Last year, I’ve gotten myself into homelabbing It’s a hobby where a bunch of professional grade computer and networking equipment is thrown into regular flats and bedrooms just for fun or learning by breaking things and fixing them up. Folks use their rigs to run all kinds of workloads, mostly storage and media servers with dockerized nice-to-have apps like pihole, vpns, nextcloud as drop-in replacement for popular apps. The effort is parallel to making a break from big tech and owning your platform.
The current trend for equipping a low to moderate homelab appers to be going minimal with a lot of raspberry pi’s to run simple efficient workloads combined with thin business desktops like ThinkCentre series. Moderate to upwards host all kinds of rack servers and dedicated NASes. It all boils down to having some machine to run docker containers, store all your data with access to RAID. More serious labbers run some sort of type 1 hypervisor on top of refurbished enterprise hardware.
I lean towards simple storage. It never occurred to me that my homelab, regardless of how redundant it is, offered a decent solution for replacing cloud all together. Clouds are transformed to platforms themselves and a lot of works in cloud happens in sync so it is pretty resistant to whatever bs solution my one man show can come up with as a replacement. There is also the problem of availability in times of travel etc. A lot of things in your homelab needs to be constantly welfare-checked to make sure that they are still functioning as they are supposed to. The biggest threat to any setup is by far security.
Any service I dared to expose to open internet could and will be DDos’d to death, prodded by bots that are searching for unpatched software and weak passwords. A one person show simply is not enough to run that systems with a gaping attach surface. For security reasons alone, a lot of non-production grade useful data is wasted on some dudes homelab where it cloud be shared to the internet. Our current infrastructure severely limits a node-like network between independent homelab runners just based on security concerns alone. Though, its open to discussion if its meant to serve the outside world? A lot of people conclude that its just a fun experiment. I just sometimes wish it could be more than that.
A lot of development in the scene comes from North America. Unsurprisingly, they have a great second hand market with a lot of enterprises buying and recycling their equipment regularly and a lot of their houses enable flexible cable work with plenty of space (garages!) my country have neither of these perks, homelabbing is not even makes the list of possible hobbies.