Homelab is the hobby of building and maintaining your own computer systems for the purpose of experimentation or learning about techniques used in managing larger computer systems. In my case, I enjoy managing network, storage, and virtualixation infrastructure at home and dedicate some of my time to building out my homelab.
After really enjoying my trio of Dell Wyse 5060 Thin Clients, I bought another cheap one to see how it compares, and hopefully to give advice to the many commenters. The 5060 was a great value for $35 but it’s hard to find at that price normally, while the 3040 is always available for that price, physically much smaller, and also worse on paper. It has a quad-core Intel CPU, 2G of RAM, and was advertised as having an 8G SSD but mine is actually 16G.
I’ve made many videos on Thin Clients before, all of them relying on Proxmox and the SPICE protocol. This works well when you control both the client and the hypervisor, and allows a lot of flexibility in the guest OS at the expense of flexibility at the client. If you want to rely on a remote access / Bring-Your-Own-Device type solution, you probably care more about solid multi-platform client support than flexibility in mixing VM OSes and running with no software installation on the VM.
I’ve been playing with the Dell Wyse 5060 I bought before and I …. might have bought a few more. I was so impressed by the performance for $35, the CPU and GPU were very functional, and the system had enough SSD storage and RAM to do actual real work. So, considering people have tried to run Proxmox on the Raspberry Pi 4, these things must be adequate for a Proxmox HA cluster.
In previous posts, I’ve been building up a thin client / VDI infrastructure based on Proxmox hosted virtual machines, using the SPICE protocol. This has gone well. However, the current setup basically launches the computer into a purely thin client mode, where it’s hardcoded to a specific VM and can do nothing else. There has been some interest in making some kind of launcher to select VMs to log in to, and I decided to find a solution for this.
As promised in my previous blog post on the topic, the SPICE protocol is capable of USB redirection. I didn’t dive into it for that post, but now the future is here and I’ve added USB redirection to my Raspberry Pi thin client. I’ve tested it with USB flash drives, webcams, and pretty much all of the USB devices I could find. And I’m here to tell you how it all works.
I recently was browsing eBay for used computer parts (as one does) and I found how cheap some used thin clients are. These are mini desktops with minimal IO which are designed to act as a modern terminal for modern VDI setups, something like Citrix or Microsoft Remote Desktop based enterprise systems. The thin client itself just has to deal with the local displays, keyboard, mouse, and local USB ports, the actual computation is done on a server somewhere else.
As part of my series exploring backup options, I’m exploring the options for pulling a backup of a Proxmox Virtual Environment (PVE) host to TrueNAS SCALE server. In this case, PVE host has local ZFS storage, and the TrueNAS system is acting as the backup server. Ideally, PVE would snapshot in ZFS and we could sync those snapshots with a TrueNAS Data Replication task, but PVE doesn’t use the ZFS snapshot features by default.
Previously, I described my ‘Ultimate’ OctoPrint setup, and part of that setup process including remounting a lot of OctoPrint folders to locations on my NAS. This setup worked well until I added OctoLapse, and wanted to backup folders not part of the folder path configuration in OctoPrint. To solve this, I used a different approach entirely, using symbolic links instead of a bunch of network mounts to cleanly and easily relocate OctoPrint data to network storage.
I’m experimenting with Proxmox Virtual Environment (PVE), the same hypervisor I run on my Minilab. It supports clustering and high availability, and I’d like to implement the cluster option. Clustering without HA allows multiple nodes to be managed from a single user interface, and for VMs to be offline migrated between nodes. This sounds pretty useful for me, even without the high availability features like live migration. However, any cluster relies on a node voting scheme which requires agreement (quorum) from all of the nodes, and the cluster won’t function without quorum being met.
As part of my series exploring backup options, I’d like to see if I can use Proxmox Backup Server to archive both datasets and zvols of a TrueNAS SCALE server. Why would you want to do this? In my case, I’m trying to choose the best starting point for my new backup server, and one potential option is to use Proxmox Backup Server (PBS), but I’d like to store data outside of the Proxmox Virtual Environment (PVE) ecosystem.