Welcome to the Linux Foundation Forum!

Home Lab Setup


Hello Everyone,

I tried looking through other posts but really didn't see what I was looking for so I thought I'd ask.

I am currently a college student working on an A.S. in CIS, and will be pursuing a B.S. in IT. I am currently taking Intro to Linux classes (although I would consider myself an intermediate user from before school), but I do have shell scripting and Linux administration classes coming up this year. I also have plans to work towards an RHCSA, and of course an LFS201. Although all this education is great, its useless without hands-on practical experience.

I am looking to create my own home lab to kind of make my self familiar with setting up, and performing administration tasks in a Linux, or even mix Linux/Windows environment. Things like user creation and maintenance, policy and permissions, web servers, print servers, DNS, your typical basic small office network with end users.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start? What are the most important functions to learn? What are the most common setups or networks in a Linux environment? My goals is to work as a sysadmin, as I kind of work as a junior admin right now and love it! Currently I work in a pure Windows environment though so what knowledge I am gaining is good in a sense of administration, but not experience with Linux.

Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you


  • joseph1701
    Hi Tony,

    Did you find the way to get your home practical training ?

    Currently, I am in the same situation. I mean I would like to build my own lab in order to practice linux servers administration but unfortunately I did not find significant posts on internet.

    I recently found out that the rental of a dedicated server could be a solution but actually I am not ready to pay rental costs and taking the risk of being in technical trouble with the remote server.

    Some people talk about virtualization set up, but the way to implement it remains hazy for me.

    I keep searching so if you get some informations, please tell me.

    Thanks :)

  • saqman2060
    What you can do, is use several machines designed to play server roles. Install your preferred linux OS in them and that will be your lab. Actually it is pretty simple to setup a linux lab provided you have a few spare machines you can dedicate to testing. Or, you can use one computer, install linux on it and install multiple server roles. The cool thing about linux, it can play any role you choose.

    Virtual computing is also an option. Use a machine that is powerful and a cpu that has virtual extensions. This works well if you plan on testing different flavors of Linux and you don't want to tamper with your production system. Remember, virtualization plays in the background of your primary OS so you have to configure it to be seen publically by your other systems.

    In the IT world, one server role it dedicated to one system to allow flow control. Not ideal to have one system do it all, but in the case of testing, there is no harm done. If you have two systems, one being your primary, then use multiple hard drives. It may be better to use multiple hard drives on your server to avoid breaking a partition setup.
  • imort
    imort Posts: 5
    edited April 2016


    I've been into your situation few years ago when I'd started my career too. You can use any king of virtualization software, for example VMWare VMPlayer or VirtualBox, not really matter.

    Create a few template virtual machines with selected Linux OS (CentOS or Ubuntu/Debian), so you can easily deploy few more. Within usual 8+ Gb of RAM you can run 4-6 medium sized VM with no harm for your work.

    And the you can test stuff, install and configure software, rollback or deploy server again, so on. I really can recommend you to use template VM for that, because in the other way you'll be stuck at installing and reinstalling OS all the time!

    You can find more relevant info here too.

  • psarz
    psarz Posts: 1


    To create lab for practicing Linux command and configuration, i would suggest that install lightweight linux i.e Ubuntu/mint/elementryOS whatever you like in your pc/lappy as a primary os. install vmware/oracle virtual box and then install guest os , preffered CentOS or RHEL 7. then start practicing your commands.



  • szilard.horvath95
    edited October 2017

    Hi Tony!

    How is your Linux Home Lab going? Do you have some success with it? If yes, how did you set up the configuration? What type of virtualization technology use for the clients? I'm curious about your project, I'm in kind of a similar situation, would like to build a home server with virtualized clients to represent a small-office network. 

    What kind of courses have you done in Linux topic?

    Thanks for you answer.

    Best regards,


  • ShawnCole50
    ShawnCole50 Posts: 2
    edited October 2017

    In my opinion I really wouldnt worry about a lab if you are just trying to get familiar with Linux. If you can get your hands on a RHEL 7 disk and a RHCSA book which I recommend Michael Jang and just follow along with the book. I actually got the RHCSA/RHCE certification study guide but there are others out there. I really dont see the advantage of a lab unless you are going to do remote installations of linux. I think the main thing is you have to understand how it works and the structure of Linux. There are a few things such as SELinux, configuring users and permissions using config files or ACL's if your company uses them, ect.... RHCE will go in depth with specific server roles such as Apache web servers or email servers...


Upcoming Training