Homelabbing

I think I’ve always been interested in computers. Thinking back to my childhood, I’m pretty sure I inherited it from my father. He had a number of early systems including an Atari and then was an early adopter when Apple first started producing the Macintosh. I also got bitten by the gaming bug early on. The first game I remember playing was Mille Bornes on my Dad’s Apple PowerPC. It was the beginning of a long-standing hobby. My next steps were to card games by Hoyle and Yukon Trail. These were soon supplanted by the Ultimate Doom and Duke Nukem 3D. I then went many years as a console peasant gamer and rekindled my love of computer games in college. Since then I’ve become a HUGE fan of Steam and have a modest game collection of 123 games.

But something else happened along the way: I started to get into not just games but computers themselves. I’ve dabbled with Linux since high school and in college I became fascinated with fluid mechanics and how to model fluid flow using tools like OpenFOAM and ANSYS Fluent. My familiarity with Linux and CFD was a match made in heaven as Linux afforded stability for most CFD software and has the ability to cluster computers easily, meaning that you could set up a Beowulf Cluster to provide the necessary computing power for large CFD problems and the operating system or cluster wouldn’t crash constantly. My interest in CFD quickly spawned a need to learn more about Linux which caused me to install Ubuntu 9.04 on an old laptop and start learning. About a year ago, I kicked into high gear shortly after finding the /r/homelab and /r/homeserver subreddits and discovered amazing things like KVM/QEMU, servers, and self-hosted services like Plex. Ever since, I’ve begun moving towards building a robust, Enterprise-ish network within my home. I say Enterprise-ish because I don’t have the funding to buy brand new, top of the line Enterprise-grade equipment and my network needs to be wifeproof so large rooms full of multiple server racks, with wires strewn throughout the house is a no-go.

But that’s the struggle of most homelabbers and I’m yet another statistic. As I continue my journey learning how to build computer networks, clusters, servers, and utilize them to do things like model the aerodynamics of my car, I’ll write about it and share my lessons learned here on this blog.