How was my VMware HomeLab?

In a nutshell, my VMware HomeLab has been awesome. The Lab has been in regular use since February, 2022. I have replicated the Lab on additional Intel-based machines and has worked well. Although it can be convenient to learn with boxes hosted on online services such as TryHackMe and HackTheBox, some situations are best suited for a local environment ie. the OWASP Juice Shop, and a multi-machine Active Directory forest.

Did I achieve my objectives?

Absolutely - I achieved 100% of the goals and benefits I spoke about in my introductory post in 2022, which included:

original objectives

Not only is this the safest way to learn about information security in a home environment, I also learned alot about networking, firewall rule, systems administration etc.

So why fix something if it ain’t broken?

Although a local instance of a HomeLab is indespensible, I quickly realized there were some significant limitations with this kind of infrastructure:

  • a local HomeLab is limited to a local instance - sounds obvious, but in practice, this means the Lab is not easily accessible between machines, nor is it easily accessible by multiple users
  • VirtualLab or VMware are examples of Type 2 virtualization environments, where a hypervisor is hosted on a computer - and the resources (CPU, RAM etc) are shared by the host OS as well as virtual machines
  • a local instance is non-persistent - the sessions are lost if you shutdown VMware - and you have to restart all the VMs (including pfSense) the next time you fire up VMware
  • I also had problems with VMs not waking properly after hibernating
  • lastly, a local instance has limited functionality too ie. it would be very difficult or impossible to implement a robust enterprise level network intruction detection system (NIDS) or security information and event management (SIEM) platform

My objectives with this project

Given the known limitations with a local HomeLab, my goal was to use 0xBEN’s excellent how-to as a guide to repurpose a spare laptop to:

  • replicate my current VMware HomeLab subnet infrastructure in a persistent platform
  • learn how to use Proxmox, and
  • repurpose a spare laptop

Most importantly - I want to document how I was able to set this up with my own laptop and any potential hiccups along the way. Because I will forget. If I write it down, I will lose it. If I post it, it might be immortalized for future reference.

Desired State

Full Disclaimer: I followed 0xBEN’s excellent how-to and used it as a guide for my own journey.

This is the network diagram from OxBEN’s write-up.

network diagram


  • My Private IP Address Range:

My Hardware (aka Old Faithful)

This was my constant companion over the past 4 years and has served me well. Its role has been recently replaced by a smaller laptop. However, it has sufficient horsepower that it would be a waste to just leave it gathering dust in a corner.

The specs:

  • MSI GS65 Stealth 9SD
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9750H
  • RAM 32.0 GB
  • Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 1TB

Fast (mobile) i7, lots of RAM, and two SSDs totally 1.5 TB.

old faithful


I will follow 0xBEN’s structure, and break up the build process into the following steps:

Pending Additions:

  • Create an OWASP Juice Shop Container
  • Running Windows Guests on Proxmox
  • Active Directory Lab: Getting Started

HomeLab Proxmox Section

These posts can all be found in its own section:

Let’s Get Started!

Join me in the next section and prepare our laptop.