• We had to restore from a backup today after a failed software update. Backup was from 0000 EDT and restored it at 0800 EDT so we lost about 8hrs. Today is 07/20/2024. More info here.

AlphaObeisance

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I've spent the better part of 9 months building my first home lab / data center after a brother man of mine gave me an old Dell PowerEdge 2950. I spent the winter studying how to use hypervisors (ESXi and now Proxmox) and he just sent me a Class 3 48 port PoE Vlan switch that I need to get set up with the new router and the servers. I've got so much to do at this point that it's nearly overwhelming at times as I have no formal IT education and have learned 100% by trial and error, and a metric ton of studying.

That said, I figured I'd start a "Glow Up" section for those of us building home labs. Now while I'm curious as to everyone's home lab setup, I'd prefer this thread contain only Home Labs with Enterprise level equipment. R-Pies and it's competitors are cool and all, but if I were building this home lab only for the sake of self hosting, I'd not be dumping so much money into enterprise level equipment when affordable consumer options are much more compact and available.

No, my home lab is being built SPECIFICALLY to get hands on experience with enterprise level hardware in hopes to one day land a SysAdmin gig at the very least. I need hands on physical enterprise hardware so to at the very least familiarize myself with similar enterprise hardware, which cannot be done with an R-pie for obvious reasons. Therefore, with any luck there are other Home Labbers out there with some enterprise hardware that they'd be willing to share for inspiration purposes.

This endeavor can be so discouraging sometimes. I have nobody to run too with question and inquiry when I get stuck, and I've had to resolve everything 100% on my own through self driven research and trial and error through virtual environments. I've learned so much about the Systems Administration side, with no doubt tons more to learn; currently struggling while trying to comprehend Networking and Reverse Proxy but I'll get it figured out eventually.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough that for my 35th birthday my Father in Law surprised me with this beautiful Sysrack for my home lab; and I couldn't be happier about it. No more hanging by 2x4's on the wall!

I'm eager to get the switch configured so I can go all cable nazi about it and ensure it's sexier than Palmela Handerson on Saturday night. But until then, it's my hope ya'll might share some shots of your labs. I don't use Reddit, so I figured I'd try starting a post here instead. I mean, we do have an ongoing "show your desktop" thread, why not start a "Homelab Share" thread!

Cheers!

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Awesome setup!
No, my home lab is being built SPECIFICALLY to get hands on experience with enterprise level hardware in hopes to one day land a SysAdmin gig at the very least.
Just so you know, you don't need hands on experience with enterprise level hardware to land a sysadmin job. As long as you know Linux and have an attitude of wanting to learn new things for the things you don't know you will be able to get a sysadmin job.
 
Awesome setup!

Just so you know, you don't need hands on experience with enterprise level hardware to land a sysadmin job. As long as you know Linux and have an attitude of wanting to learn new things for the things you don't know you will be able to get a sysadmin job.

This gives me hope. But if this is the case, why is finding a gig so dang hard lol. I can't tell you how many emails I get from Linked In and Ineed about SysAdmin jobs. But no doubt due to my "lack of certification" or my "lack of professional experience", nothing ever goes anywhere.

I've been using exclusively linux for the past 5 years, and while I still feel like a wee infant that knows very little, typically most any problem I've encountered in that time I've been able to resolve in no time flat.

Not even kidding, I'm quite confident that provided the opportunity to do so, I'd be able to master a SysAdmin work flow in no time at all. While I do my best to replicate an enterprise work flow, it's pretty much impossible as I don't have use for most of the stuff I'd be doing in SysAdmin.

Self hosting services like Jellyfin or Nextcloud, Gitea and some game servers is all I really have use for an environment like this for. I really wish I had some kind of spread sheet that broke down the day to day tasks of a sysadmin so I could mimick the work flow.

I'm currently a stay at home dad homeschooling my kids, so I spent from about 9pm-3-4am every night studying, tinkering, and down right train wrecking things just to fix them; as I don't really know what else to do at this point.

100000s of jobs out there, apparently, but everyone wants that paper certificate. And while I aim to get my Linux+ and Security+ certs, I've got a life long track record of bombing every test I've ever taken, regardless of how well versed I was on the test criteria. So I'm hesitant to waste $500 on a "chance" to pass my tests, then to have to do it all over again 3 short years later is really intimidating to me.

Though I do hear this a lot from folks in IT, that experience and hands on isn't required, just a thirst for knowledge and reliability. But if that were the case, someone would have picked me up years ago lol. I learned Linux rather rapidly. I've probably forgotten more than I use on a daily basis. But thankfully anything I've forgotten can easily be recalled in a 5 second google search ;).

I should honestly take a break. Trying to learn all this stuff has nearly driven me mad at times. But I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment because I truly love doing it. Even fighting this god awful struggle of trying to comprehend reverse proxy and networking. Spite how absolutely infuriating it's been for me, I just keep coming back like some kicked puppy lol.

If that's not a willingness to learn, and ability to be self driven. Nothing is.
 
I've seen using exclusively linux for the past 5 years, and while I still feel like a wee infant that knows very little, typically most any problem I've encountered in that time I've been able to resolve in no time flat.
You learn a lot more on the job and from experience on the job. As a sysadmin you don't have to know everything and aren't expected to, you are expected to know the basics, to be able to learn on the job and from experience. When you start as a sysadmin you will start as junior, you will be guided by a senior as in they will give you tasks to do and you will learn and grow from that and learn more things as well. I'm speaking from first hand experience because I worked as a service-desk employee in a company and then I showed interest in Linux, spend time with the Linux guys and spent all my free time on Linux and eventually I was asked to come work at their department.

I don't know where you're from and how it is with jobs but keep faith in you being able to land a sysadmin job! Keep your chin and your head up! If you do want to learn something you haven't learned yet, have a look at learning Ansible. It's used by a lot of companies for configuration management.
 
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You learn a lot more on the job and from experience on the job. As a sysadmin you don't have to know everything and aren't expected to, you are expected to know the basics, to be able to learn on the job and from experience. When you start as a sysadmin you will start as junior, you will be guided by a senior as in they will give you tasks to do and you will learn and grow from that and learn more things as well. I'm speaking from first had experience because I worked as a service-desk employee in a company and then I showed interest in Linux, spend time with the Linux guys and spent all my free time on Linux and eventually I was asked to come work at their department.

I don't know where you're from and how it is with jobs but keep faith in you being able to land a sysadmin job! Keep your chin and your head up! If you do want to learn something you haven't learned yet, have a look at learning Ansible. It's used by a lot of companies for configuration management.
Your words of encouragement mean more than you know. I really do appreciate it. My spark of hope has been dwindling. Thanks to my Father in Law for the nice rack as it gave me a slight ego boost in that now I at least "look" like I know what i'm doing ;).

I'll be sure to check out Ansible. I've heard of it, but have yet to dance in it.
 
Very nice!

Don't forget to try out Harvester too as another alternative to Proxmox and VMWare. It's an up and coming HCI also.

As for how I got my first admin job. I was doing "data processing" and it was a manually job where I was editing files with vi and doing other things for nightly sales from our stores.

The job was from 7:30 AM till 4:30 PM. It took most of that day to process all the information. Within 30 days of starting working there. I used the Korn shell (it was Motorola Unix, not Linux) and automated the entire process down to 30 minutes.

The bosses came in at 8:30 AM and the reports were on their desk before they even started work. ;)

That triggered an immediate promotion. :) (though it could have triggered an immediate job loss since I automated my entire job hah)
 
Very nice!

Don't forget to try out Harvester too as another alternative to Proxmox and VMWare. It's an up and coming HCI also.
I'll be sure to check it out!

As for how I got my first admin job. I was doing "data processing" and it was a manually job where I was editing files with vi and doing other things for nightly sales from our stores.

The job was from 7:30 AM till 4:30 PM. It took most of that day to process all the information. Within 30 days of starting working there. I used the Korn shell (it was Motorola Unix, not Linux) and automated the entire process down to 30 minutes.

The bosses came in at 8:30 AM and the reports were on their desk before they even started work. ;)

That triggered an immediate promotion. :) (though it could have triggered an immediate job loss since I automated my entire job hah)

That's quite the testimony! My wife works as a QA tech at a major pet food plant in my town. I'm 99% sure they outsource their IT support as they only stop in every few months and it takes seemingly forever to get any support for even basic things like users having issues logging in and such. Having worked at the plant previously myself I'm somewhat familiar with their systems.

I can't help but think the company would be so much better off with in house IT support. Heck just in the ability to have someone capable of user management alone would save them a ton of time and money. They've started implementing a new requirement that QA techs take pictures during the deep clean process so to ensure things are being done properly.

This started a stink about whether or not pictures being shared were in fact being taken in real time rather than being stored and shared later. I told her how easy it would be to pull the meta data from the images to verify the exact time and date an image was taken and how much it would benefit the company being able to identify less than accurate (and sometimes down right unethical) work on the part of any given employee participating in this ( you'd be surprised at how many might take pictures of a primo cleaning job, then save it for the next time ). Simple things like this could make a huge difference; and this is just super simple basic stuff. Never mind how convenient it would be to have someone in house (less than 1 mile away) that could be called in at any given time to address connectivity or database issues.

This is just an example of how I think. I would have to have some way to prove the value of in house IT but unfortunately that's pretty hard to do without having access to their network in order to seek out ways to optimize it.

As I mentioned in DM with f33dm3bits, truthfully at this point I'd be content getting a gig just updating CT's, VM's and services. Truth be told I'd do just about anything provided I could get my foot in the door and have a solid mentor to show me what is expected of me.

I'm in a bit of a slump in that I feel I'm not making any progress. But then when I get to talking about Hypervisors, CT's, VM's and Services, Networking or whatever else. 99% of peoples eyes cloud over and they blank out until I'm done talking and then resume the conversation as though I'd said nothing at all. So that tells me I must be, at the very least, skilled to some degree lol.

Being self educated on these things I have absolutely no doubt there would be much more efficient ways to do what little I do. But for the most part, I do everything manually in most cases. Game servers are deployed using auto deployment scripts through LGSM ( Linux Game Server Manager ), which effectively deploy a default server, then I configure things manually through the configurations.

I used to deploy Nextcloud manually and I was able to get it successfully installed (MySQL, Nextcloud and such), configuring multiple services just to get Nextcloud online. But I've since opted for the lazy man's way of just installing Nextcloud through Ubuntu's installation script as it's got an automated snap installation of Nextcloud.

Aint afraid of getting my hands dirty and doing things the manual way as I figure that's the best way to understand the fundamentals. But it tends to kick me in the keester when legitimate Sysadmins start asking why I don't use Docker more often, or things like Portainer (I've literally never used Portainer). And my only excuse is typically that either A: I'm ignorant to such tools, or B: I've already configured something manually and it works, so I'm too lazy to start over lol.

My biggest road block is that I'm trying to learn so many different things simutaneously that I'm really more of a jack of all trades that knows how to do a little bit of a lot of things, rather than a few things really well. A caveat of being self taught with no legitimate work flow to adhere too lol.

I often fantasize about how much more I could learn come the day I find myself at some entry level position with legitimate expectations for work flow.

I do like to automate stuff, albeit I'm not always good at it. I've written a few bash scripts but that's about it as I'm not a programmer (no training there either). I've worked in Python tid bits here and there as I either reverse engineer pre-existing scripts or I discuss with my LLM what I'd like to achieve, it spits out a foundation to at least get me started and I tinker my way through it until I get at least some what close to my desired outcome.
 
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I used to work for a guy who was some kind of former Dell HMM (*) and he said the difference between "servers" and "workstations" is nothing more than the amount of fans. While I've found that to be (mostly) true, there is the issue of those really expensive "server grade" hard disks, dual power supplies, multi port NICs, etc - but from a sysadmin POV, it's all pretty much the same.


*) HMM - "High Muckety Muck"
 
I used to work for a guy who was some kind of former Dell HMM (*) and he said the difference between "servers" and "workstations" is nothing more than the amount of fans. While I've found that to be (mostly) true, there is the issue of those really expensive "server grade" hard disks, dual power supplies, multi port NICs, etc - but from a sysadmin POV, it's all pretty much the same.


*) HMM - "High Muckety Muck"

Oh I agree. I'm just a bit of a nut lol.

I'm the type that envisions one day getting a SysAdmin job and Day 1 walking into a server room having an absolute panic attack because I don't recognize any of the hardware lol. Granted, I could be trained, but I eliminate a large majority of the pressure by having Enterprise servers in my lab lol.

Though, at this point, even my own home lab intimidates me as I look at the new switch!

That said, software side. Hypervisors a Hypervisor lol, R-Pie or Power Edge, it's all the same.

Just one of my quirks lol. Plus I've got a lust for hardware, so knowing I can have nearly 1TB of RAM and Hundreds of TB of storage (sitting on 100+ TB) with just 6 drives alone lol. Good gawd it gets me excited.
 
The confidence your home lab gives you will be worth its weight in gold... Then you'll mess up royally due to over confidence. ;)

I once inadvertently created a file in the /bin directory of a production server. No big deal. But then, as root, due to a single extra space on the command line, I moved the entire /bin into my home directory. My confidence evaporated instantly and I carefully -copied- it back to where it belonged... and until the day that server was retired, I had a copy of /bin in my home directory.
 
The confidence your home lab gives you will be worth its weight in gold... Then you'll mess up royally due to over confidence. ;)

I once inadvertently created a file in the /bin directory of a production server. No big deal. But then, as root, due to a single extra space on the command line, I moved the entire /bin into my home directory. My confidence evaporated instantly and I carefully -copied- it back to where it belonged... and until the day that server was retired, I had a copy of /bin in my home directory.

Oh make no mistake, I fully anticipate this very thing to happen to me lol.

I somehow recently copied the entire root directory to the /media directory when tinkering on my Jellyfin server. Talk about a gut punch lol!

At least I'm not alone hahaha!

The bulk of my home lab only boosts my ego to the extent that I know I can test things in a confined environment before deploying in production lol. Ideally this kind of resource would be considered an asset to my resume? Can't imagine companies provide playgrounds lol!
 

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