Whenever I need to pull in some heavy network testing gear, I make a call to Spirent and get a SmartBits chassis with whatever modules I need. The SmartBits are powerful, reliable, and infinitely configurable, almost to a fault. For lower-end testing, I simply write small tools in perl, or use nuttcp, netperf, IOMeter, or any of a dozen other open-source network testing tools. On the storage side, IOMeter, bonnie/bonnie++ and good ol' dd are all that's really required. Also, I'm currently evaluating a Shunra VE network testing appliance, which I'm very interested in using for some upcoming tests.
I don't really have a stable of go-to applications, I tend to use whatever is available on whatever system I happen to be using. I do plenty of writing in OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Word, but also in vim. I do all of my coding in vim. I use Apple Mail, Evolution and Thunderbird just about equally, as well as SquirrelMail for a Web email client. Firefox and/or Camino are the browsers of choice, and iChat and Gaim handle IM nicely. I do have to give props to ecto, which is one app that I definitely rely on, since I do all my blogging from a MacBook or PowerBook, and ecto makes it obscenely simple.
If you've been reading my Asterisk posts recently, you know that the voice side of the lab is in flux right now. I'll keep up my notes on that as it progresses.
If anyone has specific questions on hardware or lab infrastructure, feel free to drop me a note and I'll address it. Also, in the very likely event that I've forgotten something, we might just have a part four.