Home networking gone wild

As my first real post I'd like to introduce you to my home network. See, I've been working from home mostly now for the past year (Sun has great technology for flexible work locations) and I finally got around to looking at what I've got and was quite surprised at how much my home network has grown over the last year.

Here's a drawing of the network.

Home Network

As you can see the left side is pretty normal. The 3 Windows XP laptops and the Windos XP desktop systems are used by my family,3 college age kids all have the laptops and my wife uses the desktop PC. It's interesting to note though that the desktop PC is really quite old, it's a 400Mhz PIII that's used for wordprocesssing, email and web. And works quite nicely at that. Haven't had to "upgrade" it at all.

The right side is my "home office" network.

The Netra T1 is running Solaris 10 and I use it for a lot of things, but mostly as one of my Solaris learning/experimentation/prototyping systems for projects that I'm working on.

The Apple Xserve is one of the two "stable" systems in my network. By stable I mean I don't "experiment" with it. I've put a graphics card in it and use it as a desktop system. I split my time between this system and my Solaris 10 laptop (Toshiba M2). I must admit that until Solaris 10 my primary tool was my Apple Powerbook. However the Xserve has supplanted the Powerbook and when I need a mobile system I take my Solaris 10 laptop.

As I've already mentioned, the next in line is the Toshiba M2 laptop running Solaris 10. It's setup to also dual boot WIndows XP but I find I haven't had to do that for quite some time now :-) . This is my other "stable" system. I don't do a lot of "experimenting" with it because I depend on it daily for use. Most often I have it "VPN'ed" into Sun's internal network so I can access files/information there.

Next is the Sun Ray 170. This is Sun's newest Sun Ray. It's a beautiful design with a 17" LCD monitor built in. Being that it's an ultra thin client it needs to connect to a server someplace to drive it. I boot it from a number of different servers depending on my needs, however, most often it's connected to a set of servers that I work with that is part of Sun's Sun Grid project. (More about this in a future blog :-) ) At this point let me just say that even though the servers that I'm connecting to are hundreds of miles away performance is as good as if it were in my basement! If you haven't seen what the Sun Ray can do in a "low-bandwidth" situation you really should. It's very impressive!

The Sun Ray 1G is connected to a Cisco 831 VPN/Router. The Cisco builts a VPN tunnel into Sun's internal network and the 1G runs from a server within the corportate network. This is part of our Sun Ray@Home inititive. What's really cool about this is that I can be working on this Sun Ray at home, pull out the smartcard, go into any Sun office, insert my smartcard the viola! everything that was being displayed at home has now followed me to my Sun office!

For phone access for a long time I've just been using my cell phone. However, my office is in my basement and coverage isn't the best there. I've managed to get by with that though. Just recently though I've added my latest piece of network stuff. A Vonage VoIP solution. So now I do all my phoning via the Vonage service.

Finally, there's the old Powerbook. I still use it, but mostly when I'm in other places in the house and need access. Otherwise it sits around waiting to be used.

To make it easier to use all of this equipment I have the 2 Sun Rays, the Toshiba and the Xserve all using a single keyboard/mouse via a USB KVM switch. However, I have 3 monitors setup so I can see all the time what's on them all. Well, one monitor has to be switched since I only have 3 monitors for 4 systems.

Of course, this is only the equipment that is always in the network. I often need to build up testing/prototyping environements and for that I have other gear ( a Sun V20z Opteron server, various X86 & SPARC laptops, and other Sun Rays) for whatever project that I'm currently working on. And of course I'm working on various servers on the Sun Grid projects.

Finally, here's a photo of "command central" as I like to call it. If you look closly at the picture over my desk you'll be able to see Duke hanging out with me also :-) .

office photo


I see some ultras under the desk there as well utlra 60s are they... did not see those on your network layout



Posted by dan lacher on May 17, 2005 at 03:33 AM EDT #

Ah.. good eyes. Those 2 ultra 60's have been powered off for months. Been meaning to bring them back into the office.

Posted by Brian Foley on May 17, 2005 at 04:01 AM EDT #

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