Home Lab Update

I’ve outgrown my current home lab setup. The desire and passion I have to go deeper in VMware technology I had to expand. Passion to learn has no boundaries or limitations by nature but there’s a budget and cost that tends to stand in the way.  But I generally default to, if there’s a will there’s a way.

Current Home Lab (Phase 1):

  • 3 Intel NUC’s Skull Canyon (NUC6i7KYK)
    • i7 Processors
    • 512 & 256 NVMe storage
    • 32GB RAM

Currently running following:

  • Multiple Domain Controllers (ADDS)
  • Exchange Servers
  • Key Management System (KMS)
  • VMware NSX
    • Micro-segmentation
    • Edge Services Gateways
    • Load Balancers
  • VMware Site Recovery Manager
  • VMware vSphere Replication
  • vCenter (VCSA) + VCHA
  • VMware Network Insight
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight
  • VMware vRealize Operations
  • Various other OS’s (Client Windows, Linux Web Servers etc..)

Everything is great and runs perfectly but there’s a problem. That problem was extending beyond a single cluster and/or ‘site/location’.

Purchased an additional 3 more Intel NUC Skull Canyons with the same specs as Phase 1.

Home Lab (Phase 2):

  • Compute: 62 Ghz
  • Memory: 192 GB
  • Storage: 5 TB

Storage is backed by an all SSD Synology.

Public Primary (Prod) to Secondary (DR) is handled by Cisco ASA appliances with statics.

Networking: Force10 (Dell) 48-port 1/10GB switches.


  • Extend layer 2 boundaries for site failover. – NSX
    • Site Recovery Manager for DR failover testing and orchestration.
    • vSphere Replication for non-array replication.
    • VDI deployment
    • vRealize Automation


Bill of Materials: For your own NUC cluster:

Intel NUC – NUC6i7KYK

Memory – Crucial 32GB Kit (Buy this memory or you might encounter issues)

Samsung 960 EVO/Pro Series NVMe M.2 (Storage is dependent if you want to run the NUCs in a vSAN environment or not. If shared storage is going to be used then local storage isn’t needed).

StarTech USB 3.0 Ethernet LAN Adapter This allows the ability to use a USB port to ethernet for storage or anything else. Highly recommended. Custom driver built and install instruction below:

William Lam at VMware built this driver which works flawlessly. Link: StarTech USB 3.0 to Ethernet for NUC

This is a very short run down of the home lab update. Stay tuned to the future blog post series and how we achieve this design outside of production.


Thanks for reading!

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