My home lab

I recently decided to buy a few pieces of equipment and build a home lab to tinker around with. So far I’ve only setup pfSense to push logs to a Graylog instance, but I’ll be spinning stuff up the next few months that I can write an update about. This will also be a convenient way of hosting vulnerable VMs for practice. So here’s what I ended up with over the weekend.

My home lab network diagram

Since I live with a few other roommates, I decided to limit internet downtime and just put the pfSense firewall after the ASUS router that’s been setup. To avoid double NATing, I setup one of the router LAN ports to act as a WAN Bridge instead (thanks Tomato!). This way my pfSense firewall gets a public IP and everything works painlessly(don’t forget to restart your modem so pfSense gets assigned an IP!).

Here’s some of my hardware in case anyone was interested:


  • Tomato by Shibby firmware

pfSense Firewall:

  • Intel Q1900M and ASRock Motherboard Combo
  • SeaSonic 300W ATX Power Supply
  • iStarUSA 2U Rackmount Case
  • SanDick Ultra Fit USB with pfSense installed
  • Intel PRO/1000 VT NIC

Dell R710 Server:

  • 2x Intel Xeon x5650
  • 48GB DD3 RAM
  • PERC 6/i (will get a PERC H700 eventually since it’s only a SATA 2 RAID card)
  • 250GB WD SSD mounted in place of the SATA 2 optical drive
  • ESXI 6.5 on a USB internally

PC #1:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700 overclocked to 3.9GHz
  • Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3 Motherboard
  • 32GB G.Skill DDR4-2400 RAM
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB SC
  • 250GB Samsung 850 EVO
  • 480GB Crucial MX300
  • Corsair CS750M PSU

PC #2:

  • Intel i5 4690k
  • ASRock z97 Pro4 Motherboard
  • 16GB Corsair DDR3 RAM
  • XFX Radeon R9 280 3GB
  • 250GB Samsung 850 EVO
  • Corsair CX600 PSU

Lack Rack (coming soon):

Since I don’t currently have a server rack and commercial ones are rather expensive, I decided to build one using 2 IKEA Lack side tables for only $35. They haven’t come in yet, but I’ll post a picture once I’m done building it. Hopefully it does the job!

Written on January 14, 2017