Project GDC (Garage Data Center)

Discussion in 'Chassis and Enclosures' started by briandm81, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    I've had my lab up and running for about 4 years now and it has continued to expand over time. I have kept it in my office so I've always kept things as quiet as possible. As I continue to expand I have come to the conclusion that I need to stop worrying about the noise. But I still need my office to be functional. So what should I do? Build a data center in my garage of course!

    I have a separate third car garage that currently acts as a giant mess resembling storage. The garage has a 10 foot ceiling so my thought is to add two 8 foot walls and a nice ceiling/shelf on top. This lets me keep a ton of storage on top but still have room for my rack and air conditioner.

    Here's the current lab specs:

    The Lab - Hyperion EPM

    Here's what it will look like on paper:

    HD3DPrint.jpg

    The only question I have is around the air conditioner. Can I just send warm air out the existing no longer used doggy door, but have no air in from anywhere else? I feel like I that might cause some issues...

    I'd love to hear everyone's feedback on my plan before I head to Home Depot for supplies. ;)
     
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  2. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Awesome! I look forward to this as I'm doing a 'wall off' mini-data center too.

    My plan is to have filter ventilation that can be 'closed off' from the rest of the room for circulating air / air intake for the AC.
    You def. cannot have an air tight room with hot air going out and none coming in.

    Depending on the AC unit you may be able to route an 'intake' to the outside too.
    Remember you don't want 100% AC Dry air you need to make sure humidity doesn't get way way way out of whack and start having issues with static.

    I would figure out a way to control outside air coming in (for when you don't need AC -- night or winter) and outside air going out... my plan is to use the cold AC air to cool the rest of the room outside the 'mini data center' assuming I'm not running enough gear to make it HOT air. The reverse is true for winter, I plan to use the heat from servers to heat rest of room, etc...
     
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  3. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    Great feedback. Looks like I either need a vent into the room or a new A/C unit with dual hoses/vents. I'd prefer a new unit...But I'd need to sell off this unit...

    Still working on final approval by the committee...
     
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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  4. Gary Gapinski

    Gary Gapinski New Member

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    I have a garage bay, walled off from the main part of the garage, that is slowly being changed from workshop to something like a den. It has a gas-fired heater that heats it and the rest of the garage (by leaving the door between open). However, while it's rather cold now, summer will be different. I may or may not decide to add air conditioning (it's a tad expensive), but Mitsubishi has an array of products which look like a reasonable way to add such without ducting.

    The latest NOAA seasonal forecast predicts a warm-ish year.
     
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  5. wildchild

    wildchild Active Member

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    What i would do :

    Create a hot and cold "isle".
    Quite easy to create with a simple sheetrock wall going around the center of you cabinet.
    That way your airco doesnt have to be on full swing all the time, and for the " hot" isle a powerfull vent our would suffice.
    In winter i would think that maybe having the airco just blow outside air in would do.
    Plug use empty spaces in your rack with spacers ( althought a simple plastic sheet would suffice).

    If you dont do the hot and cold isle design, you would also want to watch the humidity ( too dry air doesnt cool well)
     
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  6. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    +1 to this. By doing this - moving all of the hot air into its own space - you don't need active AC. Just vent the "hot side" to the outside. Since you are doing basic construction you could use a simple bathroom fan.

    Make sure the "cold side" has source air vents. You still might need a small AC if the source air could get hot (i.e., you are pulling source air from the rest of the garage and you live in AZ).

    You also need to seal all the potential air gaps that would allow air from the "cold side" to the "hot side". The only pathway you want for that has to go through your equipment.
     
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  7. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    Not sure how that works, maybe a diagram or picture would help? I'm in Dallas so A/C is a requirement. I have it even in my office now. In the garage it's hit before servers a good portion of the year.
     
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  8. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    I did some research on my own based on your suggestions and I think I understand it now. I work with Finance and Accounting groups all day, so I don't make it to modern data centers any more. So this is all great information. So here's what I came up with:

    Garage Data Center Hot Cold Aisle Diagram.png
    The inbound vent from garage would change if I swap out my A/C for a dual vent model, but I think this is right...

    Thoughts?
     
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  9. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    It also appears that I need to block off the front of the rack with filler plates. I have some, so I think that shouldn't be a problem. I have my switch gear in the back of the rack right now, do I need to move it to the front so it exhaust backwards as well? I'll need some longer DAC's....
     
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  10. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    Yes, you need to block off any place where air can flow easily from the 'cold' side to the 'hot' side without passing through your equipment (or worse - where it might backflow from hot to cold). But this doesn't have to be perfect blocking. You don't need expensive filler panels.

    I've recently toured a very large data center for a well know cloud SAS service provider that used cloth strips with their cute little logo printed on the to fill the empty spaces in their racks. Cheap, easy and functional.
     
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  11. jamesy_1988

    jamesy_1988 New Member

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    Positioning the cold air vents as low as possible will typically draw in colder air; especially if your garage has a concrete floor. Help keep down the AC running costs. Might be worth considering having fans on the inlet as well to provide air flow redundancy in the event that the hot aisle fan fails.

    I have a similar setup to what you are proposing with a 42U Dell rack, half full of HP G6/G7 gear. I can run it through summer in Australia (40C daytime temperatures) whilst maintaining about 35C on the hot aisle rack without AC.

    You might also have issues keeping the hot air in the hot aisle and might need to add a couple of rack fans to stop it recirculating back to the cold aisle side
     
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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  12. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    Got it. So my rack actually came with about 20U worth of plates for free. So I should have more than enough to block it off properly. I may put a fan in front of my non-rackmount UPS's just to have some air crossing those as well. I've gone through and put together two other scenarios...

    First is if I switch to a new A/C unit:
    Garage Data Center Hot Cold Aisle Diagram 2.png

    This would be a dual vent unit with air coming in from outside. The final option is sending the exhaust for the hot aisle containment to the dual vent portable A/C. I know this is how they intend for it to work with the real deal, but I'm not sure a portable A/C would be set up to really work well for this....thoughts?

    Garage Data Center Hot Cold Aisle Diagram 3.png
    I've also put together a 3D model of the framing:
    3D Model.png

    And finally...a budget to actually do the work. This is missing some of the smaller cheaper items, but all in I think I can come in under the $800 mark for my new Garage Data Center:

    Budget.png
    Now I just have to get my house put back together after our water heaters bit the dust and flooded everything so that I can get final approval to begin the project. I'm thinking a couple of weekends should be more than enough time...

    As always, I appreciate any feedback on my questions above...
     
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  13. jamesy_1988

    jamesy_1988 New Member

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    The most efficient configuration of the AC system depends on the temperature you intend to keep the cold aisle at vs the garage temperature. As the garage temperature approaches the cold aisle temperature, it is best to pull in cold air from the garage and vent all the hot air (first picture).

    Conversely, if the hot aisle temperature is less than the garage temperature, it makes sense to go with the second configuration. With the second configuration, you will still need a vent in the door, it just won't pull as much air through.

    Personally, I would go with the first configuration and set the AC temperature as high as possible/comfortable with to minimise the running costs. Also, insulation is your friend - both heat and sound.
     
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  14. wildchild

    wildchild Active Member

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    Have to agree with jamsey, but you could contemplate using a heat exchanger to convert your excess hot air into hot water for your home.

    The biggest cost in water heating are the first few degrees, and when you already have spend some funds to heat air, might aswell lower the cost of heating water.
    If this is a garage and you can do solar panels and a sun boiler, you be running almost co2 nutral , which would also has the possibility to lower you heating/electric bill
     
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  15. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    No, the new heaters are in, so we'll leave that alone for now. I'm hoping to make this a minor project, so the less I touch the better
     
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  16. jamesy_1988

    jamesy_1988 New Member

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    @briandm81 please share some photos of the build/finished project
     
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  17. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    Will do. I'm not able to get started just yet...so I've been spending way too much time planning...
     
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  18. briandm81

    briandm81 Active Member

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    Framing is mostly complete! I still have the wall where the rack will slide through to finish out, but the rest of the framing is in place. A few progress pics:
    Main walls all framed in:
    walls only.jpg

    All of the walls framed in...and a ceiling:
    fully framed.jpg

    I have most of the decking down for the storage nook on top. I have already moved a bunch of stuff up there. Next up...insulation and drywall. Making progress!
     
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  19. brendantay

    brendantay Member

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    Following as i'm intrigued + just for any ideas.
    Already have my Server room plan done with hot/cold side but i'm sure somewhere along this post someone will suggest something which will save me some pain!
     
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  20. brendantay

    brendantay Member

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    Id be keen to learn more about your Setup, if you feel like sharing?
    Fellow aussie and im intrigued about how you can run no a/c! :p
     
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