breadNET - The story

What is breadNET?

BreadNET is the name I have given my home lab. The name originated form my original nickname of breadbin from primary school here, as well as being my instagram account. From there branched breadNET. I had originally planned to purchase the domain of but this was taken, hence

What qualifies me to write about this stuff?

My limited Microsoft certifications (Despite me being a full bread linux fan girl)

How did I get in to computers?

I was just a wee kid with an old XP computer who was learning HTML ) who now has a job as a junior network engineer at a MSP here in the UK.

It all really started falling in to place when I moved abroad to a school that had a BYOD policy and I got bored in class, as you do. I started to look at how the internet works, web pages, all those kind of things. Eventually I got IIS to work on my third laptop (see below) and it just took off from there. Whilst in India, I managed to get my second laptop to accept ubuntu as it's OS. From there we moved to installing apache2 and building a basic website. Since then (around 2013) I have moved back to the UK (2015) and finally had the space and the money to get better equipment.

My first laptop (xp bois)

Second laptop, which also became my first 'server' when I was 13

Third laptop

Fourth laptop, and current laptop

I had (bare in mind this was back in 2017 I think) planned to purchase some servers and needed a rack for them. So naturally I built one...

The design on the rack

This was the basic design for the rack, a 4 post rack with a 19 inch opening for, well, 'servers'

The rack coming together

The OG home lab

Well, as you can see from the photos, they dont do justice to how much of a fire hazard this was just chilling in my room. I hate to say it but it lasted a whole year before I decided to do something about it.

What was the plan?

Buy a Rack. I decided that I would buy my self a birthday present of about £1500 worth of servers, network gear and other stuff to go along. Sadly, I had neglected to think about the hard drives, so landed up running off of USB sticks till my bank account decided to regenerate.

What did I buy?

I purchased:

  • 1 Dell R210 to run the router platform
  • 2 Dell R710's with E5520 processors, 16gb of ram each, which would run my hypervisor platform (xcp-ng)
  • 1 Dell R710 with 1 E5520 to run my NAS for storage of backups and Block level storage to be presented to the VM servers

If theres no pictures, it don't exist!

The thicc boi rack. I had just gotten it that day, (october the 9th 2018) and threw my servers in. had no rails back then :( And yes, there was not much in the way of cable management.

The front of the rack (yes, theres no harddrive caddys. Were on a budget here)

Ignore the cable management, I know its nonexistent but just pretend for a second

Plans for the future

  1. Get more storage
  2. Faster HDD's (or ssd?)
  3. 10gig (eh, half way there as of August 2019)
  4. bring the 3rd server online (Just need more ram... anyone?)

2019 : Year in review

Where to begin? The homelab has come quite some way. I've made breakthroughs, as well as wanting to break through something. I can tell you now, it's been a royal pain in the neck, but it's grown.

I've got full 10G between 2 servers for backups.

I've built a full SSD based RAID array, speed is eh, but it works!

I've still not brought the third server online as we're still on a budget.

I've done some custom paint jobs on the dell bezel on the front of my servers.

It's not much, but it's coming along!