What's in Your Lab?

Published: 2012-05-30
Last Updated: 2012-05-30 15:14:15 UTC
by Rob VandenBrink (Version: 1)
7 comment(s)

The discussion about labs got me thinking about what we all have in our personal labs.  The "What's in your lab?" question is a standard one that I ask in interviews, it says a lot about a person's interests and commitment to those interests.

I just revamped my lab (thanks to my local "cheap servers off lease" company and eBay).  Previously I was able to downsize and host my entire lab on my laptop with a farm of virtual machine and a fleet of external USB drives, but as I ramp up my requirements for permanent servers (an MS Project server, an SCP server, a web honeypot and an army of permanent, cpu and memory hungry pentest VMs), I had to put some permanent hosts back in.

So to host all this, I put in 3 ESX servers with 20 cores altogether (thanks eBay!).  I picked up a 4 gig fiber channel switch and 4 HBAs for a song, also on eBay.  I had an older XEON server with lots of drive bays, so I filled it up with 1TB SATA drives and a SATA raid controller - with a fiber channel HBA and Openfiler, I've now got a decent Fiber Channel SAN (with iSCSI and NFS thrown in for good measure).  Add a decent switch and firewall for VLAN support and network segmentation, and this starts to look a whole lot like something useful !!  The goal was that after it's all bolted together, I can do almost anything in the lab without physically being there.

I still keep lots of my lab on the laptop VM farm - for instance my Dynamips servers for WAN simulation are all still local, so are a few Linux VMs that I use for coding in one language or another for instance.

Enough about my lab - what's in your lab?  Have you found a neat, cheap way of filling a lab need you think others might benefit from?  Do you host your lab on a laptop for convenience, or do you have a rack in your basement (or at work)?  Please use our comment form and let us know!

Rob VandenBrink

Keywords: lab
7 comment(s)
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