Home Lab Update – Adding a NAS

It has been a while since I have written about my home lab.   While the initial purpose was to help me learn, I have been using it more and more to allow me to assist customers.  It has been really useful when talking on the phone or researching topics for them.  So when I had to reconfigure it earlier this summer to brush up on the new release of Site Recovery Manager for booth duty at VMworld, I began to miss it quickly.

My lab is comprised of 3 white-box ESX hosts in a cluster with vSAN.  While each host has a local disk, the only shared storage I have is vSAN.  Normally this works just fine for my needs; but SRM requires 2 separate vSphere environments and in my 3 host scenario it meant that vSAN had to temporarily come down.  I’ve reconfigured the environment back to a single cluster with vSAN; but the exercise has made me wish I had some type of shared storage capability outside of my vSphere environment.  I know SAN/NAS for home labs isn’t a new topic these days; but I learned a few things along the way and I thought I would share in case there are others who are still doing this for the first time.

I had resisted the idea for a while mostly due to cost; but also because I wasn’t sure that I would fully utilize another piece of gear.  TL;DR  Now that I have have it – I love it and in the space of about 10 days have it setup and am getting far more out of it than I had anticipated.  Let’s break down what I am doing…

Use Cases

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