TechMike’s Home Server Lab Hall of Fame | Home Office Lab – TechMikeNY

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TechMike’s HomeLab Hall of Fame

 

A couple of weeks ago we put a call out to our customers to share with us their Home Server Lab rigs – we know they are doing amazing things with their gear and we wanted to give them a chance to show it off.  We were not disappointed! 

Without further ado, here are the winners in TechMike’s HomeLab Server Hall of Fame. 

Up First…

The Inner Sanctum of HomeLab Jedi Knighthood

These Home Office Labs blew us away. We have placed them on a special pedestal in our Hall of Fame.  

Hall of Fame HomeLab #1

Submitted by: Adrian Michaud, Distinguished Engineer, Dell EMC 

I am a customer and a proud parent of a HomeLab. 

 My HomeLab is located in my home office’s walk-in-closet. I have a 6-terabit RDMA fabric setup using three 36-port InfiniBand FDR switches and 30+ servers. I have 108 Mellanox ConnextX3 FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand cards installed in all systems. 8 servers have 6 ConnextX3 cards installed in each, and 20 clients have 3 ConnextX3 cards installed in each client. (8 Servers * 6 Cards per server,  20 Clients * 3 Cards per client) = 108 Connections to three 36-port IB switches.

I run Debian 10 with a custom kernel and my own software on all of my systems. I also have a 32-port KVM (Vertiv MPU8032) if I need to fiddle with BIOS on any server, a 32-port serial console server (Vertiv ACS6032) to catch any kernel crashes on all systems. 

I use my HomeLab for developing new ultra-high performance filesystem technology, new shared persistent memory technology, and new RDMA programming techniques. This is what I do as a hobby and also for work. I do work for Dell; however, I purchased all of this equipment myself (from fine IT resellers like yourself and others on eBay). The only exception is an R740xd PowerEdge that was provided by my employer. My HomeLab started as a fun server hobby with a few systems, then continued to grow to 30 systems in my home office’s walk-in-closet. I started with just one 120v standard 15A outlet but quickly overwhelmed that and wired up a dedicated 30A 240VAC circuit thinking that will be more than I’ll ever need. I then realized I can’t stop buying servers and building out my RDMA fabric so I then upgraded to a dedicated 50A 240VAC circuit thinking that’s enough power. I soon after bought more InfiniBand switches and wanted more clients and upgraded again with two 50A dedicated 240V (100A 240VAC) circuits that power 4 switched PDU units with 30+ servers, and 12K BTU A/C.

I’ve attached a .pdf with pictures of my 30+ server HomeLab with a 6-terabit RDMA fabric meshing them all together. In addition, I recently got another 16 servers to expand my datacenter to 46+ servers and a 8-terabit RDMA fabric; however, I’m concerned that my walk-in-closet in my home office might not be able to support the weight of 46+ servers within the 8x10 sq/ft closet space. I’m considering moving everything to my basement, but I really like having the lab in my home office’s closet. I also have sound proofing panels installed behind the closet door and the closet walls to silence the fan roar.

 TechMike says, “Wow!  This is really cool that you have the resources and environment to run those systems. This should provide some super-fast network data transfer speeds.  Any energy consumption tools utilized to manage the power bill?  Running anything on solar or wind power yet? P.S., We love the Employees Only sign!!”

 

Hall of Fame HomeLab #2

Submitted by: Rudi

My roommate and I currently have 6 servers in our HomeLab. We recently replaced 2 of our old machines with TechMikeNY off the shelf R720s! We have (from bottom to top) 2x (Non TMNY) R710 servers named Artemis and Apollo which run a Proxmox Virtual Environment development cluster, with the next server up a TMNY R720. This server, named Athena, has 2x GPUs in it, a Quadro, and Vega64. She does specialized VMs for Gaming, and 3D Modeling.

 

Next up is Hyde, another TMNY R720, with 2x 300GB SAS drives for the OS, and then 14 x 5TB SATA HDDs. Hyde is the house NFS server, and hosts services such as NextCloud, and PlexMediaServer for my entire family. This was a recent upgrade, the former Hyde also ran other services that have been offloaded on to the last server.

Underland is a TNMY CTO R820, the first we ordered! Underland is our production Promox Virtual Environment host, and she hosts VMs such as: ProxJump- a HTTP(S) proxy for vhosts, calibre-web- an eBook server (using Hyde for storage), a slew of pre-configured VMs with LDAP/AD configured, FOGServer for PXE staging of hosts, YTStream which streams our 3D Printer's webcam to YouTUbe, WotDN which is a gaming server "Wrath of the DogNet" with discord integration, IronOxide a rust server also with Discord integration, a public facing FreeBSD Shell server for proxying and remote access into the network, a Plan9 VM for network experimentation, a salt-master server, a virtualized mainframe (using Hercules), and finally a Docker Production environment.

Then skipping over the 3D printer we have a small 1U host at the top of the rack, which is our main router. Then on top of that we have a normal 2D printer, and a KVM for accessing the 2 R710s (iDRAC 6 is too unstable) and the router (has no iDRAC). The 2D Printer and KVM did not fit in the frame however. We also recently ordered bezels and sliding rails to complete our set!

 TechMike says, “this is so impressive that you have been able provide so many online applications to your family, all from a fairly small collection of hardware. Great to hear that the majority are TechMikeNY Servers!”

 

TechMikeNY’s Hall of Fame HomeLabs of Distinction

 

Hall of Fame HomeLab #3

Submitted by: Samuel M. 

My HomeLab is set up for my CCIE Security Lab practice. I have installed ESXi 6.5 and runs various VMs including EVE-NG Pro. I'm planning to upgrade to SSD disks.

 TechMike says, “Clean and simple home lab, great for IT training and experimenting.  We can help you upgrade to 16 hard drive bays if you need the extra space in the future!”

 

Hall of Fame HomeLab #4

Submitted by: Di W.

 This is my self-proclaimed “Tower of Doom.”  It runs my side projects, scrapes websites for data, is my vmware sandbox, and is mostly for tinkering with data center hardware and easy way to deploy distributed databases for testing.

 

It’s quite easy to scavenge decommissioned servers at scrap metal prices in Silicon Valley, but often I need fill in drives and memory and misc. replacement parts, which is where stores like TechMikeNY come very handy.

 TechMike says, “Definitely a scary looking tower but shows your resourcefulness on a budget and that the system has a purpose.”

 

Do you have a HomeLab you want to share?  Submissions are always open!  You can win TechMikeNY points plus showcase your HomeLab hardware and skills!

2 comments

  • To your comment below, Lee, we were thinking the same thing, hence our question about solar or wind power. I guess you can’t have an off-the-charts homelab without the juice to run it!

    TechMike
  • I do not want to see the electric bill on #1.

    Lee Wilbur

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