Have I Lost My Mind? - New to me house needs network drops. Server rack in the garage...

eptesicus

Member
Jun 25, 2017
64
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Filtering is a really, really good idea. especially if you end up doing anything like say... wood working in the garage. Not that I've made that huge life error *ahem* :-/
It's bad enough in our current apartment... So much dead skin getting sucked into my servers. I wipe the front of them off about once a week.
 

TerryPhillips

New Member
May 7, 2019
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Sounds very much like a setup I had once upon a time in Texas. 42u rack, 2x IBM BladeCenter chassis,2x 36drive bay storage servers, 2x 10Gb and 2x 1GB switches, a couple Juniper routers and F5 BigIPs. Also a 2 story house and fortunately the spare bedroom upstairs had a walk-in closet that backed up to the attic space that housed the 5-ton AC unit for the 1st floor. With a couple boxes of flex duct and some creativity I was able to redirect the 3 return ducts into the front half of the closet, then out of the rear of the closet back into the AC unit. The other bonus was the straight shot to the electrical panel which made running 2x 30A 240v and 2x 20A 120v circuits pretty easy. The AC blower fan was set to run continually while the AC cooling function was set to cycle auto like normal.

Looking back, here's some things I remember about the setup:
  • You can strip a 42u Compaq rack down to just the 4-post frame and it will slide upright through a standard doorway...
  • WiFi was much easier than cat-6 but fortunately the house design allowed attic access to almost every room and wall access to every room upstairs.
  • 2 large rackmount 5.5KVa UPSs are easier to take apart and move piece by piece... same goes for a 10u IBM BladeCenter chassis
  • Noise: even though it was in a closet upstairs, the fan noise was audible through all the vents throughout the whole house. Some egg-shell foam baffles helped at the AC ingress and egress points.
  • The smell of a UPS battery gone bad and being blown throughout the whole house is not pleasant
  • The extra heat BTUs are great in the winter. But in the peak of a Texas summer trying to cool a 3300 sq ft house (8 tons ac total) with a family of 4 and a datacenter, it was common to have 4 digit power bill. And Texas power is some of the cheapest in the US...
  • Even the best quality air filters wont stop the dust and last about 30 days max, which $$$ adds up when replacing 3x large 4" thick filters
  • The original AC blower had to be replaced as the bearings didn't last under continuous use. As did multiple contactor relays and starter capacitors for the external compressor, likely from a higher than normal on/off cycling. Fortunately all within my elctro/mechnical skill set...
  • It was fun but I would not do it again...
Having moved from Texas to Middle Tennessee for a 2 year stint, I do recall the summers still get pretty warm in the mid 90s. I'd be concerned about equipment health in a garage. UPS batteries will die fast and swell and there's higher odds that capacitors will too. At the time of this move, I was a road warrior consultant and never put in any effort to build out a lab at this location. Like you, there was a bonus room above the garage that became the office, but the AC ventilation was poor at best. I considered the garage too, but was never comfortable with the heat issue.

Today I have a pair of servers setup in a HCI cluster that together max out at 300w under full load of a 24 VM stress test. They're nice and quite with 2k RPM fans which rarely spool up. All a real bonus as now I'm in Germany where AC is something you get to enjoy in your car and electricity prices are ridiculous...