What constitutes a good home lab setup these days?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JK2447, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    Hi All, I have to hold my hands up that I'm massively out of touch with what constitutes a good home lab these days. In my day it was all about the HP ML's and Micros.

    Do any of you have labs at home? What are people going for these days? I've seen some cracking supermicro superservers about but they can get very pricey.

    I'm not looking to buy a lab, I wish I could but I've got too much on at the moment. I like hearing what people are using however for their studies.

    Cheers
    Jim
     
    Certifications: VCP4, VCP5, VCP6, VCP6.5, 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 (Design)
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  2. Jaron78

    Jaron78 Gigabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Good question mate.

    I think it depends on what constitutes a Lab really.
    I have a friend that has a whole setup in his shed. Routers, Switches, Servers, the works, whilst I have other friends who have one high spec Desktop machine and its all run via VM's.

    My Lab at the moment is a Lenovo Laptop running Linux. Not very exciting but I really need to get an idea of how to use Linux, especially from the Command Line.
     
  3. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    Ditto @Jaron78, all I've got at the moment is this macbook pro with 16gb and VMware fusion for booting up bits and bobs. I wonder how many people studying for certification are getting labs setup at home. Again showing my age, we all would when we were studying for our VCP or MCSE. Possibly people are using hands on labs or similar these days to keep costs low, or just not bothering anymore.

    Good work learning Linux by the way mate. I've been playing with CentOS of late, installing LAMP and some basic bits to dust off some cob webs myself
     
    Certifications: VCP4, VCP5, VCP6, VCP6.5, 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 (Design)
  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    Never had a lab ever, last 10 years all I've really used is a laptop.

    A couple of things I've used AWS or other cloud solutions for.

    When I was doing CUDA I used a desktop.

    I use linux and windows all the time with no issues, both VM and non VM.

    I don't do much networking, so maybe if I was say doing CCNA it would be different, but even then there are simulators.
     
  5. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    Cheers Dave, good to know. What about Docker and Kubernetes and things like this, do you just use Workstation or Fusion or the like on your desktop? I've got docker on this mac but not used it a great deal yet, just for me to learn about containers and docker
     
    Certifications: VCP4, VCP5, VCP6, VCP6.5, 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 (Design)
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    I've played with Mesos, Marathon, Ansible, Vagrant, Docker, Hadoop.

    Never used Kubernetes.

    I mainly use Docker, Vagrant, VirtualBox and VmWare Workstation when doing that sort of thing.

    I don't own a mac and have never used Fusion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
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  7. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    Thanks Dave. Appreciate your input there as our resident development guru. While I have you and I'm talking about servers, what is your take on serverLESS technologies? Do you see an increasing demand for such things? BaaS and FaaS offerings? I know very little although I was hugely impressed (doesn't take much) when I stumbled upon a website that used wordpress but was serverless using something called shifter
     
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    WIP: VCAP 6.5 DCV (Design)
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    Familiar with some PaaS and IaaS stuff. Heard of AWS lambda but never used it or any other FaaS.

    Many IT departments suck at both bare metal and cloud deployments, so it probably adds a lot of value.

    I can rarely get a turnaround from corporate IT of less than 4 weeks, developers typically want to do things in days. After 25 years in IT I have never seen an IT department that adds value to the development department, they generally act as blockers and massively increase cost and duration of projects.

    This is one reason for the creation of DevOp's, but generally such departments have predominately IT support staff, typically the same mindset persists and progress is slow and inefficient.

    Often they are obsessed with CAB, Ticket Systems, and Big Bang deployments, they are fundamentally non-agile and not interested in creating agile environments.

    Its not uncommon for me to have to deal with 8+ IT departments and none can get the job done.

    Just deploying your code without having to worrying about infrastructure is a nice idea, really the cloud should be able to auto-scale and load balance a well designed application without much intervention.

    Everything is going Containers, Micro-Services and Infrastructure as Code, so in general it seems a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
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  9. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    I completely agree. The change process and traditional methods for deploying infrastructure can be ridiculously slow. I think virtualisation has played a big part in helping the more streamlined businesses deploy a VM is 30 minutes say, but I also think that containerisation takes this to a whole new level allowing developers to seize back some power from the traditional admins and cut through red tape.
    I think that a developer should to a degree not care what it's running on and be able to say, just run my flippin code.

    We've got some really cool products that support this sort of development, such as vSphere integrated containers which let do you your thing but also let the admins scale out and monitor resource utilisation of hosts. NSX too which can monitor and secure the traffic coming out of your containers. All cool stuff and more working with you than the traditional ways which I'd imagine as a developer feel like they're working against you
     
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    WIP: VCAP 6.5 DCV (Design)
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  10. Juelz

    Juelz Gigabyte Poster

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    I use my mac, 16gb Ram, 250 SSD with an added 500GB internal HDD (sacrificed the disk drive) mainly run parallels for my labbing.
     
  11. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    I have a few servers in my office for lab work but they are rarely on these days – I have enough spec on my works laptop, which is enough for what I need just now.

    Interesting comments on IT departments supporting developers.

    The last software development company I supported (Windows 2003\XP time) I got on with well – I created a new internal domain for the developers and gave them their own cabinet so we could try various builds etc. They also got full admin rights etc. and choices of images they could deploy to various servers\PCs etc.

    Unfortunately, they got bought out and an internal IT guy started. First thing he did was detach all devices from the developers domain and attached them to the users domain - everyone got locked down so they kept having to speak to him for permission changes and access to the server room etc. The whole process slowed down and but he was sure that this was a better process. I spoke to him when our contract ended and I said there was very small risk at the speed I was making changes for the developers side of the network but with some common sense I did think it was a better approach rather than taking days to process a “change request” or whatever he called it. :)
     
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  12. SimonD
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    SimonD Terabyte Poster

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    That there is why there is such a large shadow IT infrastructure out there and the likes of AWS / Azure have such a large impact on IT budgets.

    ITIL minded individuals rarely understand the requirement for somewhat fluid IT, in a development environment you shouldn't 'need' change control, however when you progress along the CI / CD pipeline you absolutely have to start controlling what happens with the environments as they start to progress. You implement tighter controls on patching (dare I say it, you introduce immutable templates for the entire CI/CD process therefore not risking breaking something halfway through the development cycle because you introduced something new into the environment without proper testing).

    I think for LAB environments it's a good idea to have a play with AWS but if you want something at home then it's really going to depend on your budget on whether you use a couple of NUCs or go for a bulkier desktop style machine with more ram.

    Better still if you can get a rack of obsolete hardware thrown into a DC somewhere for you to play with tho :D
     
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  13. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    Sorry I probably took this thread way off topic discussing developers. I don't mean to sound harsh towards infrastructure people as I class myself as one. I just think developers a lot of the time don't want to worry about the platform and want to cut through red tape to get code published faster then traditional change processes can cope with.

    Thanks for the lab talk lads. I was boredast night so had a look at some of the older rack servers you can get. Oldish dell and hp servers with tons of ram for buttons. It's just storing and powering those suckers isn't it ha ha

    I quite like those nucs. Three on your desk would look smart I reckon although I'd imagine with ram and disks the price goes up fast on those
     
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    WIP: VCAP 6.5 DCV (Design)
  14. SimonD
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    SimonD Terabyte Poster

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    My only real gripe with NUCs is the limited networking, I have 5+ NICs coming out of my Shuttle PCs, dedicated storage nics / switches etc.
     
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  15. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    Ah yes fair comment. Those shuttles look pretty cool, is that a cube is it called?
     
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    WIP: VCAP 6.5 DCV (Design)
  16. SimonD
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    SimonD Terabyte Poster

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    All I know is that they are SH67H3's (Shuttle model) with 3770 CPUs and 32GB of ram each. (I have three of them and a couple of Gen 8 MicroServers with the E3 1265Lv2 CPU as well.
     
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  17. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    Cheers buddy. You've got a good setup there. I know you've invested well in the past. I have a lot of other commitments at the moment, but eventually I think I'll invest in some new hardware. I feel like the odd one out not going for my VCAP and I have access to every product and licence we have so it seems a shame not to make the most of the opportunity
     
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    WIP: VCAP 6.5 DCV (Design)
  18. SimonD
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    SimonD Terabyte Poster

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    It's funny, I was actually considering selling my lab, I haven't actually powered it on in 6 - 7 months now, certainly not since I moved house (we moved in November but I was out in the US / Berlin for a couple of weeks prior to moving so had it all powered down and packed away before I went).

    I am just not using it and haven't needed to use it in that time, so chances are I may well be selling them all off, £1000s invested in hardware :(
     
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    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  19. JK2447
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    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator Premium Member

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    I totally know what you mean, I think similar to cloud these days, to a degree buying hardware is a mugs game as it will age, and making aging hardware someone elses problem is definitely the way to go. I think I'm just old, I like own and not rent ha ha. I've recently bought a VPS from SSDNodes that I might migrate this place to, which has re-ignited my interest in such things. If you're selling those NUCs I might be interested mate. Not got a pot to er, ya know, at the moment but never know
     
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    WIP: VCAP 6.5 DCV (Design)
  20. SimonD
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    SimonD Terabyte Poster

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    Only NUC I have I am keeping, the Shuttle SH67H3's will be going tho (along with the MicroServers).
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).

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