Home Labs

Today’s random thought is on the concept of the home lab (from the IT worker perspective, not the Walter-White-Meth-Lab view).

I know several people at work who have home networks setup specifically for testing and learning, some are network labs with stacks of switches and routers while others have full blown SAN environments for use with ESX virtualization.  In my case my lab is neither elegant nor particularly impressive, it consists of two machines: a jumphost running Ubuntu and a KVM virtualization server built on CentOS.  This got me thinking about how some of my co-workers and others outside of the office that I have spoken to have no lab equipment at home what so ever, in fact some don’t even have a home computer to speak of.

How do people keep their skills sharp and more importantly learn new things if they don’t even have lab equipment at home.  It doesn’t even have to be fancy (like the previously mentioned SAN setup) but just something to get by doing light testing or even practicing for certification exams, yet there are people who don’t have anything.  I wonder if its due to having been in the field for far too long that they have decided they just don’t care to stay competitive anymore?  My home setup has even been useful for issues directly relating to work; currently its helped me build out a new and improved remediation script that will hopefully see production in the not-so-distant future.

Something missing from Nerdcore?

So I was driving home the other day listening to a selection of nerdcore songs including Nursehella, Ytcracker, Ultraklystron and a few others when something struck me, most of the computer related topics covered tend to be either general use such as downloading things, posting to blogs, posting items on craigslist and ebay, etc or the nefarious side of things such as piracy, spam and hacking.  The white and gray hat side of things is almost never represented in the genre, and I can’t help but feel that the scene is a little lacking because of this.  Surely there must be some NetSec folks out there with a little skill at rhyming that could contribute something, even if only a hand full of tracks about smacking down DDoS attacks, dismantling botnets and interrupting hacks in progress.

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