Homelab 2021

It’s that time again. It’s a year later and there have been quite a few changes in the Homelab. With the release of VMware 7, I needed to replace my servers with something a bit more current. I repurposed one of the R710’s as a KVM server and replaced the others with Dell R720XD servers. As a note, I’m less a hardware/network guy and more an OS and now Kubernetes guy.


  • High-Speed WiFi connection to the Internet (the black box on the bottom left).
  • Linksys EA9500 Wifi hub for the house.
  • Linksys RE9000 Wifi extender upstairs.
  • HP V1910-48G JE009A 48 Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch.
  • Netgear GS108E 8 Port Gigabit Switch.
  • Netgear GS116E 16 Port Gigabit Switch.


  • Nikodemus: Dell R710, 2 Intel 5680’s, 144G Ram, 14 TB Raid 5.
  • Slash: Dell R720XD, 2 Intel E5-2697 v2’s, 384G Ram, 27 TB Raid 5 w/Hot Spare.
  • Monkey: Dell R720XD, 2 Intel E5-2697 v2’s, 384G Ram, 27 TB Raid 5 w/Hot Spare.
  • Morgan: Dell R720XD, 2 Intel E5-2697 v2’s, 384G Ram, 27 TB RAID 5 w/Hot Spare.


  • Three APC Back-UPS [XS]1500 split between the four servers for uninterrupted power. Lasts about 10 minutes. Sufficient time to run the Ansible playbooks to shut down all the servers before the power goes out.


I bought the VMware package from VMUG so I have license keys for a bunch of stuff. vCenter is limited to 6 CPUs. Still trying to figure out Distributed Switches. Each time I try, it fails and I have to rebuild the cluster.

All four servers are booting off an internal Sandisk Cruzer 16G USB thumb drive.

  • vSphere 7
  • vCenter 7

Most of what I’m doing fits into two categories. Personal stuff and a duplication of work stuff in order to improve my skills.

I have about 150 virtual machines as of the last time I checked plus another 100 for test builds on the KVM sandbox server. Most of my VMs are CentOS or Red Hat since I work in a Red Hat shop, and a few Ubuntu, a SUSE, one Solaris, one OpenBSD, and a couple of Windows workstations. I’m going to set up a Windows server for my DBA wife.


This consists of 12 servers.

  • pfSense. Firewall plus other internal stuff like DNS and Load Balancing. I have all servers cabled to the Internet and House Wifi so I can move pfSense to any of the three to restore access.
  • Jump Servers. I have three jump servers I use basically for utility type work. My Ansible playbooks are on these servers.
  • Hobby Software Development. This is kind of a dual purpose thing. I’m basically trying to duplicate how work builds projects by applying the same tools to my home development process. CI/CD: gitlab, jenkins, ansible tower, and artifactory. Development: original server, git server, and Laravel server for a couple of bigger programs
  • Identity Management server. Centralized user management. All servers are configured.
  • Spacewalk. I don’t want every server downloading packages from the ‘net. I’m on a high-speed wifi setup where I live. So I’m downloading the bulk of packages to the Spacewalk server and upgrading using it as the source. I have a Katello server that I want to get working due to the addition of Red Hat 8 servers.
  • Inventory. This is a local installation of the inventory program I wrote for my work servers. This has my local servers though. Basically it’s the ‘eat your own dog food’ sort of thing. 🙂
  • Media Servers. With almost 8 TB of space in use, I have two servers to split them between the R720XD’s. Movie Server. About 3 or so TB of movies I’ve ripped from my collection. Television Server. About 5 TB of television shows I’ve ripped from my collection.
  • Backups. I have two backup servers. One for local/desktop backups via Samba and one for remote backups of my physical server which is hosted in Florida.
  • Windows XP. I have two pieces of hardware that are perfectly fine but only work on XP so I have an XP workstation so I can keep using the hardware.
  • Windows 7. Just to see if I could really 🙂
  • Windows 98. I found the CD so I figured, why not?
  • Grafana. I’ve been graphing out portions of the environment but am still in the learning phase.


There are four environments here. Development (38 servers), QA (18 servers), Staging (18 servers), and Production (52 servers).

  • Work development servers. The scripts and code I write at work, backed up to this server and also spread out amongst my servers.
  • Amazon AWS specific server. For testing building EC2 and EKS servers on AWS.
  • Nagios Servers. I have 6. One to monitor my Florida server, One to monitor my personal servers (above), and four to monitor my Work type servers. All six monitor the other five servers so if one bails, I’ll get notifications.
  • NMIS Servers. Work is using NMIS so I thought I’d spin one up to get familiar with the tool.
  • Docker Server. Basically learning docker.
  • Docker Registry. Holds my Docker images on prem so I’m not hitting the cloud every time I muck with a worker.
  • Kubernetes Servers. I have three Kubernetes clusters for various testing scenario. Three masters and three workers
  • OKD Servers. I have an OKD cluster, which is upstream OpenShift for testing an extended learning. Three masters and seven workers.
  • Elastic Stack clusters. This is a Kibana, multiple Logstash, and multiple Elastic Search servers. Basically centralized log management. Just like Kubernetes, three clusters for testing.
  • A Hashicorp Vault server for testing to see if it’ll work for what we need at work (secrets management).
  • Salt. One salt master for testing. All servers are connected.
  • Terraform. For testing VMware builds.
  • Jira server. Basically trying to get familiar with the software
  • Confluence. Again, trying to get used to it. I normally use a Wiki but work is transferring things over to Confluence.
  • Wiki. This is a duplicate of my work wikis, basically copying all the documentation I’ve written over the past few years.
  • Solaris 2540.

My wife is a DBA so I have a few database servers up, partly for her and partly for my use.

  • Cassandra
  • Postgresql.
  • MongoDB
  • Postgresql – This one I stood up for Jira and Confluence
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL Master/Master cluster. This is mainly used by my applications but there for my wife to test things on as well.

The KVM server (Nikodemus) is more for Terraform testing. I’ve rebuilt my work server environment (just the OS part) and am currently rebuilding my various home environments to really dig into Infrastructure as Code. This is generally about 100 VMs depending on which environment I’m building.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the VMs I’m running. I’m constantly spinning up VMs for testing purposes. Some stay up, some are shut down after I’m done mucking with it.


And what would it be without seeing my workstation. In this picture, the center monitor is currently switched to my work laptop, the Mac on the desk. I just switch between monitor inputs to see my work or home system.

  • Computer Case: Thermaltake LEVEL 10 GT, White
  • Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 850 watt G2 80 Plus Gold
  • Motherboard: Asus Maximus VIII Hero
  • CPU: Intel 4 Core i7-6700K – socket FCLGA1151
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H90 (Hydro 90; Water based cooler)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series DDR4 PC2666 (4x8G: 32GB)
  • Video: GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming X 8G GDDR6
  • Video: GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio 11G GDDR6
  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO (500GB SSD) (Boot disk)
  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO (500GB SSD) (Steam disk)
  • Storage: Samsung 870 EVO (1TB SSD) (Home disk)
  • Storage: Seagate 2TB Internal Desktop Hard Drive- 3.5″ Form Factor, SATA III 6 Gb/s, 64 MB Cache (x2) (Home and F:)
  • Storage: Seagate 3TB Internal Desktop Hard Drive- 3.5″ Form Factor, SATA III 6 Gb/s, 64 MB Cache (G:)
  • Monitor: Wasabi Mango UHD430 Real 4K HDMI 2.0 SE 43″ LG AH-IPS Panel UHD 3840×2160 Displayport 1.2 43-Inch 10Bit Monitor
  • Monitor: Acer G235H (4x)
  • Keyboard: Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT
  • Mouse: Logitech G900
  • WebCam: Logitech WebCam Pro 9000
  • Speakers: Logitech X-540
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
  • Blu-Ray: LG Black Blu-ray Disc Drive SATA Model UH12NS30

I will note that I’m 64 and have been mucking about with computers for about 40 years now. I have several expired and active certifications. 3Com 3Wizard, Sun System and Network Admin, Cisco CCNA and CCNP, Red Hat RHCSA, and most recently a CKA, CKAD, and Amazon Certified Cloud Practitioner.

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