I have just completed re-building my home lab and it took for few weeks to make certain worked. Hypervisors and pfsense are core parts of systems, but I also want to try that legacy or retired gadgets like Cisco ASA or HP DL3 series. Using cloud services such as AWS, Azure or DigitalOcean could make our life more easier, but on-premise systems are still important to understand what is going on there.
I feel like installing the Pfsense is at least 5 times easier than Cisco ASA. We can make connection worked even few mouse clicks; however, we can not understand how packet flows and how to make different machines are connected between each other under hood. There’re lots of trial errors as always. From wipe-out firmware images on that bare-metal firewall to complete ACL, those process gave me lots of fun anyway.
Each networks are divided into different VLANs and totally isolated each other to prevent security holes. Maybe I could do malware analysis on this environment. Metasploitable 2 and DVWA/WebGoat will be used for penetration practice, then any packets between attack/target machines are monitored.
Regarding the hyper visors, I would like to say, they have both pros and cons. Windows Hyper-V provides ease-of-use experience with nice looking graphic interface. More than that, we can use Hyper-V bare-metal machine as a monitoring server as well. But it requires lots of computing resources. ESXi is a very solid hyper visor and it needs few resource. Although I reinstalled because of its’ speed, it was working okay on 32GB SD Card. I am still not so sure which one is better, so I am using two hyper visors simultaneously.
My total budget for this lab was under 400$ CAD thanks for the retired but still healthy generals.