You need a Homelab — Part 1

3 min readDec 24, 2022


There’s a YouTube video as well, if you’re more into video content than reading.

We use computers of various form factors in our lives. There’s the trusty phone in our pockets, the laptop in our bags and for some of us, the beast of a machine on the desk. So what’s this home server thing? Well, with the use of these devices, we’re generating data — these could be our important documents, like various IDs, the photos and videos of our most cherished memories, our contacts.

With us generating data everyday, we need a safe place to store our data. Now obviously, with the advent of the Cloud, there are tons of services we could use to store this data, and sure, for some of you, this is a great option. Storage is one of the most cheapest cloud solution these days, with services coming in at various tiers, most of them free and some available for a small monthly fee.

Why I need a Home Server

For me however, the reasons for the need of a Home Server are slightly different. Quick introduction about what I do — I’m a Software Engineer by profession and I’m a photographer as well, so lots of photos.

Data Storage

Okay let’s focus in and talk about data storage for a second… I will group the reasons why I think a Home Server is a good idea based on the various personas I fit into in the home server space.

As a consumer, I don’t feel like paying monthly for a storage solutions. Heck, they have a lot of cool features that I’d love to use — for example Google Photos’ facial recognition + share functions is so cool. To be honest, for me, if I were a regular user, I’d go buying more storage on Google Photos. Most of my friends use Android so it makes sense to continue using it.

But as an Engineer, I can do lots of things here. But I’m not comfortable with all my storage online. Maybe you are, so you should be good to pick one of the available services and go ahead from there — Google Photos + Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, pCloud or any other service that tickles your fancy.

So, for data storage, I have the following thoughts in mind —

  • Local NAS (Network Attached Storage) for archives + backups
  • Online service for recent photos + sharing
  • And copy in both for important documents

What else can I do with a Home Server?

So the best part about being an Engineer is you can customize or even build what you want. I have a few things I need from my home server.

  • Data storage as I discussed earlier
  • Host any application I require — currently this includes payobills (show the Github Project some ❤️ ⭐️) which is a payments and bills management app. In the future, this list will increase with other apps which have data that I wouldn’t want out on the Web.

And as I’m building this, I want to improve my knowledge about Kubernetes so it’s a great opportunity.

Side note, you don’t necessarily need Kubernetes for a home server, I’m choosing to.


So those were my initial thoughts why everybody needs a Home Server. Keep your data safe, some apps you might want to use, plus, for me, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about Kubernetes.

Follow for future parts of this #HomeServer series to learn from my experiences trying to set this up.




Personal Opinions • Beyond Full Stack Engineer @ McKinsey & Company