Home Lab

As this blog will revolve around solutions developed in my home lab, I thought it would be best to provide some details about how it is configured and how it will be used to demonstrate different scenarios throughout my current and future blog posts.


  • Brocade ICX6610 48P – This is used as both my top of rack switch but also provides layer 3 routing for my lab.  I am running a QSFP+ to SFP+ breakout cable from the rear of the switch to service two intel x520’s in my compute hosts.  Cable was bought from FS.com, the Brocades are generally pretty good with any coded cable, but makes sense to get the cable coded to Intel, say if you are going to be using Intel NICs.
  • Sophos XG430 – I am using the physical Sophos appliance, however I have removed the operating system and am using PFsense instead
  • I am running OSPF between the two devices and have BGP running between my compute hosts to the Brocade, I am redistributing routes between the protocol.

Coming from Cisco switches, the Brocade was quite different to set up, but once you get your head around it is quite logical and easy.  


  • velocloud at the edge – can’t be seen in the picture. There will be followup posts on this
  • Sophos XG430 running PFsense
  • Brocade ICX6610, running OSPF between PFsense and this
  • 2 QSFP+ to SFP+ DAC breakout cables to the two Fujitsu hosts
  • 8 twinax 10gbit links to the R720’s
  • A whole heap of virtual routers running on the R730
  • UniFi AC Pro’s for wireless


  • Dual Xeon X5670’s
  • 96gb RAM
  • 6x6tb WD RED’s


  • Dual Xeon E5-2630v3’s
  • 256 FG DDR4 RAM
  • Intel 1tb PCIE NVMe SDD – for services such as AD, vCenter, vSAN Witness and NSX-T Manager
  • Nested FreeNAS pool 8 x 1.2TB SAS HDDs for storage and 2 x SAS 256GB SSD’s for slog
  • Dell H730 mini in passthrough mode


2 x R720’s
  • 2 x E5-2670’s and 2 x  E5-2620 v2’s
  • 256GB RAM in each server
  • 250GB NVMe vSAN cache + 2 1tb SSD + NVMe for vSAN capacity
  • 2 x Intel x520-DA2 NICs
  • HBA330
2 x Fujitsu Primergy RX2540’s
  • 2 x E5-2640 v3’s
  • 256GB GB DDR4 RAM
  • 250GB NVMe vSAN cache + 2 1tb SSD + NVMe for vSAN capacity
  • 2 x Intel x520-DA2 NICs
  • PRAID / SAS controllers

Virtual Environment

The management host runs all my management services for the entire environment, this includes Active Directory, vCenter, virtual FreeNAS, vRealize Lifecycle Manager, NSX-T Manager, Veeam, VMware Identity Manager, vRealize Automation, vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Network Insight.  
The storage host serves purely as storage for my lab as well as my media, this is my second tier of storage for my lab, as it is slightly slower than the virtualized instance.
The management hosts setup is generally stable and doesn’t change all that often, however if I am in need of a clean slate for testing, the compute hosts are generally what get nuked and pieced back together. FreeNAS provides faster iSCSI storage to all hosts in the environment and the compute hosts use this as secondary storage after vSAN.  
The two compute hosts are in a 2 node vSAN cluster with the witness appliance sitting on the management host.If you have any questions about configs or anything else relating to the lab please feel free to leave a comment!