No more home lab for me!

Yes, you read that right!

If you have been over to my Home Lab page you probably know I have a pretty big pile of gear in my garage. But no more! In fact, I plan to get rid of all IT stuff in my garage except for the switch that does all of my home networking. OK, you’re right, I will still probably have one server out there just because… but the majority of stuff is going to the colo!

What did you really think I was getting rid of my lab? Hell no! But when you get the chance to have it all hosted at a colo and get some garage space back you do it!

So why do you care?

As far as home lab’s go you probably don’t care about watching me move equipment to a colo, it’s pretty boring, but if you have heard of Zerto Virtual Replication 5.5 and the new Azure replication features read on.

The plan:

  1. is to replication my blog to Microsoft Azure
  2. do a failover (Zerto Move function) to Azure
  3. swap out my current colo hardware with the new colo hardware
  4. reconfigured replication to point back to the colo
  5. then move my blog back to my hardware.

This should provide minimal downtime as well as show a real world test of how ZVR 5.5 works with Azure. I estimate that downtime will be less than 5 minutes on each move function, and since I use CloudFlare users probably won’t even know the site is down.

When does it happen

I am waiting for my colo provider to give me the green light to move it, they are currently configuring power and getting the rack ready. I was told the first few weeks of September, however, I am also on vacation in September… so things might get pushed out until the first part of October unless I can get it all done before vacation.

So stay tuned for some videos and articles:

  1. Replication setup to Azure
  2. Failover (Zerto Move) to Azure, and reconfiguration of public IP’s / DNS etc
  3. Colo gear swap
  4. Reverse replication configuration and failback

The end goal

Having a good lab is becoming more critical to my day job, and while having it close to my in the garage is nice, it will be nicer to have it at the colo with ggiabit speed internet connectivity. Behind that connectivity will be the following hardware:

  • HP C3000 blade chassis
    • 10gig Flex-Connect Ethernet
    • Cisco MDS Fiber Channel modules (4Gbps for now)
    • 2 – BL465c Gen8 Servers – each with dual 16-core Operton 6378 Procs (64 Cores total)
    • 4 – BL460c Gen8 Servers – each with dual quad core Intel E5-2609’s (probably will upgrade these)
    • 2 – BL490c Gen7 Servers – each with dual 6 core 5600 series procs
  • EMC VNX 5300
    • 5 – 100GB Fast Cache disks
    • 34 – 600GB SAS disks
    • 11 – 3TB NLSAS disks
  • Cisco ASA 5510 Firewall
  • Cisco 3750G switch
  • Probably some other random stuff

This will be a great platform. It gives me plenty of room for several 2 node clusters so that I can effectively test things as well as run my blog and other VM’s on a dedicated cluster.

The two Opteron blades with the crazy core count will be for my “regular workload”; blog; and other stuff that stays around.

Two of the four BL460 Gen8s will be a VMware Cluster and the other two will be Microsoft HyperV. The two BL490 Gen7 blades will probably be an older version of VMware, or maybe bare-metal Linux with KVM.

Thanks for following along!


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3 Responses to "No more home lab for me!"

  1. Nice setup, though the ASA 5510 is getting a little dated.. it doesn’t even support gigabit natively (unless you’ve bought a SSM-4GE module)… have you thought of upgrading to a next-gen firewall (another ASA or Meraki?) The 3750G is also EoL but will still likely do all you need it to.

  2. The ASA is mainly just for my management vlan. Basically, for services that need a public IP address I leverage a pfSense virtual appliance. Check out this article for how I have it laid out:

    Basically, my public IP subnet is dropped into a VLAN on my switch first, from my provider, then I grab an IP from it for ASA and other IP’s for pfSense or other machines directly. ASA just gives me a spot to VPN to incase my VMware stuff dies.

  3. Justin – that’s quite a “home” lab you have… I’m guessing mid 5 figures for all that gear, and maybe 6 figures when it was all new with support.
    We’ve met several times at Zerto events in the midwest- saw your presentation in Indy the other day, and enjoyed it!

    (I tried to register on your blog, but haven’t gotten the confirm e-mail yet.)

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