New vSphere 6.x home lab – all physical, no nesting!

I had been having the itch to get myself a full blown lab with physical hosts, switches, a NAS et al for a while. A physical setup at home let you lab up anything you wish to, including some really cool stuff such as using PernixData’s FVP, play with switches (VLANs, jumbo frames), etc.. – hence why the new lab was birthed.

I got the inspiration for the various bits in the lab from Simon Eady’s and Brian Graf’s setups here and here. My setup’s only slightly different:

  • 2 x DL 360 G7’s ( 1 hex CPU, 36GB DDR3 RAM, 2 x 72GB disks, 8GB USBs to install ESXi on, 1 x 4 port on-board NIC, 1 x D33025 PCI-e NIC) and 1 x DL380 G6 (2 x quad core CPU, 48GB RAM, 8 x 146GB disks – management host and maintains another pre-prod nested lab. I already had this machine)
  • 1 x Cisco 300 managed switch
  • Synology DS412+ NAS with plenty of disk to play with (this also holds my home multimedia stuff)
  • Cat 6 cabling


  • I got them for a fair bargain I think – they cost me $2200 delivered (from Brisbane), used of course. The guy threw in extra RAM for free, they were at 24GB when listed on eBay. One of them had the PCI-e NIC, the others didnt – I got 2 delivered to my door for $45 AUD (from the US)
  • I installed ESXi on the USB sticks, the machines detected the sticks no issues but subsequent boots were a hit and miss. I upgraded the firmware on them with the latest PSP which fixed the issue


  • The Cisco SG300-20 is likely the best switch for a home lab. I only got one of them since they cost a fair bit of coin at about $650 new and delivered
  • The switch operates in L2/L3 mode
  • The LEDs can be turned off
  • No noise!
  • Slick, easy-to-use interface

Synology NAS:

  • This is something I had been looking to buy for a while! Just *wanted* one
  • It had an SSD in it, but I took it out and put another spinning disk. The SSD sits in a media server at my wife’s desk
  • It now has 8TB of disk
  • The unit set me back by $550 delivered (got it new from eBay, I know it’s a great bargain!). I already had the 4th disk


  • Cost me $10

Total cost so far: $3455

Here’s what it looks like!


Along with the lab I have Eric Thomas up on the wall to keep me going. He says:

Be phenomenal or be forgotten.. Be legendary and leave a legacy

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