This maybe the first time some of you have ever heard the term “Homelab” before and you might be wondering what that means. The biggest question that people usually ask when they first hear about homelabs is: Why? Since I don’t like to reinvent the wheel I’m going answer that question by pulling from /r/homelab’s wiki:
“The answer is easy: to learn. IT professionals, amateurs, and people who just really like computers use homelabs to experiment in. It’s a sandbox environment where if you break it, you fix it, and more importantly it isn’t costing money while it’s down. Homelab [hom-læb](n): a laboratory of (usually slightly outdated) awesome in the domicile Some people use them to study – for example, a Cisco certification – and some people use them in production to learn new technologies.”
Now obviously that is a very quick, down and dirty summarization of what a homelab is and what it is used for. I tend to visit /r/homelab just about everyday and what I have noticed is a lot of people that are on that subreddit tend to use their homelab for learning new software, programs, practicing to get new certifications and other things. Basically they are using it advance their skills for work to get promotions, new jobs, or other things of that nature. Obviously that really doesn’t apply to me seeing as how I work in EMS as a paramedic. The skills I learn while using my lab are purely for my own benefit and are not going to help with skills at work, or getting promoted.
So why do I have a homelab and spend a decent amount of money every year on it? Well that’s easy: I love computers and tech! I started in this hobby with out even knowing really what it was around spring/summer of 2014. I can say I have learned a lot in the last couple of years especially as I have slowly added more hardware and running new programs that I now use pretty much on a daily basis. One would think that at after having added a couple of servers and networking equipment there would be no need to add any more. While that is true, and you can do a lot with a homelab these days with minimal hardware, that just wouldn’t be any funny and what kind of hobby would it be if you aren’t always on the hunt for the next piece of hardware to added to the setup? And that is why using a homelab as a hobby can get expensive. I tend to look at it this way: How is my homelab hobby and the money I spend on it any different than someone who has some other type of hobby? Either way if you are completely into and involved in your hobby they usually tend to get expensive. While this may seem like a complete waste of money to some people and completely unnecessary to have all this equipment it’s likely that I will think the exact some about somebody else’s hobby that I have zero interest in. To each their own!
I won’t get too much into my current, or previous setup’s on this page and will save those for other post’s in the future. This is just a quick overview of what a homelab is and can be used for. Be sure to watch for future posts talking about what is all in my past and current setups and what I hope to add in the future. If you want to learn more about it I highly recommend you go check out the /r/homelab subreddit and the wiki for it linked at the top of this page.