As a college student, I gained knowledge through books and lecture in most of my classes. My favorite classes were those that had me learn by doing. I thought to myself, “Why not continue learning by doing at home?”
I created several virtual machines on my two laptops using Sun’s (now Oracle’s) Virtual Box as well as VMware’s VMware Player. Although these were great tools, my hard drives quickly became maxed out to capacity with eight to ten VMs. Enter Craigslist.
While short on cash, I began window shopping on Craigslist to see what I could get for $100 or $200. In Idaho, the answer was a server in a beat up chassis from around 1997. Thankfully I traveled home to Northern California several times per year for holidays and school breaks; Craigslist was a lot friendlier to me there.
My first haul included two recently decommissioned Dell PowerEdge 2650s. I walked away with both of them for $70. I was finally the proud owner of two servers. Albeit their hardware was dated by today’s standards, they were functional and upgrade-able.
Next, I was able to snag an older Dell PowerEdge 1650 for about $40. When the gentleman who sold it to me found out I was a college IT student, he graciously threw in an older Dell PowerEdge 1550 along with a copy of Linux Red Hat. That’s the attitude I want to pass on to those entering the world of IT when I’m more established in the industry. An Uncle of mine gave me a Dell PE SC 430. I also recently got a hold of three more Poweredge servers including one with a 64 bit quad core processor!
Other more experienced friends of mine have donated or let me borrow Cisco PIX and ASAs firewalls, Cisco routers and switches and an Adtran 24 port POE switch. With the encouragement and support of these individuals (and the permission of my wife) I have been able to deepen my understanding of IT infrastructure. Without them, I would have been like any other college grad. Thank you!