A nice pair of racks.

Hi All,

There’s recently been some discussion on telegram regards the networking infrastructure and the required rack space.
I’ve put this post together to try and detail all the different options / items etc in terms of opening the floor to discussion.

Personally I don’t think we should be running anything high power like those dell servers in the corner due to the electricity bills.

But I would like to see some Rpi4’s rack mounted for stuff like space automation or web services
or a dns server that could resolve stuff like 3dprinter.hacman.local

Rack Options

Currently we have 3 different racks we could use

  • The very big rack 26U (floor mounted on wheels)
  • The old rack 9U (wall mounted)
  • Possibly a 5U rack from Bob (wall mounted).

For the very big rack
This is 26U I think, or 1.2 meters high on the inside.
On the outside it’s 141cm High, 60cm Wide, 80cm Deep
It’s located on wheels and we can access both the front and back.
The servers have been cleared out of it, currently 2 HP network switches are sitting inside
For now I’ve put a DNH sticker on it, although I may remove that if we’re getting rid of it.

For the old rack
I think this is 9U or 40cm high on the inside
I’ve recently mounted it on the wall in the metal area since it’d been sat on the floor since we moved in downstairs (maybe 3 years?)
It has no door and I assumed we could use it for the cnc electronics for the metal mill since I thought we would be using the bigger one for infrastructure instead.
There’s just 4 nuts to remove it from the wall, although I’d like to keep it there if we can.

For the 5U rack
Bob mentioned he might be able to bring a 5U one in.
This will be the same as the old rack but smaller and wall mounted as well I’d imagine.
(typically 1U = 4.4 cm high on the inside)

Proposed Items for the rack

Network Switches

The most important item is a Network switch.
Each switch takes up 1U of space.

Currently there’s 1 in use on the bar, I’m not sure of the model of this one
We also have one spare one on the bar (a d-link) and 2 spare in the big rack (HP ones)

I think the current plan may be to scatter the additional switches around the different areas (such as visual arts)
instead of having everything in the one rack.
So I suspect we may only need 1U total for this if we have the other switches scattered about.
I’m not sure if the D-Link is better than the HP in terms of throughput / managed features etc (Usually I just deal with cisco)

HP Mini Server

There is a small HP Mini Server, this isn’t in a rack format / rack mountable so takes up a fair bit of space since it’s cube shaped.
Approx 27cm High, 22cm Wide, 25cm Deep
I remember we had a conversation upstairs about lack of space inside the old rack
I’m not quite sure what it’s used for at the moment (door access? or something else?)

Questions on this one would be

  • Do we know all the different things it’s used for?
  • In order to reduce Power / space would it be worth considering replacing it with a Pi4 with a couple of hard disks attached?

Because of it’s shape I think it’s height would take up around 6U, so at a guess it wouldn’t fit into the new small rack.
For the old small rack it’d leave just 3U spare.

Time Server

This is something I brought in ages ago, it’s basically a radio receiver based NTP server
We don’t really need it but it’s a nice to have / nice to hack with in terms of getting a high stratum of time.
Currently this would take up 1U of space if fitted.
I think it’s a small embedded device so takes up little power.

Rpi4 servers

What I would like to see as a future item would be ether a single or multiple Rpi4’s as some mini servers
We could fit multiple of them into just 1U of space and add some hard disks to the back of them.

Possible uses:

  • A local DNS server so for example 3dprinter.hacman.local → 3d printer
    This would only work on the wifi but would make it easier to find devices generally.
  • Something similar to swindon’s telegram bot where you can graph / query the temperature in the space or the weather.
    (or perhaps even tram times)
  • Anything anyone else can think of in terms of space automation, such as something website based.
  • Kubernetes cluster?
  • attach one of those cheap TV SDR’s (software defined radio) for folks to play around with remotely
  • perhaps remote desktop to use visicut? although we do have the mac on the stage for that.

Proposed Items for the really reaaly big super rack

If we used the really big rack we might be able to put some additional stuff into it such as

  • Monitor with keyboard near the top
    For the monitor this is approx 43cm High, 38cm Wide, 25cm Deep

  • Printer - maybe see if we can shoe horn in the printer to get it out of the way?
    Approx - 55cm High, 40cm Wide, 55cm Deep

  • 2 x PC Tower cases, Approx 36cm High, 18cm Wide, 48cm Deep
    There’s currently 2 PC tower cases sitting on the front, I’m not sure of the state of them
    The only use for them might be the usb scope software since that might be mostly windows.

  • A rack mounted slide out toilet seat to sit on
    Just because I want to see this highlighted on hackaday

For the large rack, it takes up more floor space, but we do have access to the front and the back.
Also we can leave gaps inbetween for cables to run from one direction to the other.
This is just my own personal preference so we can leave room for automation / future hacking (and because that HP mini server takes up so much space).
Another thing we could do is fit acrylic panels on the front / back to filter out the dust

I’ve kind of rushed this through a bit since there’s a real chance some stuff we might want will end up being thrown out on Nov 5th

Many Thanks

If Bob is now bringing in a 5U rack then that can take the place of the 9U rack. I’m also on for turning off the microserver given it currently just acts as a slightly rubbish fan heater.

We need SSH access to the space which is the only thing the microserver is being used for I think. I’m fairly sure this can be sorted with a Pi and some router config.

I’ll be bringing in a Pi shortly to water the plants and the apps will be containerised so things can run on that until this is set up. Then it can just be moved across

If the HP mini server is going away that should leave us with some rack space in the wall mounted one in that case.

One possible use for the large rack might be a mobile tool chest since it’s on wheels.
I have tons of hardwood at home, all I’d be missing would be some draw sliders.