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Rack em up.

By November 5, 2021November 18th, 2021No Comments

Introduction

I have a few pieces of enterprise gear for my home network. I have my server, a few 10/40G POE switches, and some other odds and ends. So far, its been stacked on boxes and buckets inside of my spare bedroom’s closet.

So, over the last two weeks, I started a project to clean everything up a little bit.

Before Pictures

As you can see in the picture…. its a bit of a mess. My switch on the left is sitting on a cardboard box. My server lives on top of a 5gal home depot bucket…. and everything else is just “in there”.

After Pictures

Parts/Links Used in this article

Note- Links goto the respective sites where I purchased these items.

  1. Startech.com 25U Open Frame Rack
  2. 48 port patch panel (FRONT, TOP Patch Panel)
    1. CAT6 Keystone Jacks
    2. 6in Patch Cables. Green & Black
  3. 24 Port Patch Panel (REAR, TOP, incoming connections connect here)
    1. CAT6 Keystone Jacks
  4. 3ft CAT6a THIN cables – connect rear patch panel to front patch panel
  5. Extra Cage Nuts
  6. 2x Brocade ICX6610 Switches – 2x40G QSFP+ ports, 16x 10G SFP+ ports, 48x 1G POE ports.
  7. Wiring loop shelf.
  8. HP Z240 – (OPnSense Firewall, 1G WAN, 2x 10G LAN)
  9. Homemade 2.4Kwh UPS
  10. APC 1500VA UPS. Buffers power while the big inverter fails over. Also- triggers my servers to shutdown after it has been on battery power > 15 seconds.
  11. Dell R720XD – 24c/48t, 128G RAM, 10x8TB Drives + 2x1TB 970 evo + 2x500G 970 evo + 2x 2.5″ 1TB + 40G NIC
  12. 2x APC AP9562 – One for each PSU in multi-PSU devices.

More Detail

Removing Spike strips

So, the first goal, was to pull everything out of the closet, and remove the left-over spike strip from whenever this closet had carpet once upon a time.

As you can see in the below image, spike strip was around the entire perimeter. It could… be bad if a power cord got pinched on top of this. So- the tools required for this job- Just a simple hammer and pry-bar.

After a bunch of beating and prying spike strip, Half way there…..

And… done. Used the trusty shop-vac to clean up all of the remaining dust, fragments, etc.

Populating the rack

So, after the closet was cleaned up, my first goal was to move my 2.4Kwh UPS into the closet. If you have interest in building your own portable 2.4Kwh (or bigger) UPS, feel free to click that link. So far, it has worked fantastically, without issues.

And, knock on wood, it fit into this space perfectly. The smaller UPS is used for a few smaller devices not mounted on my rack.

Finished!

And, next, through the magic of…. editing, here is the final photo of the rack already populated.

From Top to bottom:

  1. Startech.com 25U Open Frame Rack
    1. 48 port patch panel (FRONT, TOP Patch Panel)
      1. CAT6 Keystone Jacks
      2. 6in Patch Cables. Green & Black
    2. 24 Port Patch Panel (REAR, TOP, incoming connections connect here)
      1. CAT6 Keystone Jacks
    3. 3ft CAT6a THIN cables – connect rear patch panel to front patch panel
    4. 2x Brocade ICX6610 Switches – 2x40G QSFP+ ports, 16x 10G SFP+ ports, 48x 1G POE ports.
    5. Wiring loop shelf.
    6. HP Z240 – (OPnSense Firewall, 1G WAN, 2x 10G LAN)
    7. APC 1500VA UPS. Buffers power while the big inverter fails over. Also- triggers my servers to shutdown after it has been on battery power > 15 seconds.
    8. Dell R720XD – 24c/48t, 128G RAM, 10x8TB Drives + 2x1TB 970 evo + 2x500G 970 evo + 2x 2.5″ 1TB + 40G NIC
    9. 2x APC AP9562 – One for each PSU in multi-PSU devices.
      1. Note- the 2nd unit arrived and was installed after these images were taken. It sits right under the server.

And- when I need to “hide” the rack… it fits nicely into the closet!

FAQs / Comments

Q: Why are you using two separate patch panels?

A: Due to how my rack slides in/out of the closet, the cables come into the rear of my rack. To allow me to pull the rack OUT of the closet to perform maintenance, I wanted the cables coming in at the rear to give plenty of space.

Q: Will it get too hot in the closet?

A: Absolutely. The door will remain open, until a proper ventilation system is created.

Q: Will the “THIN” patch cables work for POE / 10G ?

A: I was curious myself. Turns out, none of my POE devices are having issues, and all of the 10G links are working without issue and no packet errors are reported on the switches.


A note- My expectations for the startech rack were not very high, as it was pretty cheap. I was half-way expecting to receive a flimsy rack, not suitable for my heavy servers. I was pleasantly surprised, the build quality is actually…. pretty nice. The parts are thick and solid.

Future Ideas / Projects

  1. Cleanup some of the CAT6 in the closet. I have drops coming from both the floor, and ceiling. It would be nice to make this a bit… neater. Its a mess still.
  2. Apply SOME form of flooring to the closet. The old plywood is not easy on the eyes.
  3. It would be nice to have rails on the floor, to allow the rack to slide into and out of the closet with ease, every time.

Disclaimers

A random note- you are viewing this website from the server in the bottom of that rack.

This is not a sponsored post. There was no financial incentive behind ANY of the products used in this article.

Affiliate links are present, however, they do not at all affect your pricing in any way.

Disclaimer- Amazon affiliate links are used in this article. For this site, I choose to not pesture my audience with annoying advertisements, and instead, only rely on affiliate links to support this hobby. By using the affiliate link, you will pay the same price on Amazon, as you would otherwise pay, however, a small percentage will be given to me.. To note- I DID buy all of the seen products with my own money, and did not receive any incentive to feature or utilize them.

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