Sunday, August 26, 2012

Servers in the closet

Well, here it is. Our "efficiency" server closet:

Our new server rack

Quite a change from our previous, spacious custom-deluxe server room.

It's not quite final in this picture. We've added another switch in the space between the chassis switch and the firewall. Cooling remains problematic. But it took a bit of work to get to this point. For one thing, the previous office tenant had a much smaller IT footprint. Here's what they left behind:

As it was

That funky wall rack had to go. It was far too deep, leaving me little room for a full rack. And I don't know whose idea the 3" conduits were - they were being held up by the friction of the cable bundles.

Electrical panels on the left wall require 36" of clear space in front, so the new rack needed to face the door. But we need room to walk behind the rack, and the closet door swings in. I did manage to find a 29" deep open rack; the servers barely squeezed in.

Looking in the ceiling I saw the cables nicely draped over a fire sprinkler pipe. That's a no-no in California. I spent a Sunday in the closet, with the help of my intrepid wife, and we cleaned it up quite a bit. Check out those guns (I do what she says):

My beautiful assistant

And here's how I left it for the electrician and the cable installer:

Ready to rumble

Unfortunately there's no room for our telephone system, so we popped it into a half-rack at our network provider's colo facility:

Phone system in the colo

US-to-MX-to-Colo-to-US VPN is up and running well. Voice clarity is excellent - both the US and Mexico IP phones sound great. We're running all voice traffic over the VPN, so quality was an up-front concern.

Cooling remains our biggest problem. The building uses a chiller plant and heat pumps. We have a one-and-a-half ton heat pump in the ceiling just for the server closet, but it has nowhere near enough capacity. We're the farthest unit from the chillers, so even a bigger heat pump is not going to help. We've been experimenting, so stay tuned and I'll tell you how we get rid of 11,000 BTU/hour from a small closet.