It isn’t much, but it’s mine. This work-in progress homelab serves as a playground for selfhosting and learning on my new sysadmin roles.

This current setup effectively replaces an old setup where I used:

Hardware

This 20-U rack is big enough to host, from bottom to top:

  • NAS: QNap TS-469 Pro, a 4-bay NAS hosting 4x 2Tb hard disk, in RAID 5
  • UPS: Cyberpower CP1500AVR, giving an estimated 45 minutes of runtime when the NAS is shut down. In the event of a power loss, the NAS is automatically shut down to maximize battery runtime.
  • One physical server that contains:
    • Case: RackChoice MicroATX/Mini-ITX 2U Châssis. This 2U Rackmount case allows usage of regular PC parts in a rackmount environment.
    • Motherboard: CWWK motherboard with an Intel i3-N305 (8 Cores / 8 Threads). Those are really energy efficient motherboards. This specific board, with the CPU and drives run at roughly ~20W off the wall.
    • 48 Gb of RAM (Note: the N305 and N100 platform has only support for one physical DIMM 😞)
    • OS Drive: Samsung SSD 970 EVO 250GB
    • Data Drive: Crucial 2Tb CT2000BX500SSD1
    • Power Supply: CORSAIR RM650 80 Plus Gold Modular
  • A set of encrypted, external USB hard disk that contains all the data from this rack. I have two identical USB Disks that uses borgbackup to backup important files. I use roughly 300-500 Gb of disk space for all my data combined.
  • A 8-port Netgear GS208 unmanaged switch. I intend to replace this with a Mikrotik managed switch later this year in the upper free slots in the rack.
  • An ONT box from my ISP
  • There’s a Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle antenna poking out behind the cabinet, on the right.

Software

  • The server runs Proxmox VE, an open core licenced Virtualization platform that is slowly taking marketshare off VMWare ESXi after Broadcom’s acquisition. Proxmox is really popular amongst selfhosters. This platform is based off Debian, one of the most popular Linux distributions. On this server, I run those services as a virtual machine each:
    • opnSense as my router. opnSense is a fork of the popular pfSense. Since my N305 motherboard has FOUR physical network ports, I was able to passthrough NIC adapters to the virtual machine. In this case, because I want opnSense to act as my router, I passed through one NIC adapter for the LAN, and one for the WAN.
    • An AlmaLinux instance, that acts as a Docker host and a Samba file share server. Currently, I run 21 Docker containers on that host. One principal use is to be the hub for automation at home with Zigbee and Home Assistant. I previously blogged about this setup, and hasn’t changed much since then, except maybe IP addresses, and a few devices added 😅

Future plans

While there is always room for improvement, I don’t expect to have a full 42U rack anytime soon. This 20U rack has been especially selected because it’s on wheels and I can easily roll around my IT equipment to somewhere else. I have purposefully let a TON of RJ45 cable in extra behind the rack in case we need to move the rack. We are planning to build a secondary bathroom in the basement roughly where the server rack is, so this rack might need to be moved in the future.

As far as storage, data and processing goes, since I don’t host an in-house streaming platform (Plex, *arr apps, etc), my needs are really modest in hardware. I may explore the possibility to have a secondary Proxmox instance, or a Proxmox Backup Server, as a backup solution if my main server goes down.

Projected upgrades:

  • Add a 1-U patch panel
  • Add a Mikrotik managed switch
  • Add secondary Proxmox instance or a Proxmox Backup Server
  • Continue to fiddle with Docker apps as I find them interesting or an use for them (constant learning)