2014 Lab Refresh Phase One: Planning

I’m in the process of revamping my lab completely and actually moving to my bother’s business location as he has a nice clean area that’s air conditioned 24/7 with dedicated bandwidth and a backup.  Unfortunately, my office is not cutting it anymore and i’m in the process of an office “makeover,” so that it can be used as a multipurpose room, an office during my work hours, and a “Man Cave” where I can enjoy all things Manly…grrrr…lol.

I have a couple of goals to meet with this lab refresh:

1. Try to leverage as much previous investment already in place: Obviously, there is an investment of time and $ in my current lab and it still performs fairly good for my needs so reusing as much as possible, saving costs and time is priority.

2. Build for resiliency first, then performance:  While this may be a lab, it needs to be up, when I need it up, period.  I don’t want to have to tinker with hardware issues, and troubleshoot when I need my lab to test product(s), and provide other functions such as hosting this blog!  On top of that, I don’t wan’t to have to worry about performance/capacity for the intended workloads I will be running.  Again, yes, I know it’s a lab, but I need to make sure that the infrastructure provides enough performance to get the job done.

3. Secure/Fast Remote Access: Since this will essentially be in a Hosted location, I will need to have secure/fast remote access.  This solution has yet to be vetted.  For the vCloud Director/vCAC interface, i’m thinking direct access (SSL), i’ll have to look at what SP’s do.  It seems that most have a custom UI probably with some sort of Proxy.  For MGMT, i’m thinking VPN w/remote connection to a Jumpbox, maybe an Intel NUC or Mac-Mini.

4. Ability to Scale Out and Up: So we hear these terms a lot, and in my case both are valid.  For storage, I will still have 8 bays available out of the total 24.  I want to be able to add additional capacity/performance tier to this box, so I need the ability to Scale Up. I will point out that i’m not ruling out adding an additional Nexenta node, it’s quite possible I will outgrow the current storage at some point.  I also need the ability to add Compute nodes to the cluster, which, of course, VMware allows very easily and I will have plenty of spare Port capacity on the network side to do that, so the ability to add nodes and Scale Out is a must as well.

These are the Core requirements of the 2014 Lab Refresh.  I am working on the overall design which will be the next topic in this series. I will post my design documents and discuss the reasons for my decisions.

Some things are up in the air, such as the remote access, Firewall, etc.  I would love to hear any feedback on that keeping tight budget constraints in mind.



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