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homelab overview#

"I've hired many engineers and would easily hire someone who has built and maintains their own home lab over any possible certifications." (executive hiring manager for large tech corporation)


  • Solid, hands-on experience
  • Includes hardware, networking, operations, and development skills

Stages to homelab development#

  1. Start with old machine and install Linux/UNIX to breath new life.
    1. Consider defunct, refurbished school lab computers.
    2. Consider single-board computers (SBC) for sensor-integration and AI.
    3. Take advantage of the “hype effect” and buy refurbished over new.
  2. When enough computers invest in a router and build home network.
  3. Save money and buy a refurbished server to host virtual machines.
  4. Save more money and buy multiple, small computers to build HW/HA cluster.

What about power?#

  • Invest in a good power meter.
  • Secret to managing power is having metered LED PDU (don't skimp on PDU).

How much do I have to spend?#

Virtualisation considerations#

  • KVM is master of the universe
  • QEMU emulates everything, not just Linux, but bloated a bit
  • Firecracker replaced QEMU when small VMs wanted
  • Firecracker is master of MicroVMs, but doesn't emulate everything