What is breadNET?

BreadNET is the name I have given my home lab. The name originated form my original nickname of breadbin from primary school , as well as being my instagram account. From there, branched breadNET. I had originally planned to purchase the domain of bread.net but this was taken, hence breadnet.co.uk

What qualifies me to write about this stuff?

Not a whole lot. But I like linux so that must contribute something?

How did I get in to computers?

So It really started back in 2012/13 when I had moved abroad with an old XP computer and from there it branched out. I started out wanting to work at Openrach as a technician, but decided not to. I used to work on the welpdesk for an msp in Potters Bar. I had moved on and accepted a job as a Junior System administrator for a cloud based company! woo

It all really started falling in place at my school that had a BYOD policy and I got bored in class, as you do. I started to look at how the internet works, web pages, all those kind of things. Eventually I got IIS to work on my third laptop (see below) and it just took off from there. Whilst in India, I managed to get my second laptop to accept ubuntu as it's OS. From there we moved to installing apache2 and building a basic website. Since then (around 2013) I have moved back to the UK (2015) and finally had the space and the money to get better equipment.

The laptop that started it all. This is the one where I learnt HTML. (I'm hopeless now)

This is the second laptop I owned. This was the laptop I was able to get running Ubuntu 13.04 (EOL) running with apache2 as a website. Was quite cool!

My third laptop was my everyday driver. This is the laptop where shit went downhill from I guess.

Currently, this is my every day driver. I have sticker bombed it as per anyone in tech usually does. Running Linux Mint

I had (bare in mind this was back in 2017 I think) planned to purchase some servers and needed a rack for them. So naturally I built one...

The below photo is from whiteboardCAD showing the specifics of the rack design.

Now we're making progress. The server rack is starting take place. It's quite solid once the rest of the cross supports were added. This was wood left over from building my desk.

Excuse the 2003 flip phone camera quality, but this is what the finished rack looked
Photos don't do it justice how much of a fire hazard this was.

The final straw

So after running like this for around a year I decided that it needed to go. Shit was all over the place. I reallly needed to upgrade. Plus my 'server' was an old computer with 8gb of ram and 2 cores.

I saved up from my job, which at the time was a warehouse operative, and purchased some servers and a server rack to populate some space in the garage.

I purchased:

  • 1 Dell R210 to run the router platform
  • 2 Dell R710's with E5520 processors, 16gb of ram each, which would run my hypervisor platform (xcp-ng)
  • 1 Dell R710 with 1 E5520 to run my NAS for storage of backups and Block level storage to be presented to the VM servers (lol, never happened. electricity isn't free)


This is the 48U rack I purchased off the fleabay and had delivered. I didn't quite realise how big 48U is but yeah. If anyone wants to colo, let me know!

The front of the rack (yes, there's no hard drive caddies. (Were on a budget here))

Rear of the rack. Sphagetttttttiiiii junction.

Plans for the future

  1. Get more storage
  2. Faster HDD's (or ssd?)
  3. 10gig (eh, half way there as of August 2019)
  4. bring the 3rd server online (Just need more ram... anyone?)

2019 : Year in review

Where to begin? The homelab has come quite some way. I've made breakthroughs, as well as wanting to break through something. I can tell you now, it's been a royal pain in the neck, but it's grown. I've now got a total of around 20 vm's running, purchased some drives off someone on reddit. 10g for backups and now have external backups going to wasabi who are doing me dirty with deleted storage.

I've done some custom paint jobs on the dell bezel on the front of my servers... because ye

It's not much, but it's coming along!

2020 : Year in review

2020 has been an amazing year especially with the new job, I've been exposed to alot more tech. All my servers now use Ansible for automation, AWX handles the patching and installing base things like Zabbix etc. I'm thinking of bursting some workloads to the cloud as the time moves on as I will be moving out in 2021 so won't be able to take my servers with me!

I focused on backups a lot this year and got everything backed up to Wasabi S3, then wrote a blog post about their strange billing.

2021 : Year in review

This has been a good year for the Homelab, but sadly towards the end of the year, we've sold it all off :(

I was able to get Kubernetes running on my lab! Was quite painful to get this working, but dude, this is cool!

I've been bugging some devs who are making a terraform provider for XOA, so I can define my lab as code! I think maybe next would be moving my lab to Openstack? (spoiler, this never happened)

I moved out of my parents place to Cambridge, UK.

I was able to migrate the crucial services such as passbolt and bookstack off the physical servers to the cloud.

I migrated my email server to Office 365 after getting annoyed with Attachments not working properly.

The server rack before tearing it all down
The 3 servers stacked 
The servers in the back of my car going to my friend who purchased them from me

If you're wondering what happened to the rack?

Someone from Scotland has purchased it to use in their workshop to build POC off-grid power.

I've not included many photos to respect the privacy of the Purchaser, as well as confidential details on the build. But just know it's cool!

This rack has been kicking around since 2003 I think... Not 100% sure, but it's definitely served me and all those before and after me well.

Live on breadRACK!

Is this the end for breadNET? - No

breadNET will continue to produce badly written blogs and produce shabby documentation on Bookstack as well as some sketchy python scripts.

As time and my career progresses, I will start writing more about Google cloud and Amazon Web services, as well as a lot more x as code projects!

I plan on rebuilding a lot of services I run to be more cloud native, as well as docker based and finally get rid of the Snowflake server that runs this site. There are so many customisations on it, that I'm not even sure if it will survive a reboot :|

I am starting to look at getting my own place soon, which means I am responsible for the power bills, which means metrics I can monitor and graph - HAAS.IO will probably be featured here a fair bit!

Until December, 2022... Thanks for reading!