Home Lab for Data Center? A new notebook is a good start …

I was shortly thinking about building a home lab for the data center path, but when i looked at the price list for the nexus 7000 i thought, maybe not. You can get quickly in ranges, where someone would buy a house for that price.

Here is the hardware list for the lab equipment:

From https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/docs/DOC-13968

  • Cisco Catalyst Switch 3750
  • Cisco 2511 Terminal Server
  • MDS 9222i
  • Nexus7009
    • (1) Sup
    • (1) 32 Port 10Gb (F1 Module)
    • (1) 32 Port 10Gb (M1 Module)
  • Nexus5548
  • Nexus2232
  • Nexus 1000v
  • UCS C200 Series Server
    • vic card for c-series
  • UCS-6248 Fabric Interconnects
  • UCS-5108 Blade Chassis
    • B200 M2 Blade Servers
    • Palo mezzanine card
    • Emulex mezzanine card
  • Cisco Application Control Engine Appliance – ACE4710
  • Dual attached JBODs

Altogether that you easily come to more than 100.000$. If you will get as NFR (Not for Resale) you will get a 70% discount from the global price list, but it will still be above 100.000 $.


So i redefined my requirements upon that and thought about a data center lab with regard to vmware and microsoft. Many new products also have been virtualized like the Cisco 1000V Router and the ASA Cloud Firewall.  The ASA Cloud Firewall is currently available as a promo and you can quote it freely to get a license for e-delivery.

So after nearly exactly 6 years i decided to upgrade my old T60. So not really upgrade, but exchange it into an W530 from lenovo. It took me quite some time to decide weather to go for apple or a remote solution, but after all, i decided to get real horsepower and a notebook, that i can use with 32GB RAM.

This has been my old one for a long time. Did not had problems with it and it had been very good quality and it lasted very long now. I think six years in IT is like an era. My old setup had about 3 GB RAM max. Now i can use 32 GB at max. The main reason for the W530 was the ability to upgrade to 32 GB RAM and the processor with enough power. And i like the idea to keep the hardware for some time and not to renew it every year or two. Maybe my wife can use my „old“ one still for surfing. 🙂

Link to my old T60.

Here is my current and new setup:

  • Intel Core i7-3740QM Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.70 GHz)
  • 15,6-Zoll FHD-Display (1900 x 1080)
  • NVIDIA Quadro K2000M Graphics with 2 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Colorsensor
  • 8 GB PC3-12800 DDR3-RAM (2 DIMMs) (currently)
  • Keyboard with backlight
  • Samsung Pro SDD 540 GB
  • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN
  • Mini-dock

I had to get a win 8 license also, but i have planned to install ubuntu. There should be enough place for vsphere and two esxi. Currently i have „only 8GB“ of RAM installed, but after i have tested things a bit, i will update when necessary.

I will follow up with an installation and how things have worked out. Most things should do this out of the box.

There are also plans to integrate an Synology box. Currently i have a DS212 and another one might join the lab. There is only connectivity with iSCSI or NFS / SMB and no fibrechannel, but anyway a start.



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