face-sandLeading up to my splurge on equipment for a home lab and the subsequent post-purchase justification, I had already been thinking for a long time about what requirements any solution I decided to build must meet.


My primary requirements were:

  • Minimal power consumption / heat / noise -- These three requirements kind of go hand in hand. By utilising components with low energy consumption I should be reducing the heat output and therefore needing fewer noisy fans to keep everything running cool.
  • Maximum of three servers -- I'm a little bit power constrained in my office. There are already a ton of things plugged in and multiple extension leads are in use as there is only a single power outlet. Having to hook up any more than three additional computers to the mains would probably result in me needing to install additional outlets. Seeing as how my office is in the opposite corner diagonally from where my consumer unit is located in my house, this would likely be a real pain to achieve.
  • Maximum resources (within reason) -- As fun as it would be to have a fully loaded FlexPod in my office it would, unfortunately be inappropriate for a number of reasons. I needed to get the most capacity out of a given solution for the money while adhering to my previous requirements.
  • 64-bit and Virtualisation Support -- This kind of goes without saying for a home lab environment, but whatever CPUs I choose must be 64-bit and provide virtualisation support, either Intel VT-x or AMD-V.
  • Secure remote access and remote power control -- Chances are I'll want to be able to access and use the environment when I'm on the road. If I'm working on a customer's site and living out of a hotel, having the ability to remotely access the environment is a must. At the same time however, I don't want to have to leave all the equipment running if I'm away from home for the week. Therefore, having the ability to remotely power on the servers is important.

In Part 3, I'll be putting together the kit list based on my requirements and budget.