Setting up homelab 3.0

tjtharrison
4 min readSep 3, 2023

My homelab setup has yo-yo’ed a lot over the years, starting with a small Netgear NAS for backing up family photos, progressing to a HP cube server for learning VMWare when I started hitting limits of the NAS. At it’s peak, my homelab consisted of a pair of HP DL360 G8s running esxi with a rack SAN with 12TB of storage.

After moving from my sysadmin job to a Cloud infrastructure role I started to see less need for running a lab at home so scaled down to the trusty Netgear NAS for “offsite” backups of my cloud servers.

When I started working more with the Cloud I lost the desire to spend my weekends troubleshooting issues with my home environment and sold/scrapped most of my equipment. Having stressful holiday abroad with my servers having overheated and powered down due to a hot summer week while they were running in my loft was the final straw..

Recently, however, I’ve felt the calling again and purchased 3x HP 800 G2s from Ebay with the aim of running a Kubernetes cluster at home to train for my CKS (Certificated Kubernetes Security Specialist) exam and to venture into the world of home automation.

Photo by Ian Battaglia on Unsplash

The hardware

I had a few different requirements when it came to looking for hardware for the latest edition of my home lab:

  • Noise — As the machines will be running my office, I didn’t want anything that was overly noisy
  • Power — Given the prices of electricity at the moment, Homelab 3.0 should have a low power draw compared to previous iterations
  • OS — Previously I was more restricted in the hardware options available as I previously ran VMware ESXi. As I always planned to run bare-metal Kubernetes on my environment, multiple machines was preferable to a single highly resourced single machine

After upgrading from my NAS, I have always purchased second-hand hardware for my home-labs, as long as you find a reputable seller on Ebay with a good seller rating you shouldn’t have any issues and you get a lot more “bang for your buck” and can pick up a great deal if you are lucky.

After doing some research, I decided on the HP 800 G2 SFF (Small Form Factor) machines — I found a multi-buy discount on Ebay from a seller not too far from me.. Popped out to pick them…

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