I’ve been in IT for over 20+ years and consider myself an old-school. My career is built on the server, software, virtualization, and cloud and I still like to touch, feel, and tinker with hardware. I love talking to my customers about the Software Defined Data Center and the building blocks; compute virtualization, network virtualization, and storage virtualization. Software-defined storage, vSAN is such a simple and easy solution that sometimes it can be underwhelming when showing GUI from the vCenter. Really, there’s not much more other than turning “on” vSAN features on the cluster – at least from the customer demo perspective. Yeah, yeah – I know. there are more than just “on” buttons on vSAN.
I wanted my old school customers to see the power of the Software Defined Data Center in a different physical form factor. SDDC is not defined by four-walls, brick-and-mortar with racks of servers and switches. SDDC represents software-driven enterprise-level data center capabilities and pooled resources that are detached from the underlying hardware, using virtualization technologies. When the data center is abstracted as software, you can now automate and orchestrate to meet today’s DevOps demand. Infrastructure as a Code anyone?
In a planning process, I wrote down requirements that would meet my needs.
- Able to carry 4 nodes SDDC on to the plane, meeting airline carry-on luggage requirements.
- 10Gbe Network connectivity
- Software Defined Network for Networking services, security, and virtualization
- Self-contained (power, network, compute, storage, cooling)
- Low power consumption (my old home lab cost me over $300 per month in power)
- Low Noise! (It will be used in my office and I can’t have loud fan noise)
- Physical North-South traffic that handles NAT, WIFI, and routing capability
First, I search the popular blog sites to see what other home-lab-ers are doing. TinkerTry and VirtuallyGhetto blogs were very helpful. It was a toss-up between NUC and E200-8D. Supermicro E200-8D offered 10GbE out of the box and vSphere 6.5 had the drivers for it. It was an easy choice. Being an ex-audio engineer, I know about road cases. Audio engineers have been carrying around audio equipment since the age of… men? Anyways, the rack mount points are the same exact spec as the server rack mounts. SKB offered robust travel case that met the airline luggage sizing requirement in 4U form.
Bill of Materials:
- (4) Supermicro E200-8D
- (1) SKB 1SKB-R4S 4U Shallow Roto Rack
- (1) Buffalo BS-XP2012 10GbE Managed Switch (discontinued as Aug 2018)
- (1) TrippLite CAT6a Shielded 24-Port Patch Panel
- (1) StarTech 1U Rackmount 16 Outlet PDU (RKPW161915A)
- (16) 32GB DDR4-2400 LP ECC REG (M393A4k40BB1-CRC)
- (4) 1TB SSD Samsung 860 EVO
- (4) 250GB NVMe Samsung 970 EVO
- (1) SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 16GB Flash Drive [Pack of 5]
- (2) NavePoint 1U 19″ Vented Universal Rack Tray 8″ Deep, NO LIP [Pack of 2]
- (12) Noctua NF-A4x20 PWM quiet 40mm fan
- (3) Noctua 120mm SS02 Bearing Case Cooling Fan NF-S12A FLX
- (1) 12V 2A Power Supply Adapter
- (1) Apevia G-120MM Fan Grill [Pack of 3]
- (1) 3U Panel for three 120mm Fans
- (2) CableCreation 1 Feet 18 AWG NEMA 5-15P to IEC320C13 Cable [Pack of 2]
- (1) CablesOnline 3 Feet Right-Angle AC Power Cord with 3-Conductor (PC-303R)
- (3) Monoprice SlimRun CAT6a Ethernet Patch Cable 3 Feet [Pack of 10]
- (1) GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mini Travel Router
- Zip Ties
- Gorilla double sided industrial tape
- Zip tie downs
- Heavy-Duty velcros
- Glue gun
Edit: Updated Options (10/2/2018)