Homelab Update #3 – Long Overdue

Homelab Update #3 - Long Overdue

As you can see by the last post this blog received, i’ve been pressing pause on the blog for a good couple of months.

This was mainly due to increased work commitments including training down in central London, picking up quite a bit of new work as part of my own small business and numerous other various goings on that all added up to a substantial break from the site.

However, i’ve not been standing still through all of this and i’ve been making some long overdue upgrades and alterations to the home lab setup.

HP ML10v2 Retirement

The HP ML10v2 that i’d been using as first a ESXi host then a 2012 Hyper-V host has been officially retired from the homelab and been moved into loft storage. The main reason for this is due to its size. Its a great machine to work on but is full of dead space and there just wasn’t room for it anymore.

My planned power upgrade to the loft never got off the ground so i’ve had to relocate the lab downstairs to a more accessible, powered location.

New host – Enter the MacMini

The demise of the ML10v2 was hastened by the fact that i’ve recently added a MacMini to the lab as a new host.

I’d taken a punt on a dead carcass of a 2012 MacMini on eBay with the hopes of repairing and selling it on for a profit. I’d bought it as a non-worker with no HDD and RAM but after stripping it down and cleaning it up and replacing the power supply with another eBay purchase I managed to coax it back into life.

I’ve added in a new Sandisk SSD, 8GB of RAM (it’ll take 16GB but 8 was all I had on hand) and its now running like a dream, the only downside is that the onboard HDMI is a little flakey at times – the colours seem to glitch, but i’m planning on running it headless so thats not a problem in the long run.

New addition to the Homelab

New addition to the Homelab

The specs of the MacMini are as follows:

Its a brilliant little unit – i’ve had it running OSX for testing, then i’ve tried it with both ESXi 6 (where everything worked out of the box) and Server 2012 R2, both with light VM workloads and its been fine so far.

The install of Server 2012 R2 was completely trouble free and installed fully in less than 10 minutes – i’ll be putting together another quick and dirty install guide on the subject soon.

I’ve been so impressed with the MacMini that i’m constantly┬áscouring eBay for another donor unit to rebuild as a second host.

The testing i’ve done has been using the 120GB SSD as local storage for the VMs, but i’m going to add either a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter that works natively in ESXi or a USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter for Server 2012 R2 depending on which technology I end up using. This way I can use the extra Gigabit Ethernet port on the back of the HP Microserver, directly attach it and use iSCSI to present some extra storage to the host.

New Hobby

I’ve also started a new hobby – brewing my own beer, so expect the odd post on that in the near future as well ­čÖé

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