Tiernan's Comms Closet

Geek, Programmer, Photographer, network egineer…

Network and HomeLab V.Next (Part 2)

So, in my last post i talked about the requirements for the home lab, and in this post, im going to talk about a few more updates i have made in the last few weeks.

First, the processors: in the first post, i talked about Xeon D or Xeon E3… Well, i missed one… The Xeon E5. I have 2 of these in GodBox 2, and you can get them into a microATX board. There does seem to be some limits with the microatx boards, but hopefully enough searching will find me what i am looking for. Ideally, i want it to take “normal” DDR3/4 memory (not SODIMMs like the ASRock one above) and also take enough of them to run 64 or 128Gb of ram (thinking 8 would do the job!). Also, i would like to have 4 GigE ports onboard and 1 management port. 4 onboard is not a hard requirement: If i can get one with 2 ports, i can always get a 4 port card for the PCI-Express slot… Finally, i would like it to have at least 6 SATA ports and possibly an MSATA port. Thinking Boot off MSATA (Windows Server 2016 Nano Server would be used), 2 SSDs and 4 HDDs. Using Storage Spaces, use the 2 SSDs as “Fast” storage for the pool.

I also think i moved off the idea of 10Gb. I like the idea of it, but given a small 10Gb switch costs upwards of a grand, and the plan is to build a machine for that price, i would prefer a fifth machine and using my existing Cisco 48 port switch and leave 10Gb as a future upgrade.

Also, changed from last time round is machine count. Originally i was saying 3-4 machines… now i am thinking 6-7… 5-6 of them should be Hyper-V boxes and the last one would be a Media Box.

I also think the Synology or SAN requirement is out… Hyper-V can be setup to do replication between hosts, and with a 4Gb link to the LAN, i think i should be OK. Also, if i have the media box separate, i should be ok there too. I will detail the media center in a later post.

So, any suggestions or thoughts on what should and shouldn’t be looked at?


This site is hosted on my own ASN on AS204994. More details about that over there. I also use Vultr for transit services and HostUs for LIR Services. Check them out. You can also check some of the gear I use on a daily basis over on kit.co/tiernano.