I received all my new equipment for my home lab a couple of days ago. After setting up the hardware in less than a day, I'm quite happy with it so far.
I was lucky enough to have two 12-year-olds assist me when I assembled the computer. This was their first time assembling a computer from parts and they really enjoyed it.
The first component was the Shuttle SH67H3. My friend Richard recommended the DS61, but I had two main problems with that barebones system. First, it only has two RAM slots for a maximum of 16GB. That's not bad, but I decided I wanted to get a desktop that supported more RAM without going to server components while keeping the form factor small. I actually may have a second system on my purchase list for sometime this year, and in that case I would definitely consider the DS61.
Second, I had read that the SH67H3 worked as an ESXi whitebox. Overall, I am a fan of Shuttle barebones. The SH67H3 is essentially the same chassis my coworkers and I used on our lab network at a previous job, just with a new motherboard and other improvements. I used very similar or identical parts for my Shuttle as the ones listed in the ESXi whitebox link above.
|Shuttle SH76H3 motherboard with CPU and RAM installed|
|The fan slides over the heat sink at the rear of the chassis on the left|
New Network Architecture
Going to all this trouble for a relatively powerful computer compared to my three old Pentium III servers, I decided to take the opportunity to make a couple of other network changes. I used to run my network sensor inline, but along with the new computer I purchased a Netgear GS108T-200 smart switch. This switch has an abundance of features, including VLANs and port mirroring. Along with the new switch, all I needed was an extra WAP to reconfigure home network as shown below.
|The router/firewall also works as a WAP, but to see most client traffic|
I disabled it and connected an access point behind the mirroring switch
I plan to write more about my lab setup as I continue to redevelop it. The first thing I did after testing the new box was install ESXi and create a network sensor VM using Security Onion. I may have a post about it soon.