Featured Home Virtualization Lab: PigLover’s Playground

Posted May 7, 2013 by Patrick Kennedy in Client Tips
PigLover Virtualization Lab Networking

Today we are looking at a virtualization lab called “PigLover’s Playground” which has been detailed in the forums. It balances power consumption with the capacity to provide robust storage and networking. Interestingly enough, the setup doubles both as a virtualization lab, as well as a household media center. Recently we have looked at a dirt cheap data warehouse used for an Oracle startup. We have also looked at a 50TB plus VMware vSphere cluster recently from another forum member. Here is a quick look at PigLover’s Playground, this weeks featured home virtualization lab.

There are many pictures and a detailed writeup of this home virtualizaiton lab in the forums, but this shot clearly shows the main networking engines of the virtualization lab. One can see a Cisco SG500X-48 (48GbE ports + 4x 10GbE SFP ports) Ethernet switch (about $2000 on ebay) and a Juniper EX2500 10GbE switch. For those wondering, the Juniper EX2500 is a 24-port 10GbE switch that costs over $2,000 on the second hand market. Clearly a home virtualization lab with a Juniper EX2500 has some serious bandwidth.

PigLover Virtualization Lab Networking

PigLover Virtualization Lab Networking

This bandwidth feeds various servers, including the Dell C6100 XS23-TY3. From the forums, it seems each node in the Dell C6100 XS23-TY3 is using a dual port 10GbE adapter. PigLover was also highlighted for his work taming the C6100 in a recent main site post.

PigLover Virtualization Lab KVM

PigLover Virtualization Lab KVM

One other interesting point is that the lab uses a Avocent in-rack KVM purchased for under $100. Looks like a very nice unit!

Key features of PigLover’s Playground:

  1. Dell C6100 XS23-TY3 Virtualization nodes
  2. PoE switching powering WiFi APs throughout the house
  3. MythTV for home media consumption
  4. Large UPS to keep everything running in the event of a power failure
  5. Juniper EX2500 10GbE switch alongside a Cisco SG500X-48 switch
  6. Avocent in-rack KVM purchased inexpensively

Head over to the ServeTheHome forums to see the full writeup and detail on this virtualization lab.

About the Author

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.


    Albert Wittington

    Serious switches there.

    Pig lover

    Patrick, I’m honored.

    One note: if I was building it again I’d really prefer 10Gbase-t to the Juniper’s SFP+. The newer Netgear 12 port switch would be a much better companion to the Cisco.

    I also would have gotten the POE version of the Cisco switch rather than using a separate switch for POE.



    Nice lab indeed !

    Curious to know what rack frame it is and/or other folks here have interesting 14/28 Us _cheap_ racks to reommend ?


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