HOME LAB: Guide / Info

This Page contains two sections:


The HOME LABS: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE has been presented to various groups.  Below are links to my slides and videos.   During these sessions I go into detail around Home lab design considerations, which is something we usually don’t think of when building a home lab. I do hope you find this information very useful. Please feel free to ask any questions or post comments…  Thanks — Enjoy!

Note – If you want me to present this guide to your group, do reach out always happy to help.

JUNE-2022 vExpert Session – Home Labs Definitive Guide

MAY-2021 VMUG Advantage Session – Home Labs Definitive Guide

AUG-2020 VMUG Advantage Session – Home Labs Definitive Guide

MAY-2020 Cedar Park VMUG Session – Home Labs Definitive Guide

MAR-2020 TAM Lab Recorded Session

Section 2: CURRNT HOME LAB BOM (Updated 05/2022)


My Gen 7 Home Lab is based on vSphere 7 (VCSA, ESXi, and vSAN), NSX-T, and vRealize Suite. Additionally, I use it for vSphere Nesting and Testing. It contains 3 x ESXi Hosts, 1 x Windows 10 Workstation,  4 x Cisco Switches, 2 x MikroTik 10gbe Switch, 3 x APC UPS, 1 x Synology 1621+, and 1 x Asustor Lockerstor 10.  Read further below for an itemized list.

NOTE: My Home Lab Generation 7 design will not fully work with vSphere.NEXT.  Chances are I’ll carry over some of the components for my vSphere.NEXT design.




ESXi Hosts: (Total cost for one host ~$1325 | Unless noted, the items this area are per host)

NOTE: This Home Lab Generation 7 has worked well for me with vSphere 7 BUT most likely it will need to be updated for vSphere.NEXT due to pCPU discontinuation. Please see this KB for further information https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/82794

  • Case:
  • Motherboard:
  • CPU: (These CPUs work on vSphere 7, but chances are they will NOT work with vSphere.NEXT)
    • 2 x Xeon E5-2640 v2 8 Cores / 16 HT (Ebay $30 each)
  • CPU Cooler or Heatsink: (Bracket required to fit narrow 2011 cooler mounts)
  • RAM:
    • 256GB DDR3 ECC RAM (Mostly from Ebay | each host has a different brand)
      • 16 x Host1: ELPIDA 16GB 2Rx4 PC3L-10600R-09-11-E2 Registered ECC Memory DDR3
      • 16 x Host 2: SAMSUNG M393B2K70CM0-YF8 16gb Pc3-8500r 1066mhz 1.35v Quad Rank X4 Ecc Registered Cl7 Ddr3 Sdram 240-pin Rdimm Memory Module For Server
      • 16 x Host 3: HYNIX HMT42GR7BMR4C-G7 16gb Pc3-8500r 1066mhz Cl7 Quad Rank X4 Registered Ecc Ddr3 Sdram 240-pin Rdimm Memory Module For Server
  • Disks:
    • 1 x Dual M.2 PCIe Adapter Card for NVMe/SATA SSD (Amazon $15)
      • 1 x 512GB NVMe SSD | vSAN Cache | Sabrent Rocket 512 (B&H $69)
      • 1 x 240GB M.2 SSD | Boot Disk | Kingston A400 (Amazon $35)
    • 2 x Supermicro AOC-SLG3-2M2 PCIe NVMe (Amazon $55)
      • 2 x 2TB NVMe SSD | vSAN Capacity | Sabrent Rocket 512 (Amazon $199)
    • 1 x 2TB SATA | Extra Space | Hitachi (Ebay $50)
  • Network:
    • Motherboard Integrated i350 1gbe 4 Port
    • 1 x MellanoxConnectX3 Dual Port (HP INFINIBAND 4X DDR PCI-E HCA CARD 452372-001)
  • Power Supply:
    • Antec Earthwatts 500-700 Watts (Adapters needed to support case and motherboard connections)
      • Adapter: Dual 8(4+4) Pin Male for Motherboard Power Adapter Cable (Amazon $11)
      • Adapter: LP4 Molex Male to ATX 4 pin Male Auxiliary (Amazon $11)
      • Power Supply Extension Cable: StarTech.com 8in 24 Pin ATX 2.01 Power Extension Cable (Amazon $9)

Storage (NAS):


Battery Backup UPS:

Window 10 Workstation:

6 thoughts on “HOME LAB: Guide / Info

    BW said:
    April 12, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Hello, I’m curious, what sort of VM performance do you get with iSCSI and your FreeNAS server with ESXi


      Matt Mancini responded:
      April 15, 2016 at 10:31 am

      I am no longer using FreeNAS as its over all performance was weak, I found the communities support unpleasant, and finally the over all product at the time I used it was quite buggy. I spent more time getting it to run vs. using it. Granted my choice of FreeNAS hardware wasn’t perfect but I used what I had. In the end I migrated my FreeNAS box to VMWare VSAN and I could not have been happier — https://vmexplorer.com/2014/08/18/vsan-the-migration-from-freenas-2/


    Darrell said:
    February 26, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    looking to build a remote gaming machine and passthrough your GPU to a virtual machine. Can this be done in a HomeLab with VMWare or am I in-over-my-head? Great presentation. I also watch all your build vids on YouTube.


      Matt Mancini responded:
      February 27, 2021 at 5:29 pm

      Hey Darrell, thanks for the comment and support. I have not tried nor have I looked into something like that. It’s been on my mind a bit but right now I’ve been doing a lot with NSX and vRNI. If I were to do something like this, I guess would start by reading the ESXi documentation and looking for blogs where folks have done this. Check out this blogger, he’s been doing home labs and GPUs too — https://tinkertry.com/vmware-vsphere-esxi-7-gpu-passthrough-ui-bug-workaround Hope this helps! Reach out anytime!


    Jeff Gandy said:
    February 28, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    I used your list to purchase (2) DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX 400 which does not fit the Supermicro X9DRD-7LN4F-JBOD.


      Matt Mancini responded:
      February 28, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      @Jeff – Thank you for your comment. For some reason the CPU Cooler adapter plate I used on the X9DRD-7LN4F-JBOD that allowed the GAMMAX400 cooler to mount wasn’t listed on my Home Lab Guide parts list. Here is the part I used >> https://www.ebay.com/itm/123822787976 I will add this today.


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