A lot of IT professional excuses to play with new technology is that the company they work for does not use that technology, I don’t have enough time to play with new technologies or I can not get a small lab at home because it takes space or makes too much noise.
At the rate technology changes it is must to have a lab at home to play with it. Yes i said the word “PLAY” because IT is fun again and there is a lot of support from the community when you run into problems.
I want to share on how I build my home lab, I bought a Gigabyte mini Intel Core I5. As you can see the amount of space that i takes is minimum
The device is pretty small and it can hold up to 16Gb of RAM and a SSD inside the device. Before the end of the blog i will layout all the components you need to make sure it runs.
As you can see the device is pretty small, you can attach it behind the TV, use it as desktop, use it as hypervisor ( I Highly recommend doing this). You can either esxi or hyper-v as the hypervisor and be able to load like 6 to 10 VMs depending on the SSD and RAM.
This is what it looks inside
Let me tell you what components I bought to make sure it works
- Gigabyte Min PC $380
- Crucial 16GB Memory $73
- Mini Display adapter $10
- Samsung SSD 500Gb $173
- Small 5 Port switch $20
- Cat 5 cables+HDMI cable $20
This investment in my career cost me around $700 dollars. Yes it cost a little bit of money but it as an investment in you. Whatever technologies you play with on this lab, it is going to help you in your promotion or the next job; usually this means more money. So in the long run you will recoup that cost.
These are the technologies I want to play with the lab
- SMA -WAP
- Windows Server 2016 without the desktop experience
- Server Nano