Before setting up this blog I was thinking about what should be my first post. Since I want to write and showcase my own IT projects I came to the conclusion to show you the base of everything. My homelab. Some of the listed components aren’t exclusively used for my homelab/testing purposes but they all play their part in my whole setup. The picture above shows my 19 inch rack with 12 height units. This one is intended to be wall mounted but I used some rubber nubs on the bottom to fit it in a corner of my apartment. In the following I will give you a quick overview of my current setup.
My Intel NUC aka the ESXi Host
I bought the Intel NUC (NUC7i5BNH) back in 2017 and since then basically running 24/7 serving as the base of my homelab-playground. Beside the i5-7260U CPU I got 16GB of RAM and a 256 GB M.2 SSD installed. Yeah I know … “Why only 256 GB SSD” you may wonder? That stuff was kinda expensive back then and I never saw the need to upgrade it. I only got some small linux vms running which don’t require much space nor power.
The Gateway to the World, my WatchGuard Firewall
I am currently using a WatchGuard T40 as my firewall/router. Actually there’s not a lot to write about or fancy going on. Just some basic VLAN and IPSec configurations and that’s basically it. The firewall is connected to a 500 Mbit up- and 100 Mbit download fiber WAN connection (FTTH).
As you can see in the photo the firewall is housed in a vertically wall-mounted closure. Because of space reasons I choose the small form factor one. It got more than enough space for my WatchGuard and some small additional devices. There are 3 height units in the front and 5 height units in the back for short devices. The firewall is mounted on a 19" plate.
Some more Network-Stuff, my Cisco Switches
Currently using two Cisco Catalyst C1000 as my main switches. Also got one Cisco SG350 for my TV setup.
The two C1000 switches are connected through a fiber optic portchannel (2x 1Gbit) using two LC-LC Duplex OS2 Singlemode fiber optic cables. I actually put the fiber optic cables behind my skirting board. Yes thats actually possible but make sure that you have enough space behind them so you don’t have to bend the fiber optic cables too much around corners. Check the manufacturers informations about your cables bend radius. The cables that I use are from FS. I got the two C1000-8P-2G-L switches for my homelab because they have the full Catalyst IOS feature set. Even the small 10 port C1000 switches are stackable and for cisco hardware they are relatively cheap.
Every LANs needy Brother, WiFi
To cover my WiFi-Needs I use the ubiquiti unifi WiFi gear. Because my current equipment was bought for another environment and is therefore completly over the top. For each of my floors I got a UAP-AC-HD each. This setup is powered by a Cloud Key Gen2 Plus rackmounted with the CKG2-RM Rack-Mount-Kit. Some of ubiquitis cheaper accesspoints and a raspberry pi as a controller would do the job as well but since I got the hardware anyways … Price-performance wise the ubiquiti hardware is a pretty good deal but you can notice at every corner of the Web UI/Management that the software is free and does not require any kind of licenses. Which doesn’t mean that other paid management solutions haven’t got similar problems but in my opinion the management only got some visual improvements from time to time but feels mor clunky with every update. Sometimes you even need to switch to older version of the Web UI to use specific features because they aren’t available in the new one.
Storage? Synology NAS!
Actually there is not a lot to tell or show about my NAS. I got the Synology 916+ about 5 years ago. I mainly use to provide smb-shares for my home-network. There is a total of 4x 8 TB WD Red installed and 2x 10 TB USB hard drives connected to it. Since I am not willing to spend that much money for a new NAS the external hard drives should do the trick for a couple more years. I am pretty satisfied with my Synology. Recently updated it to DSM 7 and I still don’t have anything to complain about. The update process took 15 minutes for my nas. I also like the new Synology Photos app and started using it more frequently.
UPS -> APC
Connected to the whole rack is an uninterruptible power supply from APC. The APC Back-UPS-PRO with 900VA. There is not much to tell about an ups. I mainly got it to protect my nas from a power cut, it shuts my nas down after 10 minutes of continuously power failure. It also keeps the other components of my rack running for about 20 minutes. And that’s it.
I hope you got a rough idea of my homelab setup. It’s nothing too fancy but works well for my purposes. Some of the important key factors for me are quiet devices with low power consumption. Which also held me back from upgrading my ESXi host. I might add more details from time to time to this post and create new ones for major updates. Thats it for my first post.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Hope to see you again in my next ones!