Building a home lab a.k.a Monster Machine in Bangalore, India–Purpose Virtualization

27 Mar

The last time I spent Rs. 64,000/- on a laptop HP DV9830us was back in 2007 (Fry’s Store, in Texas) on which my original plan was to run virtual machine and utilize it for personal use (Gaming, movies, surfing etc.). Back in 2007, I got a very decent configuration of  Intel Duo Core 1.8 Ghz, 4 GB RAM, 512 NVidia Dedicated Graphics, Blue-ray player and hi-definition 17” screen. The whole purpose of the laptop got defeated when I returned back to India and figured out that BIOS is locked down by HP and doesn’t have the feature of Intel-VT and Intel-XD and cannot utilize the potential of this machine. (It is definitely me to blame as I got carried away in the store and made the purchase without doing research)

Recently, I started getting this feeling of building a home machine, so that I can test all the latest products from Microsoft, Citrix and Quest and learn all the new stuff along with creating a lot of useful material for myself and other techies. Though our companies would invest a lot of money in buying machine for building POC however, it always involves a lot of complexity (multiple RDP sessions just to get into the server and mother of all latency issues) in accessing and utilizing the machines Sad smile.

What do I plan to build on this Machine?

I plan to install Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition for starters then later on move to Windows 8 Server Beta using Hyper-V 3.0 or even try Windows 8 Client with Hyper-V and then create a lot of VM’s of various technologies. At all point in time my setup would have at least 6-8 VM’s running so there is going to be a lot of CPU and Memory utilization on the machine.

How about going with a OEM Manufacturer?

I thought rather than investing my time in building the ideal configuration why not buy something out of the box like a Dell or HP Workstation but to my surprise all of the OEM are super expensive nothing less than 1.75 to 2 lacs. All the OEM in the Workstation series typically have the machines starting from the price range of Rs. 85,000/- however, the moment you start adding more RAM, better processor and HDD space the prices shoots up.

My Research & Aresh’s Configuration or Plan for 2012:

My quest begins to research on building a decent performance machine. Remember, I missed this step last time during my laptop purchase Smile. I shortlisted on certain brands and products as follows:

CPU: Undoubtedly the Intel CPU came to my mind just that I am very comfortable and implemented a lot of Intel based implementations

Intel® Core™ i7-3930K Processor  (12M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz) = Rs. 33,000/-

Intel® Core™ i7-2700K Processor (8M Cache, up to 3.90 GHz)

Note: I have to purchase the CPU fan extra as it doesn’t come along with the original Intel Processor Kit. My choice for the fan is CoolMaster – X6

Motherboard: The mother of all choke-ups, bottlenecks & F****-ups if not selected by doing proper research. I shortlisted on ASUS industry leader in building robust and non-failure prone motherboards

ASUS P9X79 DELUXE – Rs. 25,000/-

Memory: Now comes the turn of buying RAM and my choice was Corsair

Vengeance® — 24GB Triple Channel DDR3 Memory Kit (CMZ24GX3M6A1600C9) = Rs. 15000/- to 18,000/-

HDD: A lot of options in this space however, being budget handicapped I selected a single HDD. I am surely aware a single HDD means a single point of failure but I have a couple of portable drives that I might use to backup and keep information. I don’t care if the HDD dies and have to rebuilt the lab Smile 

Seagate Barracuda® XT Desktop Hard Drives (2 TB) = Rs. 10,000/-

Even  if I plan to create a RAID 1 mirror my cost is going to double. Which I don’t think I can afford at this point in time.

Cabinet: Best in the class CoolMaster cabinets however, haven’t shortlisted the model yet.





Intel® Core™ i7-3930K Processor (12M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz)






Vengeance® — 24GB Triple Channel DDR3 Memory Kit



Seagate Barracuda® XT Desktop Hard Drives (2 TB)



Cool Master Cabinet



Cool Master X6 CPU Fan


Taxes Misc. On all products




Now, when seeing the total cost of the entire Monster Machine I was thrown flat on my face to the ground after seeing the money that is involved in building this machine. I am open to all types of charity and hope soon I can afford this machine.

Best Regards,

Aresh Sarkari

One Response to “Building a home lab a.k.a Monster Machine in Bangalore, India–Purpose Virtualization”

  1. Amit Khanna April 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    Specs for my home lab. It has been a year but solves my purpose.1) i7-2600 3.4 GHz2) Intel Mother Board only.3) Corsair 16 GB ( 4*4GB)4) Wester Digital HDD 1 TB5) Cabinet with an Extra Fan Dont Recall Brand)This costed 50k . Planning to add 2nd drive for RAID config… as this can wait in home lab.Dual Booted with Win7 x64 Ultimate & 2008 R2 SP1Win7 x64 with VMware Workstation for vsphere (vmware products )Amit Khanna

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