I was asked a few times from friends and William Lam from virtuallyghetto collects how HomeLabs from the community looks like, so I thought I’m just going ahead writing a "short" page about my current setup. Latest update was 2022-01-10.

To be more exact, my HomeLab consists out of multiple HomeLabs – three, to be precise. Starting with the most boring one…

HomeLab #1: Germany, Nuernberg.

This is a Dell PowerEdge R730 hosted in Germany, Nuernberg in a datacenter at Hetzner Online GmbH. As this is a rented server, no picture is available – you could search for the server model in a search engine of your choice… but it looks like how a server looks like.

Server Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2620 v4
  • RAM: 64 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage with Hardware-RAID
    • 4x 2 TB Enterprise HDD (RAID10)
    • 2x 250 GB Datacenter SSD (RAID1)
  • Running VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0b

Purpose: As the server runs in a datacenter, this server mostly only runs services which should be publicly accessible – like my mailserver, webserver (where also this website runs on), Nextcloud instance, etc.

HomeLab #2: Ireland, Cork. (Home)

Due to lack of space and possibilities wiring every single corner of the appartment (hi landlord!), the HomeLab is placed on my desk just next to me. Therefore it really needs to be as quiet as possible – otherwise I might drive crazy at some point.

A more detailed list…

Probably the most interesting bits:

  1. Compute Node 1

  2. Compute Node 2

  3. Compute Node 3

  4. Compute Node 4

  5. Synology NAS

  6. Firewall

    • Model: NRG Systems IPU672
    • Actually a re-branded Qotom Mini PC.
    • Running OPNsense.
    • CPU: Intel Core i5-7200U Kaby Lake-U
    • RAM: 8 GB DDR4 Crucial RAM
    • Disk: 250 GB Samsung SSD SATA
    • Purpose: Doing firewall stuff.
  7. UPS: APC Back-UPS PRO 900VA

Less interesting ones:

  1. Synology DS1513+
    • Purpose: No idea. Owned by my flat mate. Attached to my UPS.
  2. Philips Hue Bridge
  3. RIPE Atlas Probe
  4. Raspberry Pi 4 (4 GB RAM)
  5. Raspberry Pi 3B+


  1. NETGEAR GS116E 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Smart Managed Plus Network Switch
  2. NETGEAR GS108Tv2 8-Port Gigabit Smart Managed Pro Switch
  3. WLAN: Unifi FlexHD

If someone cares, some pictures:

Leaning Tower of IT Switchy, the Switch

HomeLab #3: Austria, Lower Austria.

This might be the longest bit. It started with a HPE MicroServer Gen8… and somehow… it escalated quickly. Make a new coffee before you continue reading, might take a while!

So… where do we start…

  1. 1st/2nd Compute Nodes, each one with following specs:

    • Model: HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9
    • CPU: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2667 v4 @ 3.20GHz (32 threads)
    • RAM: 320 GB DDR4 RAM (10x 32 GB)
    • Boot: Samsung 980 500 GB NVMe M.2 via NVMe PCIe x16 Adapter
    • Disks (via HPE Smart Array P840ar)
    • Dual PSU to two independent UPS, with TPM 2.0
    • NICs: HP Ethernet 10Gb 2-port 560FLR-SFP+ Adapter
    • Running VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0 U2
  2. 3rd Compute Nodes

    • Model: HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9
    • CPU: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2673 v4 @ 2.30GHz (40 threads)
    • RAM: 384 GB DDR4 RAM (12x 32 GB)
    • Boot: Samsung 980 500 GB NVMe M.2 via NVMe PCIe x16 Adapter
    • Disks (via HPE Smart Array P440ar)
    • Disks (via HPE Smart HBA H240)
    • Dual PSU to two independent UPS, with TPM 2.0
    • NICs: HP Ethernet 10Gb 2-port 530 FLR-SFP+ Adapter
    • Running VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0 U2
  3. Storage

  4. Total of 3x UPS

    • 2x APC Smart-UPS SMT – SMT1500I 1500VA with Network Management Module
      • Each UPS is connected to each server: Each server has Dual-PSU, connected to two differenet UPS for increased redundancy. Also the clustered switches are each connected to a different UPS.
      • Purpose: Powering all servers, storage and redundant switches.
    • 1x APC Back-UPS PRO 900VA
      • Purpose: Powering less essential stuff like modem, Raspberry Pi, management switch, etc.
  5. Raspberry Pi 3B + GPS HAT

    • Purpose: NTP Timeserver (Stratum 1) via chronyd. Pulls current time from GPS satellites, using PPS (Pulse-per-second) for most accurate timing.

Beside the hardware-wise isolation (Core/SAN), there are also about 15 VLANs across all switches to isolate various workloads from each other.

  1. Core Switch

    • Model: 2x HPE Aruba 2930F-24G-4SFP Switch (JL259A)
    • Those two switches are running in a VSF stack, so they are clustered for increased reduncancy.
    • Purpose: Main switch handling all workload like traffic from/to virtual machines, Internet traffic and OSPF/BGP to/from firewall. Uplink over fiber-optic cable to upper floor. Servers are wired to both switches for increased redundancy. LACP in use with Virtual Distributed Switches on the ESXi hosts.
  2. SAN Switch

    • Model: MikroTik CCR2004-1G-12S+2XS (12x 10 GBe, SFP+ + 2x 25 GBe)
    • Purpose: Mainly handling storage traffic for iSCSI, NSX-T, vSAN and vMotion.
  3. Management Switch

    • Model: HPE Aruba 2920-24G-4SFP Switch (J9726A)
    • Purpose: Handling management traffic like iLO to each HPE server, internet traffic from/to modem in separate VLAN, access points, Raspberry Pi GPS time server, etc. There is a uplink of 2x 1 GBe fibre-optic cable to the Core Switch.
  4. Firewall: 2x WatchGuard XTM 525 Appliances (unfortunately EOL)

  5. Access Switch

  6. Client Switches

Running following VMware products:

  • VMware vSphere vCenter
  • VMware vSAN
  • VMware NSX-T
  • VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer
  • VMware Horizon
  • VMware Unified Access Gateway
  • VMware AppVolumes
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight
  • VMware vRealize Operations Manager
  • VMware vCloud Director
  • Carbon Black

And in case you’re wondering: Yes, that are 2x Philips Hue Light Strips. Because of reasons.

Also, here are some pictures:

Front side…
Servers SAN Switch + Firewall

Rack with Hue Lightstrips! Cat & me taking care about HomeLab