The Road Warriors Dream Lab


In the blog post Portable Data Center For Carry On I showed you my lab used for my Automation Framework Master Classes. It’s a fantastic lab and has served me well, but it’s actually 20 kilo which is 10 kilos over the limit of carry on.

I’ve decided to sell all my hardware (just one Intel NUC left) and shut down the physical Automation Framework Master Class. What comes next is a #virtual Automation Framework Master Class running off some super beefy Supermicro Servers.

One of the candidates I’ve been playing around with and used during my IaC demos at Citrix Synergy 2018 is the very popular SuperMicro E200-8D. There’s lot of people swapping Intel NUCs for E200-8D due to these reasons:

  1. Intel Xeon D-1529 SoC 6 Cores 12 Threads
  2. Up to 128 GB DDR4 ECC
  3. Two 1 GbE and two 10 GbE
  4. IPMI HTML5 or Java
  5. Very small & light, not much bigger than a Mac Mini

I posted a tweet this weekend about it and people ask for more information.

Shopping List

  1. Supermicro SYS-E200-8D Mini-ITX 1U Server – $811.12
  2. Supermicro 32GB DDR4 PC4-19200 – $1572.00
  3. Samsung 970 EVO 2TB – NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD – $697.99
  4. Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD – $177.99
  5. Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 8 60W (US-8-60W) – $110.07
  6. Ubiquiti Networks Router (ER-X) – $51.88
  7. Ubiquiti Unifi Ap-AC Lite – Wireless Access Point – $86.00
  8. Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG) – $197.76
  9. Ubiquiti Unifi Cloud Key – Remote Control Device – $78.55
  10. AC Infinity MULTIFAN S1 – $11.99
  11. AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip – $11.49

The above is the ultimate demo lab, but memory could be reduced to 64 GB to save some bucks.

Don’t even consider dropping NVMe because it’ so much faster than SSD. You could reduce it to 1TB just be aware that the E200-8D only holds one. My complete deployment of a fully loaded Citrix HA environment takes 30 minutes on NVMe compared to 1,5 hour on SSD.

The Secure Gateway is only needed if you’re going to use tha lab at home as well when not traveling. Same goes for the Cloud Key for remote management. If not you can install the Management software on a Windows VM or even Raspberry Pi. The Access Point might be overkill so much cheaper options exist (TP-Link N300 Wireless Wi-Fi – $24.99).

In case you’re a GPU consultant you could add an additional $1500 Intel Skull Canyon Hades to the carry on. That’s how Citrix do it.


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Friday 30th of September 2022

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