Decade of the Homelab.

Decade of the Homelab.

The past decade has seen a significant rise in the popularity of home labbing, or the practice of setting up a small-scale laboratory in one's own home.

I'm usually not huge on sticking flag poles in the ground regarding the direction technology will take in the coming years/decades. You can already see me hedging by saying decades in the title. I believe home labs (servers for home use) will become a thing this year(decade) is over.

As privacy and security become more of concern with breaches happening every day, more companies (Facebook) have less and less regard for your privacy. Not to mention a death by subscription services our wallets are facing. I believe we will start running more of our hardware at home in the form of home servers that everyone in the family uses.

You have already seen this with Helm, who is tackling email. Many communities have popped up around these trends. Those of us who are inclined to fiddle with machines have already started the way forward. As you can see in the /r/homelab and /r/selfhosted.

Homelab subscribers over time. We all know where graphs like these go.

The growth has been slow since most tools are open source and mostly worked on nights and weekends. More and more people are finding out about it daily.

Whatever service you are looking for, there is a decent or sometimes even better open-source alternative. Now, this isn't free of its headaches, which is why I see this taking a little longer before it's ready for the mainstream.

Right now, it isn't for the faint of heart I have spent many a night tinkering with little to show for it. But when things go precisely, you can achieve delightful experiences that are custom to your needs.


Hit me up on twitter for specs @myusuf3

What I am envisioning, though, is an operating system that is easy to run and maintain with tier one support to get it running inside your home with little to no effort and one-click installs, then you are off to the races. It's all about flattening the on-ramp for the masses. Then we can unlock Helm for X but running on all the same hardware.

Email? Check. Backups? Check. Home Automation Software? Check. Media Storage? Check.

Most of my friends have their variations on these setups, and they are continually trying new things packaged in Docker containers easy bootstrapping.

Some use Unraid others manage a large Ubuntu server instance. ESXI? Proxmox? You name it. Locked down and secure, and nothing never leaves their home. Great tools like Tailscale make even setting up a secure network accessible anywhere a breeze.

The future here is looking bright, and I am excited to see where it goes.

Mahdi Yusuf

engineer, speaker, writer, and home labber.