As part of my ongoing training and as a tool for my work as a consultant I maintain a permanent lab composed of a total of four white box servers based on Shuttle Hardware here’s what’s currently in my home lab.

Lab Hardware

While I update hardware from time to time and add some more “servers” here’s what I am using at the moment

2 x Shuttle SZ77R5 with 32GB Memory each and an Intel Core i7 Processor

These two servers are running VMware ESXi 5.5 and I use them mainly to keep my skills up to date with VMware technologies but also to test PowerCli scripts and my System Center Orchestrator runbooks.

2 x Shuttle SX79R2 with 32GB Memory each and an Intel Core i7 Processor

These two servers are running Windows 2012 R2 with the Hhyper-V role installed, they serve as my main virtualization hosts configured as high available cluster managed by an SCVMM VM.

While all machines have local disks I use them mainly to host files or low priority VMs as the main storage I use a Synology 1813+ with 8 4TB disks all hypervisors and some of the Virtual Machines are using iSCSI to access the storage.

In addition to the above servers I also have a couple of Cisco Switches, mainly 2960 and 3560 that I purchased when studying for the CCNP Certification, which I use to test VLANs configuration and for SNMP Monitoring via SCOM.

Lab Name

As you probably have noticed in all my posts the domain name I used for my Active Directory forest is mcse.lab and not the reason for the choice is rather simple, when I was studying for my MCSE on Windows NT 4.0, yes I am that old, I setup a home lab with a couple of computers and named the domain MCSE name that I maintained through the years studying for my MCSE Windows 2000 and 2003, as MCSE certification is still around I decided to keep the name hence mcse.lab.

Deployment Methodology

Most of the servers I run in the lab are based on trial software so from time to time I am forced to “refresh” the lab to make my life easier I use a mixture of MDT and SCCM OSD to quickly provision new VMs, thankfully SCVMM Service Templates help make the whole deployment process even easier.


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