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How to build a home lab for storage, security, and studies


Well-known member
Jan 20, 2009
This is a placeholder as I re-engineer my home lab to new specs. I learned a lot going through this upgrade process, just as I did the last time I upgraded my home lab. I thought it might be helpful to others who are interested in building their own lab, or just as an interesting read for discussion purposes. I will start by building an index of what I upgraded and will add to it if people reply and ask questions.

  1. ISP
    1. 50 Mbit down / 10 Mbit up
    2. vDSL because I don't like sharing my last mile connectivity
    3. I do get my advertised rates
    4. My latency to Tier 1 networks is excellent, and jitter-free.
  2. High level architecture goals
    1. 10TB+ Storage
    2. Multi-VLAN network
    3. Segregate guest and IoT devices from Production
    4. Netflow or Full packet inspection SIEM
    5. 10TB backup on site
  3. Hardware selected
    1. 2x 2U Lenovo Servers
      1. Xeon 12 core
      2. 48GB RAM
      3. 8x2TB RAID6 = 12TB
    2. 1000W UPS
    3. 4U custom backup server
      1. 15x1TB RAID6 = 13TB
    4. 4U custom firewall
      1. pfSense
    5. Cisco and HP switches
  4. Software selected
    1. VMware as Hypervisor with Enterprise license
    2. Windows Server 2016 as Storage server
    3. Ubuntu 16.04 for development servers
    4. Ubuntu 18.04 for workstation / PCs
    5. pfSense for firewall
    6. Kali / Bro / Suricata / OSSEC for security services
  5. Networking
    1. Cisco Layer 2 switches for 100 Mbit Vlans
    2. HP Layer 2 switches for 1gbit Vlans
    3. Meraki for wireless AP
  6. Security
    1. Kali / Bro / Suricata / OSSEC
  7. Virtualization
    1. VMware Enterprise
    2. 3 host cluster
  8. Future goals / nice to have
    1. Security camera VLAN
    2. DLNA media server
    3. Honeypot wifi
    4. Backup ISP
Last edited:


Well-known member
Jun 12, 2010
Langley, BC

That's my homelab, I eventually need to get a proper rack so I can move everything in to a closet, from top to bottom:

Aruba S2500-24p PoE switch w/ 4 10gbe ports & layer 3
1u Dell poweredge r210ii w/ e3-1220 & 4GB of ram, currently doing nothing but once I've upgraded the RAM & CPU I'll be loading ESXi on it & running pfsense in a VM.
2u Cisco UCS-C210 M2 w/ 2x Xeon L5640 hexcores, 60GB of RAM & LSI-9260-8i raid card. ESXi 6.7u1 enterprise plus & vCenter host, going to be adding a mellanox connectx-2 NIC for 10gbe shortly. Also planning on adding 12x 5TB seagate drives for backups, and 4x 1TB SSDs for VMs.
4u Rosewill case: Intel S5520HCR w/ 2x Xeon L5640 hexcores, 48GB of RAM, Dell Perc H200 flashed to a LSI 9211-i8 & Mellanox Connectx-2 10gbe NIC with 34TB of usable storage. This box is running unraid and serves as my VM storage/plex/media automation server. Eventually I will be moving this over to freenas for faster storage access & iSCSI support. Plan is to eventually get this up to 120TB of usable space.

Not seen: Raspberry pi 3b running openvpn, cloudflare DDNS, pihole & NUT UPS server that all my other servers connect to, and a 1500va APC UPS.

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