Shortly after the Christmas of 2016, I purchased my first server for my home lab. I say first, because purchasing gear for your lab is like crack (I’ll explain later on).
I’ve always had my own lab. Using tons of computer, with multiple virtual machines, I had created my own mishmosh network for testing out cool stuff I heard about. The problem was that it took up a LOT of space, and I always seemed to destroy hardware. DESTROY IT. Graphics cards caught on fire, hard drives developed wonderful knocks, it was glorious.
I actually bought “The Beast” to add to this, because I was looking for a cheap way to get a system with a TON of memory. Long story short, I was running a custom Xubuntu Linux distribution that I modified to run completely out of ram, and needed at least 32Gb of ram for my OS and virtual machine (maybe one day I’ll write a blog about it). Of course I didn’t have close to a thousand dollars to spend, so I turned to eBay for help! I totally got distracted by the server’s. For $200, I bought a Dell Poweredge R710 with dual quad-core processors, 48GB of ram, 4x GB Ethernet, 8x 2.5inch hot swap bays connected to a hardware RAID controller, and dual 1000W power supplies. I picked up 8 300GB self encrypting SAS drives off ebay, also pretty cheap (I think $15 or $20 a drive) Perfect for what I was planning to do. Well all my plans changed right before the server was delivered, a bunch of job opportunities popped up but they needed experience with SIEM and OSSIM, so I decided I was going to create my own virtual environment to test this out out.
The server arrived well packed, with a test checklist on top.
I like seeing this kind of thing, it illudes to a well organized testing process and really shows that someone took the time into making sure the customer gets a good experience. Unfortunately, and of course life would work this way, the hard drives were coming two days after the server. In the mean time I unpacked the server, assembled it, and turned it on.
As soon as I hit that power button, and all the fans spin up, I immediately thought “Oh. My. God. I need another one, I could do a HA setup and check out vSANs and….”. Crack, pure crack. Needless to say a rack, a second R710, and a few other nifty devices are in my future.