how do you realize you lab used for testing, reversing, playing around, etc? Do you use virtualization or do you have seperate hardware, or do you even simply work on your normal working system?
At the moment I am thinking about building up a small network testing lab using several raspberry pis, two TP-link routers and in future may also some old x86 Linux and Windows SoC. The first use case for this setup would be to learn more about IP-Sec, sniffing, spoofing and general network setup.
If you run a laptop, or something low relatively low-spec’d, you’ll notice VM’s can be a killer to performance.
I have a NAS on my network with phpvirtualbox installed. That way I can remotely login, and set up VM’s that can be always running, unlike my main machine. Baremetal is also quite nice for a lab, but can be pricey.
For your purposes, you may want to try out Proxmox. @L3akM3-0day made a tutorial on how to install this and use it, essentially it is an OS with virtualising and sandboxing built in.
I actually just built a pretty beefy machine to run multiple VMs. It’s dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu, with the idea that Windows 10 is there for playing video games and ubuntu is for work. I usually run virtualbox to play around with different OS’s, open source VMs are easy to find online and you can get limited functionality versions of Windows (most versions, I think) off of the Microsoft website. I haven’t used proxmox yet, but I do use vagrant to spin up lightweight stuff, mostly because it’s familiar and I’m lazy.