My Home Lab Journey: Setting Up on an Intel NUC NUC11PAHi7

As a tech enthusiast and a lover of all things related to virtualization and self-hosting, I was in the market for a new computing platform to host my homelab. After careful consideration and research, I decided to go for the Intel NUC NUC11PAHi7 as my platform of choice.

The NUC11PAHi7 is a compact and powerful barebone mini-PC that comes with an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 4 Core, 8 Thread,12M8 Cache) 28W Intel IrisXe Graphics and support for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. This made it an ideal choice for my homelab needs.

I chose to upgrade my NUC with 64GB of memory and a 1TB Samsung Pro 970 NVMe SSD to ensure that I had enough storage space and performance for my virtualization environment. The SSD in particular was an important choice, as it would provide the fast read and write speeds that are critical for running virtual machines smoothly.

Next, I installed ESXi 7, which is a powerful and feature-rich hypervisor that is widely used in enterprise environments. I was already familiar with ESXi, so I was confident in my ability to set it up and get it running quickly. The installation process was not straightforward and I had to download drivers and build a new ISO. I will explain this process in another blog

One of the biggest benefits of using ESXi for my homelab is that it provides a centralized and easy-to-manage environment for all of my virtual machines. I can easily monitor the performance of each machine, adjust resources as needed, and even clone virtual machines to quickly create new instances. Additionally, ESXi integrates with many popular tools for backup and disaster recovery, which gives me peace of mind knowing that my data is protected.

In conclusion, setting up a homelab on a new Intel NUC NUC11PAHi7 with ESXi 7 has been an exciting and rewarding experience. I now have a flexible and powerful platform that I can use to experiment with new technologies and services, and I have a better understanding of how virtualization works and how it can be used in real-world scenarios. If you’re interested in setting up your own homelab, I highly recommend the Intel NUC and ESXi combination as a great starting point.

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