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14 September, 2014

I am an avid lover of computers. If there is a need in my life that warrants fulfillment, like a moth is drawn to a flame, it is this: building computers. I need to build computers - it calms me down; I build machines that deliver content, back my data up and help me be productive.

I built and rebuilt a lot of computers that I owned over the course of six years.
Two years ago, I wanted a 24/7 machine that could act as a media server. I settled upon a 1U HP DL360 G5, which I mounted on the underside of a IKEA Lack side table. I set this up with Ubuntu Raring Ringtail running 24/7 as a torrenting/Usenet server. After a while, I was running FreePBX on it and experimenting with a SIP telephone I acquired from office.

IKEA LACK side table with DL360 G5 secured with lashing straps

I was happy, but I wanted to have a proper homelab, rack and all. Feeling confident, I decided to decouple functionality and purchased a 1U Dell Poweredge 1950 and set it up with FreeBSD. I set up Gitlab on it and used it as a secondary CVS for almost a year. I kept on adding to this setup and finally settled on a beefy setup that blew my power bill through the roof.

My homelab, at its peak

I started realizing that I wasn't really using these powerful devices to their fullest potential. Rather, I had consolidated my needs to a few; I needed a high-capacity NAS and a firewall.
So I pared down the setup to where it stands now.

Current Homelab setup
4U NAS Freenas, torrenting, Usenet, Plex, Subsonic music server
D-link 24-port Gigabit switch Switch
1U Motorola Symbol Appliance pfSense, firewall, gateway, DHCP server, Squid proxy
Airport Extreme WiFi router