Baby Dragon Home Lab

My configuration is listed below if anyone is interested in the details.

lab2-pic          Lab2-rack

Similar designs have been done before by both Chris Wahl @Chriswahl and prior to that by Phillip Jaenke @RootWyrm who called them “Baby Dragons“.  I used their base config and made a few tweaks of my own based on pricing, part availability etc.

Part List

ESXi Servers – Quantity 2

Flex Server – Quantity 1 (Used for a Hyper-V server, VSA or 3rd ESXi Host)

Storage Array

Networking Equipment


ESXi Server Notes:

I’m not going to lie, when I saw these cases on Chris Wahl’s lab and had to have them.  They look crazy sharp and I love the pull out Motherboard mounting option.  There are other components in common but I have a feeling these were copied because of a similar taste for components and budget rather than lust! 🙂


The power supplies were a must for me.  Fanless keeps things quiet, but if you are going with this design please look at Phillip Jaenke’s post about his Baby Dragon II build.  The fan must be mounted so that it vents heat up (duh) but the Lian Li case doesn’t seem to want to mount it that way.  Luckily the PSU is mesh and can be screwed in upside down pretty snuggly with no issues.  Be aware that you’ll want good air flow.


The Motherboard is awesome and provides dual 1Gb Nics as well as an IPMI connection!  I was skeptical that I wanted to pay extra for a server motherboard with IPMI but I am not sorry.  It’s great and has an internal USB port for the Kingston USB boot device.


I added an Intel Gigabit Nic which did not work out of the box.  I needed to add a driver which was easy enough to do.  There are some instructions for this on  In retrospect I should have added a second one, but I got cheap.  I’ll probably add another one later on.


HP Gen8 MicroServer

Actually used as a Provider vDC, a Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 server, or a NAS device.



Storage consists of a Synology DS411 slim full of 480GB SSDs and a Windows Server 2012 that is running both “Server for NFS” as well as “Microsoft iSCSI Software Target”.  This allows for additional storage as well as an opportunity to test out some NFS and iSCSI methodologies.


  • Windows Server 2012Whitebox Server
    • iSCSI Share 240 GB SSD
    • iSCSI Share 2TB 7200 RPM SATA
    • NFS Share 3 TB 5400 RPM SATA




For networking, I have a WS-C3750G-24T that is used as my core switch and router.  I’ve broken it up into Management, Storage, IPMI, vMotion, FT, Virtual Machine Vlans and then this switch bridges to a Cisco ASA5505.


My ASA then uplinks to my home Internet connection.  If I want to bypass the pix and get straight into my lab I have a Wireless-N D-link router.











8 Responses to Baby Dragon Home Lab

  1. I have a quick question.

    I was able to get the following equipment from my work place to use for my lab.

    Now the question is that how much can I really practise while running things on a monster lab server with the following specs as shown below.

    Or should I invest in building a physical 4 host server lab rather than going for the nested route.

    The keys things I’m testing and preparing for are for vcix dc and nv tracks.


    1x SuperServer 7048R-C1RT4+ – 4U/Tower – 16x SATA/SAS – LSI 3108 12G SAS – Quad 10-Gigabit Ethernet – 1000W Redundant
    2 x Six-Core Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2603 v3 1.60GHz 15MB Cache (85W)
    8 x 32GB PC4-17000 2133MHz DDR4 ECC Registered Load-Reduced DIMM
    2 x 64GB SATA 6.0Gb/s Disk on Module (MLC) (Vertical)
    2 x 240GB Intel® SSD DC S3500 Series 2.5″ SATA 6.0Gb/s Solid State Drive
    Integrated Video (Included with Motherboard)
    Integrated LSI 3108 SAS 3.0 12Gb/s 8-port RAID Controller with 2GB Cache
    Intel® Ethernet Server Adapter I350-T4V2 Quad Port (4x RJ-45)
    Included Supermicro Mobile Rack M28SACB-OEM

    • I’d say you’ve got a good setup there for a nested ESXi lab.
      Nested labs make great use of limited hardware, but also adds a little bit of complexity and you might find yourself scratching your head here and there when setting stuff up. It’s nice to have a lab that you can quickly change directions though and you’ve got a big piece of hardware there to do some stuff. Good luck.
      Happy Labbing.

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