Just a quick overview of my homelab running on vSphere 6 with VSAN 6.2. It is very quiet, economic and in the same time gives me the ability to run different POC and exam environments. The size of the whole block is 18 cm, 13 cm, 11 cm.

What you are seeing (or not) on the picture is:

  1. 3 Intel NUC5i5RYK
  2. 3 Samsung 500GB 850 EVO M.2 SSD – used for VSAN capacity tier
  3. 3 ADATA SU800 128GB 3D-NAND – used for VSAN caching tier
  4. 3 Kingston Technology DataTraveler SE9 G2 USB 3.1 16 GB
  5. Dell Networking X1008 Layer 2 Managed Switch – initially i tried with 2 of these but some of the listed features are just not working as expected (VLAN, IGMP Snooping). The Dell is just wonderful and performing as expected.
  6. Black and white flat Cat 6 cables. These really save space, are flexible enough and make a difference.
  7. 3 Akasa PROSLIM SATA 3.0 cables 15 cm – these are for connecting the external SATA SSD
  8. 3 Intel 5 pin Power to 15 Pin SATA – these are to power up the external SATA
  9. 3 I-TEC USB 3.0 Slim Metal Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (RTL8153) – second NIC is almost mandatory. Thanks to this guy’s hard work we can now have USB NICs.
  10. 3D printed rack. Top and bottom parts are with glow in the dark plastic. My logo was meant to be in different color, but the guy from 3Dhubs.com didn’t have the specified color. I guess with some permanent marker it will be the same.
  11.  Empty (unlucky) bottle – that’s just to make the visual comparison lads 🙂

The Intel NUC 5i5RYK doesn’t have any additional space/slot to put an extra disk. Initially I used 3 different enclosures and was accessing the ADATA SSD through an USB port. However after playing a lot with the BIOS and the storage claim rules, I wasn’t able to mark the disk as SSD. As a consequence I couldn’t use these in VSAN disk groups. At this point I was regretting a lot that I haven’t bought the RYH version. Luckily, while exploring this fantastic site, I noticed the additional SATA port on the board and the neighbor mini SATA power port. A quick search with trembling fingers directed me to this site (the only one I could find selling these cables btw). Next thing after ordering the cables was drilling the bottom covers:

The red tape is to isolate the soft heatstrip from the mini metal bits flying around while drilling. This is how it looks after assembling it with the cables connected: