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boppy

join:2012-01-02
Boston, MA

1 edit

home rack setup cleanup/consolidation

Click for full size
Back of the Rack
Click for full size
Rack next to the desk
Click for full size
same shot without flash
Click for full size
wider shot of desk
For the last decade or so, my home network has consisted a of a pile of machines stacked on a table. I would not have dared to post pictures of that mess here.

I finally got around to putting together a rack setup. I realize that this isn't a proper IT rack with rear rails and such (it's actually a somewhat cheesy Middle Atlantic rack designed for audio equipment), but it works well enough and fits into my apartment bedroom nicely. It also has wheels.

Most of the actual hardware has been accumulated over the last six months or so. It replaces some older hardware (mostly Sun SPARC equipment, which I love, but I can't stand Oracle).

From top to bottom, the hardware is as follows:

- HP printer (on top of rack)
- power strip
- DSL bridge (Speakeasy ADSL)
- Cisco 2621 (total overkill...it just does NAT in my case)
- HP switch
- annex box for access serial consoles
- desktop machine (in rackmount enclosure), i7-2600, runs Linux, connected to dual monitors on desk; has 2x 2TB SATA disks (OS and temp files, mirrored)
- main file/print/samba/DNS/etc. server; E3-1230 Xeon, runs Linux, 2x 500GB SATA disks (OS, mirrored), 2x 300GB SAS disks (data, mirrored)
- test/"play" server; E3-1230 Xeon, runs Linux (mostly), 2x 300GB SAS disks (OS, mirrored)
- UPS

On desk:

- Western Electric model 2500 telephone
- CRT monitors (yes, I prefer CRTs)
- tape drive (LTO2)
- Unicomp "Customizer 101" mechanical keyboard
- HP 3-button optical mouse without scroll wheel (I hate scroll wheels; it was extremely difficult to find a current-model USB optical mouse without one)

The wiring job on the back of the rack is not amazingly good, but it is better than anything that I have had at home in the past.

The whole setup is fairly quiet (the Cisco box is actually the loudest thing in the rack). I had to replace the 120mm fans that came with the computer cases with quieter models, and everything is quite reasonable now.

boppy

join:2012-01-02
Boston, MA

Click for full size
opposite side view of rack
Click for full size
head-on view of desk
More pictures.

Yes, the desk is made of a board on two file cabinets. Looks kind of crappy, but works fine.

Not shown: Windows laptop, wireless access point in back of rack, spare (old) Windows laptop.


PhoenixAZ
Get A Mac
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:1
reply to boppy

Very nice setup, but any specific reason to preferring CRTs?



Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
Reviews:
·Bell Sympatico
reply to boppy

Nothing cheesy about it, the equipment fits, it does the job.
Might be convenient if you are in the habit of removing the computers somewhat frequently is to install a small angle brackets on either side to carry the load (much like a fixed rail), saves unpacking/unstacking the lot if you need to pull one out.


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
reply to PhoenixAZ

The response time, refresh rate, and clarity are generally better. I just got rid of my NEC Diamondtron last year only because the guns were beginning to misfire.
Really, an LTO drive? Do you make a lot of large backups?


boppy

join:2012-01-02
Boston, MA

Thanks for the comments.

I prefer CRTs because of the wide viewing angle and also because the picture looks clear and vibrant without the screen being reflective. LCDs tend to either have a mirror-like glossy surface (which I hate) or a matte surface which dulls the image. Late-model CRTs tend to have a good antiglare coating which does not soften the picture in the same way.

Also, people keep offering CRTs to me for free, and I have taken enough high-end models to keep me going for a while.

As for the tape drive: I am paranoid about my data. I keep nightly rsync backups on a VPS (located several hundred miles away and offsite tape copies at my office (located a dozen or so miles away). If I ever had to do a bare-metal restore, tapes would be faster, although the online copy is faster for retrieving individual files. At about $30 for 200GB (native capacity), it's hard to beat tape for cost-effectiveness, especially for those of us who make occasonal archive backups to be stored for forever. I have about 100GB of data that I care about and about 30GB of data that I _really_ care about, so the capacity of LTO2 works for me. Beyond changing tapes daily, doing random test restores, and checking rsync logs occasionally, my system is essentially zero-maintenance, which means that backups actually get done.

This general paranoia extends to storage in general. I looked into SSDs, but found that enterprise-grade SAS disks are more reliable (and still cheaper) than the SSDs that are affordable by mere mortals (I saw the price of enterprise-grade SSDs and did not look into them further).



jeffmoss26

join:2002-07-22
Beachwood, OH
reply to boppy

Nice 2500 phone



Zorack

join:2001-12-14
Fayetteville, WV
reply to boppy

Nice rack and a very clean one too,glad I'm starting to see people post actual racks they have



howardfine

join:2002-08-09
Saint Louis, MO
reply to boppy

said by boppy:

Also, people keep offering CRTs to me for free, and I have taken enough high-end models to keep me going for a while.

Exactly the case for me. I still have six CRT monitors in storage. Might last me a lifetime.

That's how I got all my computers, too. I've not bought one since 2001 as people keep "upgrading" their Windows systems. (I run FreeBSD)


PhoenixAZ
Get A Mac
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:1
reply to boppy

I don't see any speakers, you need some sound!


boppy

join:2012-01-02
Boston, MA
reply to boppy

Click for full size
Click for full size
There are some crappy little speakers next to the printer, but I agree that this is an area that needs attention.

That said, here are a couple of shots of my home stereo rack. I did this a couple of years ago and it actually uses the same model of Middle Atlantic rack. It is in the living-room area of my apartment, and I can use my laptop there if I want to. The wiring on this one came out better than the computer rack for some reason.

From top to bottom:

- turntable
- preamp
- CD player
- DAT recorder
- DVD player
- mixer (needed to add inputs)
- guest inputs/outputs
- waveform monitor
- power strip
- amplifier

Not shown:

- reel-to-reel tape machine
- speakers
- monitor (SD only, for now) and component video cable


Juke Box
His Word Never Fails
Premium
join:2001-01-29
Proverbs 3
reply to boppy

Nice setup and clean. However, I would try to avoid using wire ties and use Velcro instead.



jeffmoss26

join:2002-07-22
Beachwood, OH
reply to boppy

That's what I like to see. Quality Neutrik connectors and Middle Atlantic racks


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
reply to Juke Box

Wire ties are fine so long as you don't over-tighten, and Velcro can get expensive (1000 cable ties for $16 at Frys).



Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
reply to boppy

said by boppy:

Yes, the desk is made of a board on two file cabinets. Looks kind of crappy, but works fine.

I like the desk or board as you put it. I have two cabinets like yours and was thinking of doing something similar. Where did you get your board?