My Home Lab & Purpose Behind It

I wonder people like building home labs for various reasons – simulation, education, certifications, testing, or some crazier stuff. I have always endorsed the idea of ’learning by example’. My passion for technology and experimentation has led me in setting up a personal lab at home. It lets you test things and play around in ways that might get you tossed out if you tried them in production environment.  I have been testing various solutions in my lab gear before implementing it in customer production environment. Recently I was working for a Canadian carrier for their 3g/4g network service assurance systems. I successfully simulated the service assurance stack in my Home lab before writing a solution for the production environment.

SDN is one of the latest technologies, I am really excited about it . SDN/NFV have potential to transform the future network architecture, my home lab has enabled me  to deploy controllers,virtual routers and test API.You can find some of the simulations done by me in my home lab right here.

My home lab is a dream network, no constraints on imagination. From Applications & database to MPLS network configuration ,Virtualization & SDN to OSS stack, Lab can support you. You don’t just work for IT you live in IT.

About The Lab Gear

Lab vSphere Hosts

The following hosts are used for simulation, lab testing and validation

Saraswati: Dell 2950 , Dual  CPU Xeon 32 GB  RAM

Ganga: Dell 1950 , Dual CPU Xeon 32 GB  RAM

Jamnuna: Dell 1950 , Dual CPU Xeon 32 GB  RAM

Active: Self Assembled , Single CPU Xeon , 16 Gb RAM

Vcenter: Self Assembled , Single CPU Xeon ,Inter Dual Core CPU , 16 Gb RAM

Dell and HP Laptops : i5 CPU with 8 GB RAM, used as clients

Networking Hardware

Juniper 2320 Router

Cisco 7204 Router

Cisco 2500 Router

Cisco 2950 Layer 2 switch

Nortel Switch ( Non managed)

Dlink Wireless Router ,Dual Antenna

Simulated Devices

Storage : Open filer and Starwind

MPLS Network Device Simulation: Cisco VIRL

Miscellaneous Items

Rack

UPS 3500 VA

Samsung Split AC 1.5 ton

Internet Connection 50 mbps

Most Important

Family permission

Lab Layout

Dell Power Edge Servers Back View

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Clients

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Cisco 7204 Routers With Juniper 2320

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Rack front view

 

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Dell Power Edge Server Front View

 

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Assembled Servers Single CPU Xeon, Inter Dual Core CPU , 16 Gb RAM

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Tips

I have setup my Lab in my Study room cum Small Office Home Office , a space which I share with my Wife, obviously the first step towards LAB building was  approval from family members.

With all the servers and network equipment running, the heat and the noise generated by these equipment’s  may be annoying and  irritating  and   one may feeling like wearing earplugs.  I am used to the constant background drone, since I have been working in Telecom Switching room/ Server room/ Wireless base station however for others (like my wife) it’s a patience test.

I started with creating environment to run the servers and networking equipment’s .

The first task was to get an uninterrupted power supply system for my gear.

I live in the city of Bangalore , which  unfortunately is reeling under severe power cuts lasting from as little as 2 seconds to all night sometimes. My home lab required clean, uninterrupted, spike and transient free power supply. Providing power supply was the top priority activity.

I decided to install UPS System and   chose a UPS with a capacity 30 higher that overall consumption of my Lab gear. With the redundant power supply on my Dell Servers and Routers I connected one power supply to raw power and redundant power supply to UPS system.

It’s the Sukam Fusion 3.5KVA  Online UPS which powers my Home Lab (http://www.su-kam.com).

Next step was  to conceal the Study room, making it sound proof to some extent and installed a 1.5 ton Split AC unit which helped me in keeping the equipment’s  and the work space cool.

I ordered my Server/Networking rack from http://www.amsnettech.com/ . They customized the Rack as per my requirement. Mounting the networking equipment’s on the Rack was pretty simple , fix the cage nuts, tighten the screws , you are good to go. Next task was Ethernet cabling. While working at Service provider I was trained in Ethernet cabling and the Optical splicing, so I was good at crimping job and tailored the Ethernet cables to my requirements.