(Last Updated On: August 19, 2018)

In this short post I will be covering how I designed and built my Openstack home lab for cheap.  I spent less than $300.

Previously, I setup openstack on a couple of old Dell laptops. This was very very slow as you can imagine and it didn’t have any capacity to do anything useful. I set out to design a new lab to play with that would be actually useful and be easy on the wallet.

Equipment List

  • Dell 1950 2×2.5Ghz CPU, 32G Memory, 2x146G HDD
  • Dell 2950 2x2Ghz CPU, 32G Memory, 2x146G HDD
  • Cisco 2621 Switch
  • Cisco 2950 Router

The overall goal of this project was budget. With that I knew I would have to go with used servers. I found many Dell servers on ebay and on my local craigslist. I decided to go with a local guy from craigslist and got my Dell servers for $100 each. The switch was form Ebay and was only $20. The router was from craigslist and was for only $35.

Network Design

Here is the diagram of my setup:

AdminTome Openstack Network Diagram

I configured the Cisco router with a static internal IP from my cable modem and configured it as a DMZ. I then port forward services like Openstack Horizon (the Openstack Dashboard) to the static IP of my Cisco router’s outside IP. I configured the cisco router with NAT and PAT so that my openstack management network ( will have internet access. In addition, I can forward ports for SSH, Telnet, and NoVNC to access my controller and compute1 nodes.

As for openstack I configured the provider only network for my instances. They now receive IP addresses outside of the DHCP pool of my cable modem. Now I can expose those services to the outside world via port forwarding on the cable modem.


Front View

openstack front view

Back View

openstack back view


The beauty of this setup is that it is easily scalable, in that I can just through in another $100 and double my compute capacity. But with the single Dell 2950 I have more than enough to do what I need to do.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If it was helpful or if it was way off then please comment and let me know.

Click here for more great articles from AdminTome Blog.


I hope you have enjoyed this article, if so please leave a comment below.  For more articles, please signup for the AdminTome Blog below.  Also please feel free to share the article to your friends using the buttons to the left.  Thanks again for reading this post.