August 25, 2010

My Own Server Rack

IMG_2942Image by phossil via FlickrBy The Computer Doctor
Video By Jeremiah Duke

Ever since I started working in I.T. I've always longed to have my own cool server rack with lots of blinking lights and cables going everywhere. The only problem is that I never had a reason to have a server rack since I didn't have any hardware to put in one.

Well all that's changed now so bar the door and hide the women folk because I have just inherited five servers from a school that just closed. Now that good times are on the way I started shopping for 19 inch metal server racks. With the consumption of steel by China and the U.S. going through the roof, so has the cost of anything made of steel. I will not be dropping $700 - $2000 for a quality steel server rack so I started looking for alternatives. Since Steel doesn't grow on trees I am resorting to the one thing that does... wood.

My inspiration comes from Jeremiah Duke at the missionduke website. You can see his video below.

Now I'm not knocking his design by any means because it fits the bill for him. My design is different in that it's flush on the sides and incorporates plywood shelves for the bottom two levels which is due to the extremely heavy beasts that I'm housing there. The last thing I want to do is get a hernia because the edge of a server got caught on the lip of a 2x4. See my illustration below.

Hope to have pictures of the actual build and the final setup soon.

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Joe Mc said...

Hey Mitch,

Have you given any thought about the amount of heat that this will be putting out. I haven't been able to do any research, but four servers sitting on ply wood and 2x4's seems like an old fashion pyre if you ask me.

TheComputerDoctor said...

Thanks for the comment Joe. I did actually think about this, but not for the open plan I show in this article. The two bottom shelves are for two mid-tower type servers that are meant to sit on the floor or a table. The three 7 inch slots at the top are meant for three blade servers that normally are rack mounted within inches of each other. Since all of them bring in air from the front or the sides and vent out to the back, the only thing that could make them over heat and cause a fire is the ambient air. Since I'm in the basement the air temperature doesn't usually exceed 70 degrees even when outside temperatures are near 100.
The heat issue is a concern for another design that I considered which was and enclosed rack that brings air in from the bottom sides and is ducted out the top into a different room or outside. Even though this is a forced air system, with intake fan and exhaust fan and a fan that brings hot air from the bottom shelf past the second shelf, I'm still worried that it might not be enough.
Of course if I'm wrong I will publish my findings in a future article with a miniature apology somewhere towards the bottom that will probably go unnoticed to the untrained eye.
Thanks again for your comment.

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