I can't touch all my lab hardware and I love it.

I, like some or many of you that have a home office or part of a room in the house filled with computers and networking gear which can be touched and played with have those days where you wish there was something else. Maybe even something better. I love to have hardware on hand but I’ve found out that I don’t really need it all. The heat, the power consumption, the space it takes up, the noise, the cables, etc, etc……. Oh and did I mention the heat?  It used to be fun but now most of the time it’s just a pain to manage. We are struggling with some of the same problems that small and large enterprises struggle with but on a smaller scale but it’s all relative.

Well, if you didn’t know or have not tried it, the “Cloud” can help in this area. It’s not just for Developers, SMB or Enterprises! For a lot of us technology folk there is an added bonus, we get to play with cloud computing or at the very least IaaS first hand. I’m not saying that cloud computing will or can replace all that hardware you have in your home lab but I’m sure it can make your life much easier.

Just think of it. The next time you want to test some management or configuration software like Microsoft System Center Configurations Manager or Puppet. Or maybe you need to study for a Microsoft or Redhat certification and you need an environment to learn in. Instead of having to reconfigure, reinstall or by new hardware for that home lab why not use the cloud? Build it up in the cloud then either tear it all down or turn it all off. You’ll also have the luxury of being able to access from just about anywhere too. Depending on the provider, you’re only charged for what you use after you’ve used it. Be careful though. You will want to change your ways of turning it on then forgetting it because it will not forget you and you could end up with a hefty bill at the end of the month. With great power comes great responsibility!

Do your homework of course but if managed properly the fees are small and it may make sense when compared to your current setup. My goal is to have what I’m going to call a micro lab for those things I need hardware for and leverage the “Cloud” when possible for everything else. I’ve also been eyeballing some of the other services available out there in the cloud that I can use as well. There are way more pros than cons to the concept for me.