Accidental Home Lab – June 17, 2021

Just thought I would give an update on my accidental home lab progress.

The physical improvements for June were a 512GB NVME drive for my NUC and 2X Cable Matters Outlet Power Splitter Cord (Power Cord Splitter) 1.5 Feet. The extra hard drive space is nice because I don’t have to send everything across the 1GB network for storage. The Outlet splitter cleans us a lot of the mess behind the shelf by getting rid of the various power strips that were plugged into the UPS.

My biggest surprise has been that 1GB networking is slow. Previously, I had run all my docker containers and virtual machines on a Synology 918+ where they had direct access to the shared disk. I didn’t think of the time requires for files to move back and forth across the network between the NAS and the VM server. They only time I really notice anything is when a VM sends a large file or does a backup. It saturates the link the NAS and everything else will stutter for until the file transfer is complete. I am going to try to set up link aggregation between the NAS and the switch to see if that help.

I spend most of my lab time learning ansible and vagrant to automate the process of bring up new virtual machines and SBCs. I con’t know if others have gone through the same learning process. Learning ansible is very iterative. Don’t try to lay out your entire bring up process in a single flow sheet and expect to implement it on the first try.

My current bottle neck seems to be my router/firewall. I currently use a Unifi Security Gateway. It did a great job filling that role as my network grew beyond an all in one router/AP to a more modularized system. But lately, it has become a bit of a pain point. I am thinking of switching to pfsense. For experimenting, I think I will run pfsense on an old laptop with with an intel i3 cpu and use a USB dongle as the second NIC.

I am thinking about keeping the Unifi system as my home network then have a separate network for my office with one AP and some wired connections. It’ll keep me honest to have keep the network up at least enough for my use.