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Free Geek Server Rack Build Part 1

Posted: February 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Free Geek | 2 Comments »

The Free Geek server room is not in the best of shape. It basically consists of about 9 desktop towers of varying speeds stacked in groups of 3 with plywood in between them. Oh! and it’s all housed inside of a bathroom. ๐Ÿ˜› The power is being supplied by APC UPS’s with missing front bezels and malfunctioning controls…. they scream randomly. There’s no cooling, or even airflow and when the toilet’s water evaporates it begins to smell like dead fish. The gateway was just replaced with a dual core Xeon (thank you Joshua,) but the old one which ran like a trooper for 3 years was a Pentium II 366. A lot of the servers are beginning to show their age, failing hard drives, dead fans, strange smells. It’s time for a general overhaul.

Our New Rack Enclosure

Our New Rack Enclosure

The first thing to do is to plan power and figure out a location for the new server rack. We’ll be feeding in 2 20A circuits and 2 15A as well. We decided on placing the rack beside the lunch room because it was accessible enough to work on and also allowed to kinda show off to all the volunteers. :) We then got this rack graciously donated to us to house all the new server that will be going in. It’s a 42U HP rack enclosure with removable doors and panels. Very nice rack inside, I would say even better than the standard APC Netshelter because the doors come off a lot easier and it’s nice and roomy to work inside of. However the only thing I did not like about this rack was the feet. To level it off I had to get an 11/16th wrench and from the bottom lower the feet where as on the APC Netshelter this is done inside the rack with a handy little Phillips screwdriver.

IMG_0065 Now with the location for the rack picked out and rack itself chosen we can now do my favourite part. Cleaning. The first pic is of the dirt swept up in about 15sq ft around and under the rack location. After this is done the HP rack was put in place and then levelled out.

IMG_0068 IMG_0067Since this rack was donated to Free Geek it had a lot of stuff in it already, therefore the stuff needed to be removed. These pictures were taken when most of the stuff had already been removed.

Now with the rack in place and cleaned up comes the fun part! Finding stuff to put in it!!! Free Geek has a lot of stuff to choose from. IMG_0070

Mike and the big ass switch

Mike and the big ass switch

Normally the first thing I would install and get working is the power and UPS, however we are currently waiting for a UPS to come in through donation and the circuits have not been laid in yet either. Instead the first thing I’m going to do is find a nice switch to install. First on the block was a Cisco 2948G. At first glance it seemed like a great choice. Lots of ports, Gigabit ethernet, however after the password recovery and seeing that the IOS version was 6.1 and there was no way of accessing the flash memory I quickly gave up. I then tried a 10/100 Linksys switch but it had a dead console port so there was no way to configure it. Then fate it seems smiled on me. I found a super high end, low profile, sleek / sexy HP switch pictured on the right! (j/k) No don’t worry we didn’t use this blade style switch. It looks as though we’re going to have to wait for the just the right switch to come rolling in the door. That’s the beautiful thing about Free Geek, at some point what you want will just magically appear! ๐Ÿ˜€



With the search for a switch being a bust I then went on a hunt for servers. Luckily we’ve been cacheing them over the last few months, we now have many many HP Proliant DL360 G3’s and G4’s that we’re going to put into production. They’re usually dual core Xeon 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz. Also with all the extra carcasses we have plenty of spare parts such as power supplies and hard drives sleds. Yes, they are SCSI and thanks to Jeff up in build we also have a LOT of 18.2 SCSI hard drives. Thanks to all within the Free Geek crew especially the now estranged Ifny who will be missed! Coming up next will be (hopefully) switch installation and trunking to the main network as well as installing OSes and configuring services. Stay tuned!!!

2 Comments on “Free Geek Server Rack Build Part 1”

  1. 1 asmecher said at 5:27 pm on February 7th, 2010:

    Mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad props. I hope you’ll post some pics of the old “server room”, but maybe you’ll wait until this is finished to spare us some embarrassment…

  2. 2 ยป Blog Archive ยป Free Geek Server Rack Build Part 1 | Drakz Free Online Service said at 5:10 am on February 8th, 2010:

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