HOME LAB: Guide / Info

This Page contains two sections:


The HOME LABS: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE has been present 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!

MAY-2021 VMUG Advantage Session – Part 1: Home Labs 101

AUG-2020 VMUG Advantage Session – Home Labs 101

MAY-2020 Cedar Park VMUG Session

MAR-2020 TAM Lab Recorded Session

Section 2: CURRNT HOME LAB Build Information (Updated 12/2021)


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.




ESXi Hosts: (Unless noted, the items this area are per host)

  • Case:
  • Motherboard:
  • CPU:
    • CPU: 2 x Xeon E5-2640 v2 8 Cores / 16 HT (Ebay $30 each)
    • CPU Cooler: 2 x DEEPCOOL GAMMAXX 400 (Amazon $19)
  • RAM:
    • 256GB DDR3 ECC RAM (Mostly from Ebay)
      • 16 x Host1: ELPIDA 16GB 2Rx4 PC3L-10600R-09-11-E2 Registered ECC Memory DDR3
      • 16 x Host 2: SAMSUNG M393B2K70CM0-YF8 16gb (1x16gb) 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 (1x16gb) 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 240GB M.2 SSD | Boot Disk | Kingston A400 (Amazon $35)
    • 1 x 512GB NVMe SSD | vSAN Cache | Sabrent Rocket 512 (B&H $69)
    • 2 x 2TB SAS HDD | vSAN Capacity | Seagate (Ebay $50)
    • 1 x 2TB SATA | Extra Space | Hitachi (Ebay $50)
  • SAS Controller:
    • 1 x JBOD SAS Controller | vSAN | Dell HBA330 J7TNV (Ebay $70)
    • CableCreation Internal Mini SAS SFF-8643 to (4) 29pin SFF-8482 (Amazon $18)
  • 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:

4 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!


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