A homelab is any configuration of personal computing resources, away from the corporate environment, that you can use for experimental learning, professional development or self hosting.
Many IT or Software Development professionals need a playground to test new software or learn new skills without worrying about corporate resource approvals, department budgets or possible interference with production systems.
While its easy enough to do everything “in the cloud” these days, I still like having my own resources for a few reasons. I think of this a lot like using a physical notepad or whiteboard for certain tasks despite having a computer with note taking software. I enjoy the hands on experience and intimate knowledge of how everything works right down to the wires. But also, I dislike subscription services that don’t have a guaranteed concrete monthly benefit. I’ve signed up for lots of recurring services from Audible to GoDaddy in the past, where you keep paying monthly despite not listening to any audio books or never getting around to finishing that new web project. At the end of a year, I’ve paid as much in Audible and GoDaddy fees as a small used virtualization server.
So, I’ve built up my HomeLab with a combination of Ubiquiti Unifi network equipment and diy virtualization servers built out of mostly used parts off eBay. My servers are based on Xeon E5-2650v2 processors on an offbrand chinese X79 motherboard with a few sticks of used DDR3 ECC RAM.
- /r/homelab on Reddit - Active with 372k+ members as of January 2021.
- /r/homelabsales/ on Reddit - Growing with 70.4k+ members as of January 2021. This where you can buy and sell homelab hardware.
- /r/homelab/wiki/index on Reddit - The official wiki curated by /r/homelab is a great place to get started.
HomeLab Articles and Videos
Underdesk Edgemounted USB Hub [for my Yubikey]
I install an edge mounted underdesk USB hub and SD card reader for easy access to my USB and SD Cards. This was in part for my Yubikey security token.
SILENT PC Build [MonsterLabo "The First"]
Fully SILENT fanless PC build in the MonsterLabo "The First" case! Silent PCs are great for anyone livestreaming or doing zoom meetings, microsoft teams, skype, etc.
Testing Power Supply Options for the Cooler Master NR200
Join me while testing SFX vs SFX-L power supply fitment in the CoolerMaster NR200 small form factor case with Corsair SF450 and SilverStone NJ450-SXL.
Cooler Master NR200 with mATX Chinese X79 Motherboard
Let's see if we can fit a micro-ATX motherboard in the Cooler Master NR200 small form factor case! To be fair, this is a smaller mATX motherboard...
My HomeLab Equipment
Here is a run down of the equipment I currently have for my homelab. Of course this stuff is always growing and evolving, but I’ll try to keep this up to date!
My HomeLab Network Equipment
- Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG)
- Ubiquiti Unifi USW-24-POE
- Ubiquiti Unifi USW-Industrial
- Ubiquiti Unifi USW-Flex-Mini
- Ubiquiti Unifi UAP-IW-HD
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
I am currently using a Synology DS-918+ NAS. I have two Western Digital Red 4TB Pro hard drives. These harddrives are the 7200 RPM variety that come with a 3 year warranty and are NOT SMR.
I also upgraded the RAM in my Synology NAS from the stock 4 GB to a more comfortable 16 GB.