Minimal colocation build ideas wanted

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by katit, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. katit

    katit Member

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    I'd like to get opinions/suggestions on building minimal colocation hardware set. Minimal is in terms of rack space, our colo center charges $50/U, I'm not ready for 1/2 rack. But can do 2-3 Us. Also, datacenter is 24/7 15 minutes from home, so I'm not sure if spare server need to be in a rack?

    Here is what I think:

    1. Server to run VMs, 1U, 128G RAM. Hyper-V with different VMs, SC2600 dual CPU will be plenty
    2. Backup server which I can switch to in case of main server failure. 1U. This is where server 1 will be backing up into (use Hyper-V replication). Will be able to start it almost instantly in case of Server 1 hardware failure.
    3. Router/Firewall 1u (Mikrotik?)
    4. :( Cable management?? How do I connect LAN from router to 2x servers in their rack? router have jacks upfront..

    This brings it to 4U minimum setup. But do I really need #3 (router)? Or how can it work network-wise? They can provide 2 static IPs, server's will have IPMI. In my mind router will be necessary, but what if router itself fails?

    P.S. I see there is servers with 2 clusters in 1U, is that's what I'm thinking? 2 physical servers in one case? Is there good deals on those in refurbished market yet?
     
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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  2. Blinky 42

    Blinky 42 Active Member

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    How do they handle charging for power or do they include that in the per U price?
    You will need a switch or router with enough ports to hook up to all of the equipment unless your provider is giving you enough Ethernet drops for all the servers.

    I can't suggest strongly enough that you do NOT put your IPMI / DRAC / iLO / etc ports on the internet directly, they are not secure enough and firmware updates are not often enough to risk total control of your servers through a management interface.

    How you use your IPs depend on what services you are providing. If you are just trying to move equipment out of the house and into a colo, then you could go with a router / fw that uses 1 IP and do a tunnel between it and the house.

    Routers and switches will have ports on the "front" but you normally mount them in the back of the rack so that ports are all on the same side.
     
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  3. katit

    katit Member

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    Power included, this is what he said. No specs/limits listed.

    Ok, router is a must then. I have good experience with Mikrotiks, seems like this will do all:
    a. 10 ports (for model I'm using). 9 ports enough for 2 servers (2+2 really)
    b. VPN to get to IPMI/RDP
    c. Port forwarding for services (web/HTTP)
    d. tunnel from home to colo

    Does it look right?

    Got it. So, maybe they will allow for router install behind server? :) Of course, if depth allows. Mikrotik is like 4 inches deep.

    But.. Router becomes weak link in this case. Other solutions for this?
     
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  4. Blinky 42

    Blinky 42 Active Member

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    No - don't install the router behind the server, just install it from the back of the rack so you only have cables at the back of the rack and not going from the front to the back of the rack. (same for switches). They shouldn't allow you to install stuff that will impede airflow out from the server, and it would be very hard to actually access the back of the server for cables/power if you did.

    You should be able to do your list with a Mikrotik.

    If you are this space/cost constrained, I wouldn't worry about a quality router being a failure point unless you also go with dual power for everything, dual network drops into your rack from independent upstream routers and dual routers/switches in your rack connected to all servers so that you have 2 of everything from each server out to the internet/power.
    Designing that way is great and highly recommended - but significantly more complex overall and expensive. If you are looking to rack 2 servers for an offsite extension of your home setup then I would suggest it is overkill for a first step - get the kinks worked out with the first server(s) and then build from there when you can afford to go with a 1/3 rack of space or more.
     
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