Where Is The Plan... I Thought You Had It

During server downtime, I planned to expand my homelab, inspired by 0xBen. I invested in a stylish SYSRACKS server rack, Ubiquiti switch, Unifi PDU, and miscellaneous essentials. Upgrades for my server included RAM, powerful CPUs, a Tesla P4 GPU, and an HBA. Total costs were kept in check.

Where Is The Plan... I Thought You Had It

During the downtime of the server due to the motherboard issues, I decided to do some planning what services I was going to host myself, what else I needed for my homelab etc. My first idea...Everything. There are so many options of things you can host yourself or options of things to buy to put in a server rack that I was lost and I had no idea where to start or what to do. I read articles by the crap ton. Asked so many people what they were hosting I'm sure I was annoying. Then I found 0xBen. This dude has been my savior on this path I am walking. He has already done most all I want to do, he has it all written down and he just kicks ass. 0xBen with the input from a few others, put me on a great path of what I wanted to host. There was still the issue of hardware in the lack of rack I had. At this point my server was sitting on a wire shelf in the garage with ethernet and power cords strung over the freezer and connecting everything. While it worked it did not look nice and I knew if I was proud of it I would use it more and if it was neat and tidy my wife would appreciate it more. If it has a purpose and its messy my wife will accept it if it has a purpose and is neat and tidy she will be more likely to appreciate it even more. So I started thinking more about the layout of a server rack and what hardware I would need.

  • A server rack that was enclosed for sound and appearance
  • A bigger switch as my Dream Machine Pro was full.
  • A power distribution unit of some kind
  • A Battery Backup so I don't have to worry about brownouts again
  • All the ethernet cords, patch panels, and bits and pieces

First The Server Rack

In my thought process everything hinged on what server rack I purchased. All the decisions for equipment would be based on this backbone piece of equipment. I wanted something to grow into overtime. So it was important that I had room to expand into it. I wanted it full enclosed so it could help deaden the sound of the server and I wanted to be able to access all side of it if needed. After many reviews read and videos watched I decided on the SYSRACKS 18U 39 inch deep server cabinet.

This particular server rack spoke to me for several reasons. I knew my wife would enjoy the aesthetics of it. There were ventilation fans tied to a thermosensor, with proper ventilation for fresh air. It has removable side panels that locked and locking front and rear doors. It is on wheels but has leveling feet that could be used. It had an included powerbar. It was a bit pricey but it had everything I wanted and more so I went ahead and ordered it.

I Need More Network

The next piece of equipment to get a significant amount of thought was my networking situation. So many people I spoke with are against using the UDM pro in home labs in which you will be exposing services to the internet because it is difficult to put a different firewall, like PFsense, in front of it. I already had the UDM pro, I liked the user interaction with it setting up vlans and guest networks wasn't overly complicated. I know other people are self hosting things using the firewall built in to the UDM pro so I decided to stay in the same UDM ecosystem for my switch. I needed at least 24 ports, it needed POE for the access points already in my home on POE injectors so that I could remove the injectors, and it wouldn't hurt if the default connection was above a single gigabit. I decided on the Ubiquiti Professional 24 PoE.

I don't get greater than gigabit speed but this switch is hit everything else I wanted and if I ever make the jump from GbE to anything else I know I am just going to jump straight to 10GbE I also grabbed up the direct attach cable from Unifi to connect the Dream Machine to the Switch.

Maybe I Went Down a Unifi Rabbit Hole.

The next major piece of equipment I needed was a PDU (Power Distribution Unit). While the server rack came with a powerbar I had a need/want for more. I wanted to condition the power coming into my rack, I wanted to know how much wattage each component was pulling and if need be I wanted to power cycle things remotely. Unifi helped me out again with the Unifi USP-PDU-PRO.

This PDU is all I wanted in one package. It integrates with my existing network architecture, has 16 NA plug outlets that are all resettable, has 4 USB-C ports (I haven't found a use for yet), and shows me the power draw of any piece any port at the click of a button. Perfectly meeting all my needs.

Bits And Bobs

Now that all of the major pieces were picked out and orders placed I needed to make sure I got all the other pieces needed. This included RackStuds because I hate cage nuts. Cat6A cable and ends so I could make a custom length umbilical from where all my network connection come into an existing patch panel and route them into my network rack patch panel. I needed a patch panel inside my rack, and the patch cables to go with it. Brush panels so cable pass through was neat were purchased. As well as a few right angle extension cords so that everything would neatly plug into the PDU. And lastly some cable management D-rings that mounted to the rack rails.

The Server Needed Some Parts Too.

I got an awesome deal on my server but it could have been more so I grabbed a few upgrades for it. These included more ram, the best CPUs for the generation, A Tesla P4 graphics processing unit, and an HBA flashed to IT mode so I didn't have to work with Dells raid defaults.

Now that everything was purchased and on its way I am going to leave the cost of everything I purchased below.

Breakdown of Cost


Server Rack 957.63
Cat 6A Riser cable 1000 ft 242.99
Cat6a RJ45 cable ends 33.99
Cable Management D rings 25.49
Patch Panel x2 48.95
1 Foot Cat6A patch cable x 30 62.94
Thermal Paste 16.09
1U Brush Panels x3 32.99
Right Angle Extensions x 3 35.97
Rails for R820 87.15
Rack Studs 52.99
Total 1597.18


Dell R820 251.78
Ram Upgrade 153.20
HBA flashed to IT mode 33.07
Hard Drives 960gb x 16 641.25
Upgraded CPUs 64.52
Tesla P4 100.02
Total 1243.84


UDM Pro 379.00
Professional 24 port POE 699.00
10 Gbps SFP+ Direct Attach Cable 13.00
Power Distribution Professional 279.00
Total 1370.00


Amazon 1597.18
Ebay 1243.84
Unifi 1370.00
Ending total 4211.02

In the next installment of the blog I am going to go over all of the services I decided to run in my home lab

Here is what the finished product looks like