Home Lab – a lie I tell myself

Since March of 2020 I’ve been working on building out a homelab. Something about being inside a little more drove me to want to work with the computers at home. Normally that free time would be spent at community events or with presentations. Something had to fill the void and a homelab was it.

At first, the goal was simple; learn about different server technologies and edge computing by building a “data center” in a closet. The “data center” part of it is where most at home sysadmins fall into a bottomless pit of self-hosted technologies and I am no different. First it is a home media server, then a dashboard, then a database, then a data system, then a clustered set of systems, then there is suddenly a need for documentation for a lab you built yourself as it becomes too much to handle at once.

This will, hopefully, be the first of many posts about home labs that is written from personal and professional experience. Throughout the series there should be a showcase of how to use home labs for:

  • Home Media
  • Automation
  • Edge Computing
  • Archiving
  • Game Servers
  • Development Servers
  • Access and Control
  • Dynamic Public Cloud Integration
  • Redundancy and Disaster Recovery
  • and… more

The first and foremost discussion to have is price control. Enterprise server contracts can start at seven figures. If this is what you are looking for, then this is not the blog you seek. What this blog will focus on is how to keep a relatively low budget. Lets see how far we can make the homelab budget go!

At this point, you may be wondering why the title is “Home Lab – a lie I tell myself”. When this journey started, this was a 1-2 tower server adventure. Over time this has exploded, both in scope and in price. At this point, the name “homelab” no longer describes the system I’ve built. Not just in size but also due to the fact that it is no longer at my home. Hopefully, this series can serve as both enablement and deterrent to an ever expanding homelab.

Some helpful resources I used when I got started: