What’s in a home lab?

A colleague asked today about my home lab configuration, and I came to the realization that I have never published a good inventory of the different software and hardware that I run as part of my home lab / home automation setup. While I have documented bits and pieces, I never pushed a full update. I will do my best to hit the highlights without boring everyone.


I have a small cabinet in my basement mechanical room which contains the majority of my hardware, with some other devices sprinkled around.

This is all a good mix of new and used stuff: Ebay was a big help. Most of it was procured over several years, including a number of partial updates to the NAS disks

  • NAS – Synology Diskstation 1517+. This is the 5-bay model. I added the M2D18 expansion card, and I currently have 5 x 4TB WD Red Drives and 2 x 1GB WD SSDs for cache. Total storage in my configuration is 14TB.
  • Server – HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8. Two Xeon E5-2660 processors, 288 GB of RAM, and two separate RAID arrays. The system array is 136GB, while the storage array is 1TB.
  • Network
    • HP ProCurve Switch 2810-24G – A 24 port GB switch that serves most of my switching needs.
    • Unifi Security Gateway – Handles all of my incoming/outgoing traffic through the modem and provides most of my high-level network capabilities.
    • Unifi Access Points – Three in total, 2 are the UAP-AC-LR models, the other is the UAP-AC-M outdoor antenna.
    • Motorola Modem – I did not need the features of the Comcast/Xfinity modem, nor did I want to lease it, so I bought a compatible modem.
  • Miscellaneous Items
    • BananaPi M5 – Runs Nginx as a reverse proxy into my network.
    • RaspberryPi 4B+ – Runs Home Assistant. This was a recent move, documented pretty heavily in a series of posts that starts here.
    • RaspberryPi Model B – That’s right, an O.G. Pi that runs my monitoring scripts to check for system status and reports to statuspage.io.
    • RaspberryPi 4B+ – Mounted behind the television in my office, this one runs a copy of MagicMirror to give me some important information at a glance.
    • RaspberryPi 3B+ – Currently dormant.


This one is lengthy, so I broke it down into what I hope are logical and manageable categories.

The server is running Windows Hyper-V Server 2019. Everything else, unless noted, is running on a VM on that server.

Server VMs

  • Domain Controllers – Two Windows domain controllers (primary and secondary).
  • SQL Servers – Two SQL servers (non-production and production). It’s a home lab, so the express editions suffice.


My activities around Kubernetes are probably the most well-documented of the bunch, but, to be complete: Three RKE2 Kubernetes clusters. Two three-node clusters and one four-node cluster to run internal, non-production, and production workloads. The nodes are Ubuntu 22.04 images with RKE2 installed.

Management and Monitoring Tools

For some management and observability into this system, I have a few different software suites running.

  • Unifi Controller – This makes management of the USG and Access points much easier. It is currently running in the production cluster using the jacobalberty image.
  • ArgoCD – Argo is my current GitOps operator and is used to make sure what I want deployed on my clusters is out there.
  • LGTM Stack – I have instances of Loki, Grafana, Tempo, and Mimir running in my internal cluster, acting as the target for metrics data.
  • Grafana Agent – For my VMs and other hardware that supports it, I installed Grafana Agent and configured them to report metrics and logs to Mimir/Loki.
  • Hashicorp Vault – I am running an instance of Hashicorp Vault in my clusters to provide secret management, using the External Secrets operator to provide cached secret management in Kubernetes.
  • Minio – In order to provide a local storage instance with S3 compatible APIs, I’m running Minio as a docker image directly on the Synology.

Cluster Tools

Using Application Sets and the Cluster generator, I configured a number of “cluster tools” which allow me to install different tools to clusters using labels and annotations on the Argo cluster Secret resource.

This allows me to install multiple tools using the same configuration, which improves consistency. The following are configured for each cluster.

  • kube-prometheus – I use Bitnami’s kube-prometheus Helm chart to install an instance of Prometheus on each cluster. They are configured to remote-write to Mimir.
  • promtail – I use the promtail Helm chart to install an instance of Promtail on each cluster. They are configured to remote-write to Mimir.
  • External Secrets – The External Secrets operator helps bootstrap connection to a variety of external vaults and creates Kubernetes Secret resources from the ExternalSecret / ExternalClusterSecret custom resources.
  • nfs-subdir-external-provisioner – For PersistantVolumes, I use the nfs-subdir-external-provisioner and configure it to point to dedicated NFS shares on the Synology NAS. Each cluster has its own folder, making it easy to backup through the various NAS tools
  • cert-manager – While I currently have cert-manager installed as a cluster tool, if I remember correctly, this was for my testing of Linkerd, which I’ve since removed. Right now, my SSL traffic is offloaded at the reverse proxy. This has multiple benefits, not the least of which is that I was able to automate my certificate renewals in one place. Still, cert-manager is available but no certificate stores are currently configured.

Development Tools

It is a lab, after all.

  • Proget – I am running the free version of Proget for private Nuget and container image feeds. As I move to open source my projects, I may migrate to Github artifact storage, but for now, it is stored locally.
  • SonarQube Community – I am running an instance of SonarQube community for quality control. However, as with Proget, I have begun moving some of my open source projects to Sonarcloud.io, so this instance may fall away.

Custom Code

I have a few projects, mostly small APIs that allow me to automate some of my tasks. My largest “project” is my instance of Identity Server, which I use primarily to lock down my other APIs.

And of course…

WordPress. This site runs in my production cluster, using the Bitnami chart, which includes the database.

And there you go…

So that is what makes up my home lab these days. As with most good labs, things are constantly changing, but hopefully this snapshot presents a high level picture into my lab.







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