New place, new rack

It has been a long time since I’ve made an update and quite a lot has changed. The first is that I’ve moved into a new place to go back to college. Secondly, the 42u rack is no longer in my possession, but I still have reason to call it Project: Rackmount Overkill. I recently purchased a new rack and show the assembly and installation below.

The last time the rack was moved, we nearly had to call emergency services to get us unstuck. The town-home I was living in had very steep stairs with a slightly low ceiling, which made getting the rack up and down the stairs an arduous and dangerous task. When moving it back up, we managed to wedge the top of the rack up into the ceiling, while the bottom was still on the last stair. The problem was, I was standing on the stairs, unable to hold the lift the rack by myself and not do anything other than hold it in place to prevent it from falling down. If the door to exit the stairs was not turned ninety degrees at the head of the stairs, getting it out would have been easy. Because of this, my helper was pinned against the wall and couldn’t help move or lift the rack. After fifteen or twenty minutes of moving it around, we somehow dislodged it and got it out of the stairwell, vowing to never do that again. The only damage was to the ceiling.

In place of the 42u rack, I purchased a RackSolutions open frame 30u rack. In the worst case scenario while moving, I can take break the rack down into its base components and move it around, which will be much more portable than its predecessor. Downside is that it doesn’t look as cool, but I will just have to deal with that.

I talked directly with Bob from their sales department and it was a very pleasant experience that was straightforward and without problems. The package arrived very quickly (a day earlier than they expected) and it was boxed up very well. Everything arrived in perfect condition. I didn’t see a lot of information about this company online and the prices were good compared to other options online, and I was worried that there was a catch. I’m glad that I was wrong.

Slew of packages arrived that will eventually form a 30u rack.

Slew of packages arrived that will eventually form a 30u rack.

Cable organizer (left) and 30u tall upright columns (right).

Cable organizer (left) and 30u tall upright columns (right).

Top panel to the rack with four holes cut in it for cables to run through. Not seen is the included u-gasket to protect cables and the hole covers for unused holes.

Top panel to the rack with four holes cut in it for cables to run through. Not seen is the included u-gasket to protect cables and the hole covers for unused holes.

Power strip (back), front to back support (center), and fancy nameplates (right back)

Power strip (back), front to back support (center), and fancy nameplates (right back)

One side of the rack assembled

One side of the rack assembled

Rack mostly assembled

Rack mostly assembled

Rack fully assembled

Rack fully assembled

Servers installed in the rack

Servers installed in the rack

You may have noticed that the Norco 4020 does not have its rails attached and is sitting directly on the Dell R710. This rack seems to have slightly less width on the inside, or the rails are wider than they should be. I’m more willing to believe the latter. When I went to install the rails for the Norco, they bolted in fine, but when the server went to slide in, it wanted to bend them badly. I had the option of sitting it on the floor (of which, I don’t have a lot of space), or to sit it on the Dell. I was worried that it wouldn’t hold the immense weight of the server, but it held up well. For a permanent solution, I purchased a rackmounted shelf so that it wasn’t putting too much weight on the Dell.

Back of the rack. Note the terrible cable management

Back of the rack. Note the terrible cable management

Closer shot of the bottom of the rack

Closer shot of the bottom of the rack

Top of the rack, where all the networking equipment resides

Top of the rack, where all the networking equipment resides

There have been many other changes, so I’m going to split this among a few posts as to make them shorter. There is a lot of information and pictures.