Home Lab – The Future

I started the IT series with the blog Back to Physical, this one really should be called Back to the Future, as it is all about hardware.  I originally put this together a couple of years ago and it’s all still valid, just with some minor tweaks.


I would love to get hold of a new NAS, specifically the Synology DS1817.  This box has some impressive stats around it, and is one of the few 10GbE capable storage devices that I have seen that could come in at my price point.  At first I would repurpose some existing drives, however with the long term view of getting some high capacity SSD’s and HDD’s to balance performance and space.

Option Two is FreeNAS running on another home brew server, or repurposing an existing server to run as the NAS and upgrade the existing hosts to support more RAM.


I want to upgrade my network to support 10Gb.  At this point none of the enterprise vendor switches are anywhere near my price point for a home lab, and to be honest none of the SOHO vendors are either.  Not to mention an upgrade to  my compute node to be able to talk at this speed as well.  This will likely be something completed long term, with a view of using direct connect 10Gb between hosts and storage short term.  I’m looking at Ubiquiti Networks to provide some of this.  For external connectivity I have a small 4G router, although the 4G service I’m on is limited to 10GB downloads which has blown out my service several times recently with $500+ bills.  The contract on this will need to be changed to make it any use at all.


I’m RAM and CPU limited.  I need more compute desperately, so this is where I’ll be focussing my next expenditure.  I want something that can take a serious amount of RAM, supports 10Gb, and is as small as possible.  It’ll be fun to see what happens here.


From a security point of view there are several different vendors who offer trial versions of software as VM’s online.  I’m looking at Fortinet for a VM, and have found an old Cisco Small Business security box that I had lying around from a previous life.  I’ll plug this in and see how it looks.

Other Parts

At the moment the lab is essentially hanging together with bubblegum, spit, and string.  I’d really like to be in the position of having everything in a small enclosure, with UPS and cooling integrated.  To this end I’ll be spending some time in Excel building a power design, and throw in a cooling design, so that I can look at racks, although I’ll probably hack some pipes or an Ikea table or similar for this, and then add a UPS or two.

External Services

What is this?  well this is where AWS, GCP, Azure, Office365 and I’m sure some other services will sit.  I have no idea what I’m going to put in here, but it’ll be fun finding out.

The main part of the lab re-design will be getting everything on paper so that I know where everything is.

Leave a Reply