This page will grow as the HomeLab changes :)

2018

I started my Home Lab sometime around mid 2018 with the intention to host a website for my Robotics team. The picture below is one of the first ones I found covering everything I had at the start. Server was the old family PC: AMD Athlon II, 8GB RAM, 80GB Seagate Apple HDD running Ubuntu Server. Connected straight to the Technicolor router-modem combo device from Kabelplus (big shoutouts to them for giving out static IPs by default.) Had port forwarding on for everything & no SSH key. Felt super good about that solution back then, but thankfully know better now.

2019

Expanded the Server with a Samsung 980 Bootdrive (massive difference coming from the previous one) & three 4TB Seagate IronWolfs. Pretty sure I ran them in software RAID5 at the time. I’ve migrated these drives multiple times & they are still in use now. Thankfully have never had problems with them even though they have kind of a bad image.

After this I also cleaned up the network side of things, installing a FortiGate 60D-POE & two FortiAP 321Cs that I got from my first internship at ITSDONE. Also set up PiHole (Raspberry Pi 3 with a WaveShare 2.7 inch display,) which was my first real interaction with DNS besides setting https://konst.fish to point to my public IP.

At this point the technicolor modem wasn’t set to use PPPoE since the setting was locked by my ISP, so I was double NATing. At least I figured out that I could set the FortiGate as DMZ so I didn’t have to adjust the modem settings anymore. Still just port-forwarding everything through to the server at this point.

After my second internship (still at ITSDONE) I bought this 10U rack. Honestly didn’t really need it that early but I let myself be influenced by the people on r/HomeLab with their insanely impressive setups.

Didn’t do much with it for the next few months. Moved stuff a bunch tho. I also figured out how to use Docker & I think I also had an ssh key at this point. Still running on the single Ubuntu server, virtualisation is achieved next year. Guess what my Mac looked like at the time. (I’ve never actively used Vim, had no clue about React at the time, couldn’t even make an AWS account since I wasn’t 18. Jägermeister sticker is accurate though)

Towards the end of 2019 I moved the initial rack-mountable stuff into the rack & started running a FortiMail 100D (had a super interesting workaround with SSH tunnels to a DigitalOcean Droplet since Kabelplus blocks traffic on port 25. Need to make a writeup on that at some point)

Network wise the the Lab looked like this. I drew this in Notability, honestly unsure why I didn’t use draw.io back then but still glad I have this plan.

2020

Accelerated a bit faster this year. Started out by installing Proxmox on my gaming PC and throwing it into a 4U rackmount case. This picture is pretty early days, I 3d printed some HDD mounts (first one actually is on the bottom left) & also installed a GTX 980 for Plex. (Super overkill but didn’t know what else to do with the card.)

I didn’t have any rails to mount the case with at this point, so the server just lived next to the rack for the first ~3 months. Installed a sick LED strip (20% capacity increase) & monitor tho.

Got a ZyXEL GS1900E, Monoprice MP Select Mini 3D printer & rails towards the end of the year.

Network plan grew into this within a year, pretty cool locking back at the progress. I also don’t think I ever used the Azure S2S VPN, their IPSec gateway was a little expensive & I didn’t really have a use case. Still looked good on the diagram tho.

2021

Even though I was running two FortiAPs I always felt like our Wifi would have been better just running a consumer router. (Still feel that way with most consumer IoT stuff & other devices that need internet access, it’s like they really don’t want you to segment your network.) “Fixed” it by mounting a single 223E in my attic, which has held up great so far.

Not many hardware related updates this year, I was learning Ansible & Terraform, tearing down and rebuilding the VMs running on my Proxmox. Taught me a lot about ephemerality, which I’m super happy about since I feel like that’s the direction IT is moving in generally.

I did decide to drop the FortiMails (the second one never ran, it was just in the rack because I thought it looked cool.) Self hosting mail is kind of a struggle when you don’t have access to port 25 so a lot of my outgoing mail just got dropped right away. Switched to iCloud+ Mail, which I’m still pretty happy with.

mini lab w/ 3d printed clips (still not done lol)

mandatory military service so not much else

2022

fortigate 100d noctua fan swap

oracle cloud https://github.com/konstfish/server-playbook (network diagram image)

off to uni so had to go cloud

2023

back for winter break optiplex & fortiwifi 30e due to power usage (final rack image)

2024

raspberry 5 k3s cluster

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