After taking the PowerCli HOL from VMware, I been thinking of putting together a home lab. I been reading a lot of information about
others bloggers using Mini PCs- such as the Intel NUCs, Mac Minis, and even custom built whitebox servers. Unfortunately, being a father of 3 kids means I have to be on a tight budget, and at the same time I don’t want to skimp and have a under powered home lab. I would also like the equipment to be quiet and fan-less if at all possible.
During my research about the ideal PCs used for the home lab, I’ve found the most important piece- using Intel vPro technology. This adds a virtual KVM into the system so it can be completely headless. With these facts in mind, I’m leaning towards the Intel NUC NUC5i5MYHE. Not only does this model have the Intel vPro technology, but it packs an i5, expandable memory to 16 GB, and room for a SATA3 drive.
Now that I have a rough idea for the host(s), I need to think about the storage. I don’t have the funds for the NAS that I should be using, so I’m looking to use vSAN. By using the NUCs with the extra height, I’ll be able to fit a drive in it as long as the thickness doesn’t exceed 9.5mm. This will be a good option until I have the ability to get a NAS. When I do get the NAS, it would at least need to be a 5 bay so I could run a RAID 10 with a hot spare. Since I’m looking to use vSAN, I’m going to run the ESXi software from an USB drive. The ideal candidate would be the SanDisk Ultra Fit, since it has such a small profile, and would not be in danger of getting broken off in the USB port.
Specs for Home Lab
- Intel NUC Kit BLKNUC5I5MYHE
- Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD SATA
- Crucial 32GB Kit (16GBx2) DDR3L
- Ultra Fit 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive
- Synology Disk Station 5-Bay Network Attached Storage (DS1515+)
- WD Red Pro 3TB NAS Hard Disk Drive
- Crucial 16GB Kit
With this home lab I would be able to work out more complex scripts that I wouldn’t normally want to do at the office. My isolated sandbox will also offer the flexibilty to test out vSAN, and configure and test other features that I’m currently not using in my work environment.