Rebuilding the home network….

I have spoken about my home network at a  few presentations and during the breaks there have been plenty of "oh yeah!?!?! well I have....." conversations. I think some of the most interesting conversations are around how we name our machines and networks. I have spent over and hour sitting at the name your computer screen trying to come up with the perfect name for machines. Most of the names means something (if only to me) and some I just chose on a whim. A little later I will talk more about the names of my machines.

I have been looking forward to upgrading the home network for a while now. I have been running some very old machines at home for what seems like ages. It is time to retire some of them. I am picking up some new hardware here and there but I like to keep machines around until they just stop running. I would love to rip and replace, but I also want to retire some day. So many of my machines will still be in use in some capacity.

Below is some detail on what the permanent machines in my current network look like as well as what my plan is. There is a little something interesting about each machine. There are 6-12 VM's running test stuff as well under Virtual PC scattered across most of the machines.

Warning, some of these machines might be older than you....

All but one machine is homebrew...

wallofvoodoo - my trusty firewall - (The band Wall of Voodoo sang "Mexican Radio". Just thought it would make a good name for a firewall) This is a dual Intel 400mhz machine. It is in a rackmount case with industrial fans. By and far the loudest of myWoV machines. It has a gig of RAM and runs Windows 2003 R2 and ISA 2006 well enough, but it also has a 10 gig hard drive which is on it's last legs. I have had to reduce logging on it a few times just to keep the drive from filling up. I don't know what is to become of this machine yet. Probably become a test box.

The new firewall hardware will be an Intel 2.4ghz with 2 gigs of RAM and a couple of old 80 gig drives. I may have this machine do DNS as well as DHCP.

wallace - my web server - (named after William Wallace in "Braveheart". The web server was put up to manage my first blog. William Wallace fought for freedom andwallace the blog was about the freedom to say whatever I want. My attempt at being meaningful...). My only name brand machine. This is a dual Intel 1ghz Gateway Server with 2 gigs of RAM. Win2003 R2, SQL 2005, Community Server. Wallace houses my only raid array right now. It consists of three 4 Gig Seagate SCSI drives in a stripe set attached to the onboard SCSI. Why? because I had the drives. I put the page file there just for the heck of it.

bobobobobobo - my DC/Exchange/DNS Server/Cert Server/File Server - (I was channel surfing and came across a cartoon of the same name. Laughed so hard I nearly wet myself. Decided I wanted something to make me smile every time I saw the name) - The newest hardware I have right now. AMD DualCore x64 3800+ with 2 gigs of RAM and four 500gig SATA drives. This machine gets a workout as a file server and Exchange server. I host a number of mail domains for myself, friends and family. But it mostly gets pounded as a staging area for files of all kinds.

This machine is getting migrated/upgraded to Win2008. This is one of two 64 bit machines which run Exchange for me. I am backing up data, flattening in, then laying down Win2008 and Exchange 2007 Hub, CAS, MB then restoring data.

sleestak - DC for old AD domain - (sleestaks rock!) - Identical box as wallofvoodoo except 4 - 250 gig drives. This machine was a test domain I set up. I want a second DC for redundancy on my permanent domain so it is getting converted. No Hardware changes. Will be a DC but may also get burned to glass, flattened, and used as a test box now and then.TheFamily

crashnburn - Exchange Edge - This machine was originally supposed to be a crash'n'burn box for testing. My first was with Exchange Edge and Forefront for Exchange and was so impressed I decided to keep it in play. This one stays the same. Identical hardware as bobobobobobobo. Kind of a waste as an Exchange Edge server but until I stand up the big Hyper-V box.....

vidtopia - Vista Ultimate Media Center - (video + utopia = vidtopia) - My wife wanted a media center so I built this for her almost 6 years ago. It used to have two OTA HD tuners and a single standard def tuner installed. The HD tuners were pulled when we moved to WA. We are one the wrong side of a hill. We don't actually use it for recording any TV these days. We use the crappy DVR from my cable company only because of of all the hokey content restrictions on HD content. I am working up a Dual OCUR tuner Dell XPSW420 to replace this machine and put a real Media Center back in the living room. Vidtopia is connected to the big screen so we use it for photo, video, printing editing as well as playback of all of our digital content. Intel HT 3ghz, 2 gigs of RAM and 750gigs of drives. Oh yeah...this is also my karaoke machine! This is the only machine in the list that is not in the basement.

godzilla - old firewall - (godzilla breaths fire....who the hell gets past godzilla?) - Dual 300mhz Intel 512megs RAM, two 10 gig hard drives. Used to be primary firewall, then decommissioned and fashioned into a member of my ISA array. Doesn't actively filter traffic. Just there for ISA testing.

phoney - MS Phone Machine - (duh!) - This is my oldest machine. I purchased this AMD DX4-120 in 1995 as my second ever IBM PC. I learned DOS, Win95, then back to Win3.1 and NT4 on this machine. It only has 8 megs of RAM but that is all that an unpatched version of Win95a needs. I have my Microsoft MP-900 phone connected to it and still use it as an answering machine now and then.

mijo - the better half's tablet - (who doesn't have a trillion nicknames for their spouse? My wife's name is Jeanne (pronounced 'gene'). I call her Jeanne-O-Mac, which became Meaj-O-Nac, which became mijo......simple.....) - It's just a tablet.

demotopia - demo laptop - (demonstrations + utopia = demotopia) - This is a Lenovo T61p. Quite simply the best machine I have ever used. Period. It is a work computer but I included it here because it is actually joined to my home domain and not Microsoft's.


So there you have it. I have a few cases, mobo's, and assorted peripherals laying around that I will build out for one test or another.

godzilla and phoney are off more than on these days and just might end up in the parts closet.

I also have a couple of 2TB TeraStations for storing digital media and I am building Buffalo out a Quad Core Intel box with 8 gigs of RAM and 4TB of drives to act as a Hyper-V and Data Protection Manager Server. I may duplicate this setup and split DPM away as a dedicated backup box.

I am documenting my process for updating the network. Look for posts on the trials and tribulations....



Comments (7)

  1. Becn says:

    That’s your HOME network?

    It makes even my future plans look feeble. But you must have one heck of a power bill. I’m toying with doing similar stuff with the likes of soekris or alix

    both for power and noise really

    I just wish i knew HOW 😉

  2. anonymous says:

    Hey Chris, I think you should not upload that Bitlocker PM interview. I’m eager to view it. It’s been three months since you posted this. (

  3. Hey Chris,

    Can you post your IP addresses for both your itnernal and external stuff as well? 🙂

    – Kai

  4. Keith Combs says:

    Clean Wall of Voodoos filter for heavens sake.  It’s making me sneeze just looking at it.

  5. Jose says:

    Hey dude !!

    That’s the real it pro office, nothing fancy all real stuff.  

    i hope they’re not in your living room !

    see ya in SD launch

    cheers Chris !

  6. Anonymous says:

    As a part of upgrading my home network , I decided to re-purpose one of my machines as a WSUS server.

  7. Anonymous says:

    subtitled…..Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager to help reduce my physical machine count….

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