Homelab Revamp 2022 – Part 2 – The Plan

I showed you my starting point in a previous article, so I know want to present my plan to revamp my lab.

To tackle the issues I currently have, without throwing away a lot of the advantages I have in my environment already, I came up with the following idea.

VMware VSAN

Yeah, hell … that’s not like I re-invented the wheel, right. A hyperconverged solution ticks a lot of my boxes.
It will give me a high available solution with shared storage and the because of the maturity of the product I hope to not run into too many manual efforts.

On the con side I need to run multiple nodes instead of just one server to have the HCI solution. In the case of VSAN that would mean at least two nodes plus a witness for a stretched 2 node cluster. To not go too high on power consumption, here my second thought comes into play…

Customer Hardware

Going away from the server hardware I got from my previous job for reasonable price was on my mind for some time. As soon as I started into changing things, modernizing things in my lab and trying to re-use the server hardware, I ended up at high prices and lot’s of energy consumption. Alone the RAID adapter I put into my current production system takes at least 10W in idle without doing anything.

In my previous investment for all-flash storage I already invested in SATA consumer SSDs (Samsung EVO 870). The performance of the consumer hardware will match good with my home lab requirements, it’s much cheaper and easier to get plus the power consumption is usually lower. The same should apply to the VSAN nodes, too.

So my plan is to get two consumer grade PCs with full memory (128GB is the current maximum for the reasonable consumer one-socket systems), some NVMe devices for the VSAN cache and I re-use my Samsung Evo 870s for capacity devices. Of course I will also re-use my Intel X510 10G NICs for the required VSAN networking speed.

I still have an old Fujitsu Esprimo desktop PC which I want to use to run the VSAN witness for starters.

Summary

With a VSAN 2-node cluster based on consumer hardware I hope to achieve a lot of my requirements. Of course I’ll have to run more hardware than today (single server), but I hope that the consumer hardware will give me what I need with the same or even less consumption.
Any change for availability (e.g. a NAS for shared storage) would have meant adding another device (and thus more consumption) and would not give me the same level of availability anyway (for full storage + compute HA I’d need a HA storage + HA compute – HCI combines that).

Stay tuned for seeing my hardware BOM in the part of this series.

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