Anyone build or house a server rack under their basement stairs?

msvirtualguy

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Jan 23, 2013
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In the early stages of finishing the basement and one of the ideas I've had was to move my rack under the basement stairs. It's a smaller triplite rack with my lab gear etc. I need to get a new rackmount UPS as well. There will be some items on top of the rack so I need to save some room for that.

As it stands now this is what it looks like. The bottom 2u will be replaced with a rackmount UPS (currently have a standing UPS unit).



Here are my requirements in order of priority:
  • 1. Cool/Clean: Keeping components in Cool/Clean environemnt
  • 2. Hidden
  • 3. Noise
This has to have a high level of WAF so it has to be hidden while meeting all other conditions.

The back of the stairs will be hidden so i'm thinking of using that as the access and intake for cool air but I need to exhaust the hot air as well. This is my challenge. Open for any ideas.

Something like this (note not mine but would look similar)

 

JamesJB

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Dec 12, 2019
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Is your basement one of those that has carpet and stuff and used as a man cave? if not id be afraid to put that expensive stuff in the basement cause of bugs and other stuff making a home in it :(

I like that setup nice and clean,I'm building my first server hope all the parts work most are used.
 

Patrick

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Dec 21, 2010
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California so no basements here. Can you vent the space? Do you need anything else to go there? It seems like you can set up sufficient exhaust with that much space. Vented stairs with ducting and a low-velocity fan?
 

msvirtualguy

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Yeah..i'm just thinking about the best way. There will be a door on the side and back so I have limited options. Going to need to figure out how I can use unseen space.
 

Spartacus

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May 27, 2019
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Austin, TX
From the looks of it you're generating a pretty low amount of heat.
A few fans near the top of the rear of the space exhausting out in the basement combined with a passive vented intake on the side door is likely how I would envision cooling what you have.

I have a very similar setup but with two beefy full towers full of drives (formerly had one of the TS-1635AX + one beefy tower during transition)
However mine sits in a 25u enclosed half rack in the corner of my 10x10ft office, I've rigged up cardboard (soon to make wood for noise abating) along the bottom, back and front of the rack with a slot in the front and exhaust ports at the top rear with low flow fans to make directional airflow for the equipment in it.

Worst case you could get one of the 24/7 heat load rated mobile A/C units that exhausts the condensation out one of the doors (also with a passive intake).

One thing I will say, make sure that nothing that vibrates attaches to the walls/studs if you can avoid it.
That noise/vibration will sometimes get very annoying reverberating though the house (my experience with this has been with stuff under the 1st->2nd floor stairs not a basement->1st)

Edit:
I went shopping for how I would probably make it:
Exhaust: AIRFRAME T7 White, AV Equipment Closet and Room Fan System 17", Exhaust

Intake: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZCX3Z8/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_IZx9DbWNHRT9N
Then rig up some kind of retention on the back side for a 12x12 air filter on the intake.
 
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msvirtualguy

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They are SYS-E300-9D-8CN8TP with rack kits. Each are equipped with 1 x Intel DC S3520 240GB Boot Drive and 2 x 1.2TB Intel S3710 SSD's.

I'm running Nutanix AOS w/AHV for the HCI foundation and all latest features/software such as Files/Objects/Calm/Era/Karbon/Prism Pro. (I work at Nutanix) so I have access to the prod software for this platform.

The Intel NUC (Skulltrail) has been upgraded to 64GB RAM and runs latest beta build of Nutanix Community Edition. This is essentially used as my "DR and Backup" system from a demo perspective.

I run HYCU as my real backup to my Qnap NAS which also tiers to S3.

Home office is DC1. DC2 i'm running Nutanix Clusters on AWS for cloud extension etc. I have a few clusters in AWS that hibernate (Nutanix function) when not in use to keep costs down that also run native on bare-metal in my VPC's.
 

frogtech

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Jan 4, 2016
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They are SYS-E300-9D-8CN8TP with rack kits. Each are equipped with 1 x Intel DC S3520 240GB Boot Drive and 2 x 1.2TB Intel S3710 SSD's.

I'm running Nutanix AOS w/AHV for the HCI foundation and all latest features/software such as Files/Objects/Calm/Era/Karbon/Prism Pro. (I work at Nutanix) so I have access to the prod software for this platform.

The Intel NUC (Skulltrail) has been upgraded to 64GB RAM and runs latest beta build of Nutanix Community Edition. This is essentially used as my "DR and Backup" system from a demo perspective.

I run HYCU as my real backup to my Qnap NAS which also tiers to S3.

Home office is DC1. DC2 i'm running Nutanix Clusters on AWS for cloud extension etc. I have a few clusters in AWS that hibernate (Nutanix function) when not in use to keep costs down that also run native on bare-metal in my VPC's.
Awesome, thanks. Any talks of Nutanix ever offering anything similar to a VMUG Eval license? I can't remember if the community edition scales beyond 3 nodes or not.
 

msvirtualguy

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Ya know..they've talked about it and we given the feedback from the field and they decided not to go that route at the time. These decisions are way above my pay-grade but I get it, an Eval license like VMUG would be beneficial.

Community Edition can go 1, 3 or 4 nodes but you don't get anywhere near the performance as Prod AOS a it uses LUN Passthrough and not PCI-E passthrough.
 

frogtech

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Jan 4, 2016
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Damn...I would love to get a fully featured trial on my setup, it's going to be all S3700s with P3700 as the caches. Anyway, not trying to derail here, thanks for the info.
 

BeTeP

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Mar 23, 2019
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I was considering AIRFRAME products before but decided it was overkill. I figured I did not really cared temperature control at the grille. But mainly I did not want to wait for the delivery so I just picked up a cheap plastic 12" x 4" air return grille at the local HomeDepot and hot glued 3 spare case fans in it. I wired the fans in parallel to a barrel plug and used some old 9V wall wart adapter to power them up.
 

Markess

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May 19, 2018
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How is your humidity in the basement? Not sure where you are, but in most of the U.S. the underground temperature around your basement walls is going to be lower than the ambient outside/upper floor air temperature. This drives humidity up, making your basement more humid than the rest of the house, sometimes to very high levels depending on the season.

Sealing the basement floor and finishing out the walls is going to help with this, and if your stairwell isn't up against the basement wall that will help too. But, you may want to keep track of the humidity level over the seasons. If it gets too high at certain times of the year, you may want to get a dehumidifier to run seasonally.