As an IT Professional, I find having and maintaining my home lab at home vital. I do have tremendous resources at work that allow me to have lab-like environments there, but if I change jobs or lose resources at work, having something I can work on at home has come in handy more times than I can remember. It also helps keep me up to date on things I like to learn about.
Some of the things I work on in my lab I never truly use in my day-to-day career, but having the knowledge is still very important to me. It allows me to be a better IT person – I’m able to ask better questions or for help, I can at least have a familiarity with concepts that may not be my responsibility, and gives me a place where I can test some of my scripts or crazy ideas without worry about impacting actual users.
Presently, my lab is small, but growing. As I’ve mostly focused my career on VMware infrastructure, that is the main focus of my lab as well. However, having a solid virtualization base, I am able to spin up VMs of various technologies so I can further expand my knowledge base.
Below, you will find an “IDD” – Infrastructure Design Document – of my current home lab. This IDD is something I brewed up at a former employer, and evangelized it to be used for all of IT to standardize their documentation. I’ve since come up with a few revisions on it, but as far as I know, they are still using it to this day.