Homelab – Inception

What is a homelab?

In short a homelab is a way to play around with old enterprise server equipment in the home.

It’s puzzling in this day and age why anyone would want to spend any hard earned money on older server enterprise hardware and give it a new lease of life in a home environment where it mostly acts as a space heater or even worse a space heater that generates enough noise that you can hear 2 rooms away…

A growing number of tech-savvy people world over will run their own home lab projects with each doing so for their own reasons be it a learning platform, charity, fun, hobby or all of the above. In an age of cloud services, and ever higher electricty bills it can be hard from the outside to see the appeal yet after only 8 months of running my homelab I find myself drawn to spending time building on it and coming up with new and inventive ways of getting the most out of what I’ve got

See now here’s the catch I’m a software developer by trade for a mid sized business in the UK. I work hard day to day developing for my work and while I learn alot from my time in the office there’s knowledge and expierence that I’ve gathered only through my time spent working on servers, hardware and software that’s outside of my comfort zone. Much of that expertise was never gathered in the workplace, in fact the whole reason I got into development was because I ran my own Battlefield 2 servers and php websites back in the day.

Grind can be key to developer burnout, focusing just on the latest and greatest products coming from Silicone Valley can be difficult and the noise of that work is admittedly hard to focus your downtime on. One way I find of testing new products and services on offer is through a homelab environment. If you’re learning as part of a hobby what’s there to stop you right?

Another way to draw expierence from running a homelab is that I’ve got the opportunity to test, experiment and play without the red-tape of the corporate world (which rightly has to be there). I have the chance to try new things and spectacularly fail without (hopefully) the publicity of my work colleagues picking up on my failings. It’s a fantastic environment to learn and progress.

This post, in fact, this blog is intended to be my musings and scribbles about setting up my homelab the reasons for doing so and my interests in keeping it going despite what some might think that it’s a bad idea.