5 DCV (Deploy)
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

    Looking to build a new desktop soon, that will be my 'lab'. Will post details when i do it.
    JK2447 likes this.
  3. FlashDangerpants

    FlashDangerpants Byte Poster

    It may be gratuitous, possibly even stupid, but I'm waiting on this to be in stock so that I can use it for gratuitous and stupid stuff
    Certifications: MCITP Exchange 2010, MCSA Svr 2012
    WIP: Exchange 2013
  4. Nyx

    Nyx Byte Poster

    Good luck on the exam!
    Lab looks really nice. Tbh I can't imagine how one would have time and will to set up labs and tinker with stuff after full time work plus life/wife/kids/whatever. Not to mention spending money on it :D Maybe I'm not that much into IT.
    I've always used work environment to click around when learning for certs. I think the chasm between greenfield lab and complex production is so vast that I don't even know how to really get much benefit from labbing. One advantage would be to easily simulate hardware failures that you can't really do with works kit:)

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