My IT career started with building home labs. I was always interested in learning new stuff and experimenting and implementing solutions. Thanks to my home labs I have learned a lot of different technologies over the years. So let’s take a step back and talk about the past…
I started building home labs since I was 16 years old and they were not as sophisticated as they are today. The first home lab was running on an old Dell XPS workstation with an Intel Pentium III processor. The machine or server… depends on how you want to call it was only running a Microsoft Active Directory and a Microsoft File Server on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 to supply my needs. Later the machine was replaced by a Compaq ProLiant 6400R that I bought on a second-hand site (images of the machine are below this chapter). The machine was loud and using a lot of power but for its time it was very fast. It had four Intel® Pentium® III Xeon® Processor 550 MHz combined on one motherboard and enough space for SCSI hot swap drives.
Thanks to Google I still could find some images of the Compaq ProLiant 6400R. They are impossible to find these days.
In the year 2008, I finished my education and I started working at an IT company. This meant I got paid every month and the first money was spend on a home lab hardware refresh. The meant for the first time a brand new server for my home lab from HP. The major difference between the setups before that was that I started using VMware virtualization for the first time. I didn’t know it at the time but this was an important personal investment in my future IT career.
The reason that I choose for the VMware virtualization layer was that I could run multiple different machines on the same hardware. I could have a Linux and Windows machine both sharing the same hardware. This was amazing and when I bought a second server I could even move the workload without downtime… vMotion.
From around 2011 all the hardware was refreshed on a two/three years basis. Sometimes a bit faster sometimes a bit slower depending on my needs and products I was testing. The main reason was at that point education, getting hands-on experience with new products/technology and passing, for example, a Microsoft MCSA exam.
Since 2008 all servers have been running the VMware ESXi hypervisor and I have always preferred HP/HPE as my server supplier (just a personal taste and experience).
Home Lab – Current
Here is an overview of my current two environments:
Home Lab – Archive
In the future old Home Labs that have been decommissioned will be placed here:
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