Home Lab All Done – For Now

Back in August I posted on my latest updates to the home lab. At that time, I had added a new HP DL360p Gen8 to replace the old G7 for ESXi, added a UniFi Flex Mini for the office and replaced some of the old CAT5e “thick” cable with the Monoprice Cat6A SlimRun patch cables. I was planning some additional upgrades/replacement when my father fell ill in September and then passed away in October. Since dad died my sister and I have been quite consumed with being executors of his estate.

Since then, I have been able to make a few upgrades and replacements:

  • I replaced the second UniFi UAP-AC-Lite upstairs with a Unifi UAP-FlexHD. That is a nice AP even though it looks like someone painted a Red Bull can white 🙂 That said, it is very unobtrusive and works really, really well.
  • The UAP-AC-Lite was moved to my shed. The placement of the APs in the house coupled with the number of walls (some concrete) and the metal garage door led to terrible WiFi performance.
  • I really disliked the “wall warts” for the UniFi US-8 switches and the PoE injectors took up space in the rack (they were mounted on a board at the top of the router). Since I now had six devices that could be powered via PoE, I went with the UniFi US-8-150W switch.
  • Since I was at it – and wanted to free up some ports on the UniFi US-24-G1 – I added a couple of UniFi Fiber Multi-Mode SFP 1Gbit/s modules with a 10Gtek LC to LC OM3 10Gb/Gigabit Multi-Mode Fiber Optic cable. Thinking back, I may have been better off (no real cost difference) with using a DAC cable instead. Maybe later, but I think that it “kinda kool” to have fibre in my rack even if it is pointless…
  • I added a Detroit Packing CAT6a patch panel. This has female-to-female keystone jacks since I didn’t want to punch down/crimp cables and I wanted to keep using the SlimRun patch cables.
  • I continued to replace any of the thick cables where possible with the SlimRun cables.
  • Cable labels – where needed I added labels especially from the ESXi boxes and the TrueNAS box.
  • Wire Management: I have some small zip ties used for the ESXi/TrueNAS (more below) cable bundles. However, for other bundling, I have used hook-and-loop (a/k/a Velcro) wraps.
  • Speaking of which:
    • FreeNAS is dead, long live TrueNAS. iXsystems has merged FreeNAS with TrueNAS creating TrueNAS Core. A nice few updates, etc. As of this post, I’m running TrueNAS-12.0-U3.
    • pfSense is now running 2.5.1-RELEASE; there was that awful mess (to be very kind) with 2.5.0 and WireGuard if 2.0…
  • I added the old door Information Systems sign (when our group changed names in my first job over 25 years ago!). Why? Why not?

So, what’s next? I’m not quite sure. I was thinking about replacing the the Supermicro TrueNAS server with a HP DL380 Gen8. I like the HP BMC as it uses a HTML5 remote console instead of Java like the Supermicro. But, given that work-from-home/school-from-home enviornment that is likely to continue for some time, I’m thinking about redundancy. This is especially the case for the pfSense box. I can get away for a period of time replacing the Switch 24 (not without pain) but pfSense is another matter. I thinking about buying anothe box just like the one I have. If I buy a UniFi Switch 24 G2 and another pfSense box I’ll have perfect components for my home lab – moving PROD away from DEV 🙂

About Mike Pelley

Let’s see… A little about me… I’ve been around information technology since 1983 with computers such as DEC Rainbows (weird machine – the standard DOS couldn’t format its own floppy disks – remember them? – and I had to format them on a friend’s IBM PC) to Radio Shack TRS-80 to Apple ][e and Apple //c in the beginning. I have programmed in 8-bit assembly language on 6502, FORTRAN and COBOL on IBM System/370 (and I still hate JCL), VAX BASIC and COBOL (and a weird and massive WordPerfect 4.0 macro) on DEC VMS (Alpha), C/C++ on Digital Unix (ALPHA), and C/C++, Perl (it may be powerful but I still hate it), PHP on Linux (Red Hat, Centos, Ubuntu, etc.). I have work with databases such as Digital RDB (later to become Oracle RDB), Oracle DBMS, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL on VAX, Alpha, Sun and Intel. Check out my professional profile and connect with me on LinkedIn. See http://lnkd.in/nhTRZe I still think that Digital created some of the best ideas in the world: VAX clustering, DSSI disks (forerunner to SCSI) and the Alpha processor (first commercial 64-bit processor – Red Hat screamed on an Alpha!). DEC just could not seem to be able to give air conditioners away to someone lost in the Sahara Desert! VMware is one of the best ways to get the most out of an x64 server. And I have tried Oracle VM, Virtual Box and Microsoft Virtual Server. Outside of that I am a huge military history buff starting in the early 20th century. I love Ford Mustangs (my ’87 Mustang GT was awesome) and if I had the money I would have a Porsche 928S4. If I had a lot of money I would have a Porsche 911 Turbo. I also play too much AmrA 3 Exile mod. Over 5,000+ hours... I have a wonderful son, Cameron. I have a long suffering (Do you really need all that computer junk?) wife, Paula. I live in Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador.
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