Are Used Racks in Higher Demand These Days?

Zarathustra[H]

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Hey all,

I am about to move. My current basement has plenty of counter space, so I never bothered to get a rack. Everything just sits on the counters.

The new house does not have this luxury, so I am starting to look around for a rack.

I have a few friends who have racks at home, one is even a very nice 24U model which came with a switch a UPS and power splitters. None of them ever paid for their racks. Their stories all sound very much the same. They came across someone who just needed the damned rack gone, and gave it to them if they were willing to haul it out of there. In fact, a few years ago I was offered a nice rack as well, for free, if I'd only get it out of their way for them, but I wound up turning it down because I didn't have a large enough vehicle to haul it away. I kind of regret this now.

Anyway, with 100% of the stories I had heard being "just get it out of my way, for free" this is what I expected when I started looking around. I've checked Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and even the [H] for Sale For Trade forums. There are very few racks listed, but when they show up, people are asking quite a lot for them, counter to what I expected.

So, what is going on here? Is the experience of myself and my friends just a strange statistical anomaly? Or have things changed? Are used racks in higher demand now than they used to be? Or are there just a lot of unrealistic people out there hoping to get more than what they have is worth?

Does anyone have any recommendations where to look?

Thanks!
 

Spartacus09

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I just sold my dell 24u enclosure for about $250 on c list.
But the larger ones often go on there for free or very cheap as businesses just get rid of them alot of the time.
The 2-24u are much more reasonably sized and higher valued.
 

Eulogy

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Look for local computer recycle type companies. A lot of business will offload old IT gear to those, which often includes racks and cabinets. I got mine for like $50 with four (unmanaged) PDUs (2x AC, 2x DC). Very nice cabinet that was in a Microsoft lab somewhere. They even threw in like 100 rack screws.
 

Dead Parrot

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Govt surplus might be an option. Could also just be a timing issue. You need one NOW. Those friends that got one for free probably didn't have a schedule for getting one and just took advantage of free when it happened.
 

Sniper|3d-R|

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Check local ads. I picked my 42u up years ago for free when Linux foundation moved buildings. Just had to haul away... Very lucky score.
 

tno

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Is there anything wrong with just winging it if you're only running a single server and a switch? I know, noob, but I just want to make sure I don't bork any components.
 

cjcox

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I don't have one anymore, but I got mine for free. Locking doors on both sides. Included some horizontal PDUs even.
 
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calebb

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About a year ago, I downsized one of our Seattle colo installations and had to dispose of 4x 45u racks (~5 years old). I had an ad on craigslist for a couple weeks ($20 each, to weed out flakey buyers). I even emailed all the local PC recyclers, offered to deliver it, etc. Nobody wanted them - in the end, I sold them for scrap. Got about $5 per rack for the scrap metal. I agree with above posters - keep an eye on CL!

 

Zarathustra[H]

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Well,

I needed one, so I decided to buy a 34U one I found on Craigslist locally.

I was able to transport it in the back of my Volvo wagon, but damn these things are REALLY heavy.

Here it is in my new garage.

IMG-20200503-WA0005.jpeg


This is not where it is staying, but I need help to get it up the single step through the door into my house.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Alright. Spent some time cleaning it up today.

It's an old "Wright Line" rack. Looks very sturdy, and has an adjustable rear post which is nice. There is a tiny bit of rust in some places but it is still serviceable.
IMG_20200513_181508.jpg

Looks like the previous owner did drywall work around this thing through, as it is covered in drywall/plaster dust. It got itself a sponge bath today. This stuff is surprisingly difficult to remove.

Here is a pic after a round of cleaning.

IMG_20200513_181518.jpg


Three sturdy sliding shelves are included which is nice. I have rail kits for my servers, so I'm not 100 % sure what I'll use them for. Maybe I'll stick my non-rackmountable APC UPS:es on them, and use another for a small monitor.

IMG_20200513_182148.jpg


Just to show how ancient this thing is, it came with a few freebies:

Like a 10/100Mbit 24 port Netgear switch and a HP DL380 G3 server.

IMG_20200513_182012.jpg


This thing is ancient. PCI-X, six 512MB sticks of DDR RAM, first gen Single core Xeon I think. It has two sockets, but only one is populated.

IMG_20200513_172203.jpg


It also came with some sort of Compaq branded shelf. I think it is an old Keyboard shelf, but I am not sure what kind of keyboard will fit in it. Must be one without the numpad.

The shelf seems stuck in the closed position, but maybe that's just because it hasn't been installed in the rack.

IMG_20200513_182949.jpg


While cleaning out the rack, I also found this gem stuck in one of the rails:

IMG_20200513_182401.jpg


Anyway. Guess I am going to have to figure out how to recycle that old server and switch. I certainly have no use for them, and I can't imagine anyone else would.
 

Ultra-m-a-n

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I am using a Compaq MX 11800, made in Germany with Cherry Mx Brown switches. I think that would fit in your keyboard shelf. You might be able to fit a Cherry G80 11900 in there as well.

Here is one of the compaq boards on Ebay

I bought mine in 2014 for $30, and has been one of my favorite keyboards to type on, it has been my work keyboard at the office, since no one wants to steal it, and it is obviously not government property.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I am using a Compaq MX 11800, made in Germany with Cherry Mx Brown switches. I think that would fit in your keyboard shelf. You might be able to fit a Cherry G80 11900 in there as well.

Here is one of the compaq boards on Ebay

I bought mine in 2014 for $30, and has been one of my favorite keyboards to type on, it has been my work keyboard at the office, since no one wants to steal it, and it is obviously not government property.

Hehe, The CDW-G Screwdriver does say Government & Education. Around here education seems way more likely.

I am literally astonished at the rate I take a walk down a new side street I haven't explored before, and I discover a new college I had never heard of...

Life in Eastern Mass.

(I should probably check whats on the drives on that server though... Hopefully I won't have to call the FBI....)
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Lack racks are awesome otherwise floor servers work just as well.
I actually just set up a Lack Rack for one of my switches. It was going in the attic to serve the top floor of the house, but it didn't feel right to just leave it on the floor, so I grabbed an old Lack I had kicking around and installed it:

1590111148673.png


The plan is for this one to serve the top floor of the house, dropping Ethernet cables down into each room as needed. There is only one set up thus far, it is my stepsons Ethernet for his desktop. (We just moved into this house, and I swear he had honest to god withdrawal symptoms from not having Internet for a few days.)

At first I was concerned the attic might get too hot, but the specs say the MikroTik switch is tested to ambient temperatures as high as 70C. That's 158F. I know attics get hot, but I can't imagine it will get THAT hot. Highest I'd imagine on a 90 degree day is probably about 130F.

The rack I bought above is going in my "server room" in the basement. That's where the main switch is.

Here is a messy, unfinished work in progress picture (seen here while troubleshooting the VLAN's on my new MikroTik switch, with my old Aruba on top):

1590112024974.png


It's a mess. None of my Ethernet cables are the right length, or at least I cant find the ones in my moving boxes that are. Once done, I'm sure it will b egreat, but right now it's an in progress hack job just to get started.

If anyone is curious, once done, my network setup will look like this:

Main Switch in Basement:
MikroTik CRS317-1G-16S+RM: It's got 16 SFP+ ports, which is total overkill. I could have gotten away with the much cheaper 8 port version, but I didn't want to be cursing later if I ran out of ports, so I decided to go one up. I only use 5 of them right now. The rest are used with cheap gig ethernet adapters just to hook up the sundry stuff in the rack. Two of the 10gig ports are used to run fiber to the other switches, one for each floor.

Floor Switches:
MikroTik CSS326-24G-2S+RM: These have two SFP+ ports and 24 copper Gig ports each. I'll readily admit that this is overkill too. I would have gone with something smaller, one SFP+ port and 8 to 12 Gig ports would have been a perfect size, but these 24G/2S switches were only $139 each, and nothing smaller/cheaper seems to exist...
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Question for you guys,

How concerned do I need to be about the OM3 fiber being interfered with by the door to the rack?

Would minimum bend radius or anything else be a problem in this scenario?

IMG_20200807_212527.jpg IMG_20200807_213415.jpg

from below:
IMG_20200807_213437.jpg
 

Spartacus09

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Definitely not preferred that looks well past the bend radius for those cables especially the first one.
If you regularly open and close the door, I highly recommend fixing, otherwise they could fail prematurely or cause odd data/connection issues.

Ideally I'd pick up something like this that will recess it back far enough the cables will fit much nicer: https://www.redco.com/Recessed-Rack-Panel-Recess-Kit-1-Pair.html
You could probably use some long bolts and block spacers from the hardware store as well to back it off an inch or two, doesn't look like you need much more space.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Definitely not preferred that looks well past the bend radius for those cables especially the first one.
If you regularly open and close the door, I highly recommend fixing, otherwise they could fail prematurely or cause odd data/connection issues.

Ideally I'd pick up something like this that will recess it back far enough the cables will fit much nicer: https://www.redco.com/Recessed-Rack-Panel-Recess-Kit-1-Pair.html
You could probably use some long bolts and block spacers from the hardware store as well to back it off an inch or two, doesn't look like you need much more space.
Appreciate the advice.

Minimum bend radius is 10mm in the specs, so these might be fine as is, but better safe than sorry...

You know, the interference is small enough that maybe I can just flip the cage nuts around to the other side and mount the switch on the inside.
 
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Kardonxt

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Stupid heavy depending on the model. I normally install a temporary shelf or old equipment to rest them on while I get them mounted.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Stupid heavy depending on the model. I normally install a temporary shelf or old equipment to rest them on while I get them mounted.
The rails weren't too bad to install. I was able to install them and then slide the units onto them.

These are SMT1500RM2U's, according to the specs over 70lb each. I believe it!
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Does anyone know what these conical centering washers that come with many rail kits are called, and where I might get more?

I lost one that came with a lot into the rack somewhere and cannot find it :(

IMG_20200916_162903.jpg
 

bman212121

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Thanks for the suggestion. I didn't get those exact ones, but I got something similar. I didn't realize they existed before.

Looks much better now!
So another thing to note is that usually the rails you mount onto are in a slot on the side of the rack. Depending upon the depth of your servers you can normally just unbolt the rails and slide the backwards into the rack an inch or so without causing an issue for server mounting.
 

bman212121

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The rails weren't too bad to install. I was able to install them and then slide the units onto them.

These are SMT1500RM2U's, according to the specs over 70lb each. I believe it!
Those are little babies....

Come back after you put a few of these boat anchors into the rack...

https://www.apc.com/shop/us/en/products/APC-Smart-UPS-5000VA-208V-Rackmount-Tower/P-SUA5000RMT5U

:p

FYI these usually require a step down unit, to convert from 208V / 240V back to 120V. (The rack model shows it) The step down units are 93lbs by themselves. At least with the UPS you should be taking the batteries out to mount them, so they aren't as bad. Looks like there is about ~110lbs of batteries for the 5000 so the unit itself is around 110lbs. Honestly I think that part was still easier to mount than the step down, it's 5U an well balanced. The step down is like 2U and it's hard to get a grip on it.

But all joking aside even trying to mount one of those 1500's with the batteries out by yourself is a challenge. I obviously never tried to mount a 5000 by myself but those usually just end up sitting in the bottom of the rack anyway. Not like they are just going to magically fly away!
 

Spartacus09

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Those are little babies....

Come back after you put a few of these boat anchors into the rack...

https://www.apc.com/shop/us/en/products/APC-Smart-UPS-5000VA-208V-Rackmount-Tower/P-SUA5000RMT5U

:p

FYI these usually require a step down unit, to convert from 208V / 240V back to 120V. (The rack model shows it) The step down units are 93lbs by themselves. At least with the UPS you should be taking the batteries out to mount them, so they aren't as bad. Looks like there is about ~110lbs of batteries for the 5000 so the unit itself is around 110lbs. Honestly I think that part was still easier to mount than the step down, it's 5U an well balanced. The step down is like 2U and it's hard to get a grip on it.

But all joking aside even trying to mount one of those 1500's with the batteries out by yourself is a challenge. I obviously never tried to mount a 5000 by myself but those usually just end up sitting in the bottom of the rack anyway. Not like they are just going to magically fly away!
Oh man that brings back memories, I used 2 dead switches to prop up the back end of one of those as we only had a 2 post rack.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Those are little babies....

Come back after you put a few of these boat anchors into the rack...

https://www.apc.com/shop/us/en/products/APC-Smart-UPS-5000VA-208V-Rackmount-Tower/P-SUA5000RMT5U

:p

FYI these usually require a step down unit, to convert from 208V / 240V back to 120V. (The rack model shows it) The step down units are 93lbs by themselves. At least with the UPS you should be taking the batteries out to mount them, so they aren't as bad. Looks like there is about ~110lbs of batteries for the 5000 so the unit itself is around 110lbs. Honestly I think that part was still easier to mount than the step down, it's 5U an well balanced. The step down is like 2U and it's hard to get a grip on it.

But all joking aside even trying to mount one of those 1500's with the batteries out by yourself is a challenge. I obviously never tried to mount a 5000 by myself but those usually just end up sitting in the bottom of the rack anyway. Not like they are just going to magically fly away!
Jesus!

I was briefly considering one of the 3000VA units, but I didn't want to have to run 240v power to the rack.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Those are little babies....

Come back after you put a few of these boat anchors into the rack...

https://www.apc.com/shop/us/en/products/APC-Smart-UPS-5000VA-208V-Rackmount-Tower/P-SUA5000RMT5U

:p

FYI these usually require a step down unit, to convert from 208V / 240V back to 120V. (The rack model shows it) The step down units are 93lbs by themselves. At least with the UPS you should be taking the batteries out to mount them, so they aren't as bad. Looks like there is about ~110lbs of batteries for the 5000 so the unit itself is around 110lbs. Honestly I think that part was still easier to mount than the step down, it's 5U an well balanced. The step down is like 2U and it's hard to get a grip on it.

But all joking aside even trying to mount one of those 1500's with the batteries out by yourself is a challenge. I obviously never tried to mount a 5000 by myself but those usually just end up sitting in the bottom of the rack anyway. Not like they are just going to magically fly away!
Oh, and I'm feeling a little silly that I didn't think of removing the battery trays before mounting... :oops:
 

bman212121

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Oh man that brings back memories, I used 2 dead switches to prop up the back end of one of those as we only had a 2 post rack.
Nice! I've put them in 2 post racks before, If I remember right I think there's a way you can move the ears on them to the center of the chassis so they kind of teeter like a seesaw on the bottom of the rack.


Jesus!

I was briefly considering one of the 3000VA units, but I didn't want to have to run 240v power to the rack.
You probably don't need that much power. I don't know what your electric rate is but even maxing out your 1500VA with about 1KW 24 / 7 will run you at least $100 a month. Not super practical to do at home and if you needed to go above that you're probably just as far ahead to start looking at a colo. Generally at home I'm more concerned with run time than overall power since there is no standby generator to kick in right away like you'd probably have with a 3000VA PSU. If anything having dual 1500VA is better because if your gear has redundant PSUs you can easily swap out batteries and what not without having to take the rack down.

The biggest annoyance you'll see at small sites is having redundant PSUs in the equipment but then putting both legs into the same battery backup. So when that unit fails the full rack goes down which would have been entirely preventable had they used two different circuits one for each leg of power. Anything you have with dual PSUs put one into unit A and the other into unit B. Just keep in mind that with Dual PSU it's basically never active / active, meaning that the load on the PSU isn't split 50% / 50% but rather 100% / 0%. So what happens is someone will think they have a 35% load on unit A, a 35% load on unit B, then they'll forget they ran out of plugs at some point and someone plugged a surge protector directly into the wall and put one leg of a few servers onto that. Then the power fails and they would have thought at most there should have only been 70% load because half the load should have been on the backup unit, when in reality most of it was going through the power strip. (Not like I'm speaking from experience or anything)

It's too late now but I probably would have bought SMXes instead of the SMTs. The only real difference is for whatever reason the SMTs don't have the extended capacity port on them. It's really nice to be able to just buy a pack that's full of batteries to increase run time like 3x for little cost. But you have to decide if it's worth it in your scenario because you are paying even more money for batteries and it will cost more to replace those batteries in the future. If you have a home generator then the difference between 5 minutes and 30 minutes isn't a big deal. If you don't then it gives you more time to power down equipment if the power doesn't come back on right away. Depends on how important it is to you if your gear goes down hard.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Nice! I've put them in 2 post racks before, If I remember right I think there's a way you can move the ears on them to the center of the chassis so they kind of teeter like a seesaw on the bottom of the rack.




You probably don't need that much power. I don't know what your electric rate is but even maxing out your 1500VA with about 1KW 24 / 7 will run you at least $100 a month. Not super practical to do at home and if you needed to go above that you're probably just as far ahead to start looking at a colo. Generally at home I'm more concerned with run time than overall power since there is no standby generator to kick in right away like you'd probably have with a 3000VA PSU. If anything having dual 1500VA is better because if your gear has redundant PSUs you can easily swap out batteries and what not without having to take the rack down.

The biggest annoyance you'll see at small sites is having redundant PSUs in the equipment but then putting both legs into the same battery backup. So when that unit fails the full rack goes down which would have been entirely preventable had they used two different circuits one for each leg of power. Anything you have with dual PSUs put one into unit A and the other into unit B. Just keep in mind that with Dual PSU it's basically never active / active, meaning that the load on the PSU isn't split 50% / 50% but rather 100% / 0%. So what happens is someone will think they have a 35% load on unit A, a 35% load on unit B, then they'll forget they ran out of plugs at some point and someone plugged a surge protector directly into the wall and put one leg of a few servers onto that. Then the power fails and they would have thought at most there should have only been 70% load because half the load should have been on the backup unit, when in reality most of it was going through the power strip. (Not like I'm speaking from experience or anything)

It's too late now but I probably would have bought SMXes instead of the SMTs. The only real difference is for whatever reason the SMTs don't have the extended capacity port on them. It's really nice to be able to just buy a pack that's full of batteries to increase run time like 3x for little cost. But you have to decide if it's worth it in your scenario because you are paying even more money for batteries and it will cost more to replace those batteries in the future. If you have a home generator then the difference between 5 minutes and 30 minutes isn't a big deal. If you don't then it gives you more time to power down equipment if the power doesn't come back on right away. Depends on how important it is to you if your gear goes down hard.

Yeah, I don't need more than ~600w for my entire rack at the wall at peak load. I was just shopping larger units, because larger units tend to come with more battery capacity and thus longer runtime.

I don't have a hardwired automatic generator. (those are rare around here)

I do have a portable gas powered one which I have never needed to use though. When the power goes out, I want the UPS:es to give me enough runtime such that I can leisurely set up my generator and run the extension cords before they run down.

With these two SMT1500RM2U units I am getting about 45minutes of runtime, which is lower than advertised for the wattage I am pulling, even after running a load calibration cycle, but who knows what junk batteries are in there. The joys of buying used on eBay :p
 

Zarathustra[H]

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\It's too late now but I probably would have bought SMXes instead of the SMTs. The only real difference is for whatever reason the SMTs don't have the extended capacity port on them. It's really nice to be able to just buy a pack that's full of batteries to increase run time like 3x for little cost. But you have to decide if it's worth it in your scenario because you are paying even more money for batteries and it will cost more to replace those batteries in the future. If you have a home generator then the difference between 5 minutes and 30 minutes isn't a big deal. If you don't then it gives you more time to power down equipment if the power doesn't come back on right away. Depends on how important it is to you if your gear goes down hard.

I did not know that was an option.

Too late now I guess. There is no way I'm shipping them back :p

At least I got a good deal on them. And 45 minutes is really good enough for my purposes.
 
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