Doing Stuff

Homelab Adventure - Part 1: The Adventure Begins

Welcome to my journey in building my homelab. This will be an ongoing series of blog posts of my adventures in building my personal infrastructure.

Part 1: The Adventure Begins (You are here!)
Part 2: Configuration Management
Part 3: Internal Network

What is a Homelab

The primary idea behind a homelab is a place to learn about infrastructure, servers and development.

/r/homelab defines a homelab as:

Homelab [hom-læb](n): a laboratory of (usually slightly outdated) awesome in the domicile

Now by this definition a homelab should reside in a home. In my case part of my homelab will exist outside of my home, due to space and noise constraints. So my homelab is somewhere between a homelab and a "cloudlab".

The /r/homelab wiki has a more information on how to get started with a homelab.


At the time of writing here is my current inventory of servers. It will most likely grow and evolve as time goes on.

  • 1 VPS
    • CPU: 2 Cores
    • RAM: 2GB
    • Disk: 40GB SSD
  • 1 NAS
    • CPU: Intel i5-6600K
    • RAM: 32GB
    • Disk: 2x 250GB SSD, 4x 12TB HDD
  • 2 Dedicated Servers
    • Dedicated Server 1
      • CPU: Intel
      • RAM: 32GB
      • Disk: 2x 1TB HDD
    • Dedicated Server 2
      • CPU: Intel
      • RAM: 32GB
      • Disk: 2x 3TB HDD


  • Ability to host applications easily, there is a lot of good self hosted software out there.
  • Keep ongoing maintenance to a minimum.
  • Automatic encrypted backups, because RAID is not a backup
  • Ability to easily add and remove servers.
  • An internal network between servers, some of my servers exist outside of my home network.
  • Alerting and Monitoring, so I know when servers go down, failing drives, backups didn't run, etc.

The Plan

These are the tools/software I decided on to meet each of the above goals.

Hosting Applications

  • Docker for hosting most applications and allows me to move services around.
  • Portainer for managing the docker containers on specific servers.
  • Salt for everything else that doesn't fit into a container.
  • Traefik provides routing and certificates for services.

Minimizing Ongoing Maintenance

Automatic Backups

  • restic for backups, including deduplication and encryption.
  • Backblaze B2 for offsite storage of backups.

Adding and Removing Servers

  • Salt allows me to have a declarative configuration for servers.
  • simplifies installs with PXE booting.
  • DNS for servers and services to ease container movement. This will be configured automatically or through dnscontrol.

Internal Network

  • Zerotier is for my internal network. It's not decentralized like tinc but has some trade offs that make it easier to use, you can read more about it here.

Alerting and Monitoring

  • netdata will be used for metrics and basic alerting.
  • uptime-kuma will be used for custom monitoring/alerting.

Here we go!

I hope you will join me in this adventure into homelabbing. In the next post in the series we will cover configuration management.

Part 1: The Adventure Begins (You are here!)
Part 2: Configuration Management
Part 3: Internal Network