Official Red's server room thread

ToddW2

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
4,018
I wouldn't use any flammable coating on the wood, in fact I'd prime it and paint it with fire proof/retardant paint to keep fire down / minimum until it's put out.

If you didn't use any screws I'd also look into putting some in there to keep it from contracting/expanding as the temp and moisture levels change down there. This will prevent the nails from working there way out and it becoming less and less secure over time.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Hmm is regular paint flammable? I never really thought about it TBH. I'll be going to a real paint store to buy the paint (as opposed to a hardware store) so I can always ask about what is the best paint to use.
 

ToddW2

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
4,018
I`m sure that depends on what you define "normal", and since applications vary I don't think there is a "normal" paint that's one size fits all.

I'd just make sure it wasn't flammable, it probably doesn't have to be anything special... but I`m sure some additives make them flammable ??? Just something to consider, and ask someone smarter than us about :D
 

bds1904

Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
1,007
My concern isn't about the paint's flammability, it's about the chemical reactivity and resistance if you aren't using containers for the batteries.

In the US we are required to either

A: Contain the batteries in vented (to outside) containers that are resistant to the acid used in the batteries where the internal volume is greater than the fluid inside the battery + the volume displaced by the battery in it's entirety

B: Method to contain the entire liquid below the battery storage (drip tray) that exceeds the volume of fluid in the battery array by 33%. With this method all materials used must be rated for acid exposure with 0% reactivity. Ventilation is also covered for this method, but I don't know the exact details on it.

Your best option would be sealed battery boxes (think automotive) vented outside with PTFE tubing. PTFE is rated excellently for hydrochloric acid resistance.

That would solve ALL of the problems that we have all covered using the batteries that you are.

I know, this risks are very low in your case, but if you have kids is it really worth the small risk when there is a way to do it better?

You really need to use containers if you used galvanized screws (zinc coated).

Acid leaks, soaks into wood, hits screw heats up, lights on fire. The reaction also creates large amounts of hydrogen gas. Heat + Hydrogen Gas = no fun.
 
Last edited:

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Hmm never thought about that, probably best to just have containers, and some kind of drain system as a precaution. Just need to see if I can get lucky and find a container that will fit that shelf perfectly so I can put 4 batteries per shelf. Wonder if I could get some trays custom built somewhere, then each would have CPVC pipe going to a larger container that I can put in the crawlspace. There would be sensors to trigger an alarm in case of leak. The odds of leak is extremely slim considered these batteries are designed for marine applications that arn't exactly smooth sailing (no pun intended) but never hurts to be safe.

Just don't want to do like this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-D7fuY4NeY

:D
 

bds1904

Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
1,007
what are the dimensions of your batteries? You can find sealed containers for the most sizes for like $20.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Those boxes would probably work, so worse case scenario I may use those.

One thing I also need to ensure is that the shelves are 100% level. Right now they're not but think it's the floor. I'll see when I move it to it's proper location how it goes. I thought I had another day off left but I don't so I start work again tomorrow, so wont work on this project for a while. Kind of looking forward to finishing this properly because right now I have two batteries just sitting in my kitchen lol.
 

PigLover

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
1,180
I've posted on this before and you've blown it off...but you almost can;t count all the dangerous problems using wet batteries in a residential basement.

Just use sealed batteries - the kind APC uses. Car batteries or other vented wet lead-acid cells are just playing with fire. Literally.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
I'll probably switch to gel cells once I have more money as it will simplify some stuff, but I'm doing this on a budget. Been going on over a year with 2 wet batteries without much precautions other than being inside a container. While things can go wrong, the odds are slim if common sense is used. A lot of things can go wrong with a lot of things. I've seen APC UPSes catch on fire. Heck I've seen smoke detectors catch on fire. :D

Canadian Tire does sell gel cells of equivalent capacity made for long life/solar applications, those are probably the best bet for this, but they're also about $300 a pop. (1,200 total for same capacity I have now) Once these reach a point where they have to be replaced or I decide to add a -48v system to the mix, I'll probably switch to gel cells. There's also this store I buy small gel cells for cheap, but I'm talking like 7ah. They might possibly carry 100AH worth for cheap enough, I'd have to ask.

Since yeah it would be safer, no doubt about that.
 

wizdum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,943
Those boxes would probably work, so worse case scenario I may use those.

One thing I also need to ensure is that the shelves are 100% level. Right now they're not but think it's the floor. I'll see when I move it to it's proper location how it goes. I thought I had another day off left but I don't so I start work again tomorrow, so wont work on this project for a while. Kind of looking forward to finishing this properly because right now I have two batteries just sitting in my kitchen lol.
You might want to leave it un-level, so the acid can all drain to one side of the shelf if any leaks out.
 

101001101

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 8, 2013
Messages
69
Red Squirrel, I found your blog linked up in another post on here and was impressed with your SAN / NAS purchase but I don't think you updated for a while - did you get it going in the end? any pretty light pictures? :D what kind of performance are you seeing?

CSE-846A-R1200B was the model I believe you bought.

That is a monster chassis, I checked the site and they also do a 48 slot 2.5" chassis too (SuperChassis 418E16-R1K62B) so I emailed the UK office to see what kind of price they come in at.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
TBH I did not turn it up yet, I did play a bit with it but no speed testing or anything like that. I'll probably work on that once I'm done with the server room and basement. I did copy all of my data from my old server to the new raid 10 array though, took 3 days. :D Was using rsync over ssh though. Probably should have setup a NFS share. I'll definitely post more about it once it's live. I did post a pic on the 2nd page of this thread with some pretty lights though.
 

101001101

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 8, 2013
Messages
69
lol 3 days, agreed - I think NFS would have been slightly faster. What are you going to use all of this kit for? is it just a personal lab or a money making scheme? (if you don't mind me asking).

EDIT: Just to add did you not get tempted to put a FC HBA in that chassis and run iSCSI and FC initiators? (or CNA) - could be cool to run both.
 
Last edited:

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
It's mostly all personal. Movies, VMs, and stuff. Lot of code too. I like to backup stuff in rotations so lot of it is actually duplicated. With how cheap storage is, instead of deleting stuff, I just archive. When I add more servers rather than the servers have their own storage the goal is to have everything on there.

I do currently have the FC HBAs in there too and the IBM enclosure drives show up as local, which is pretty sweet as I don't need any proprietary software or anything. Works in Linux.

I've thought of going iSCSI but think I'll do mostly NFS and kerberos and treat this more as a NAS/file server than a SAN. if iSCSI initiator cards were not so expensive, I'd use iSCSI for the OS drives for all systems and have no hard drive at all in any of my machines. But those cards are almost a grand each last I checked.

I eventually want to start coding for money though, so dev/test environments will all be on these servers. I used to run an Ultima Online shard and had all the environments setup here. It amazes me the amount of people that will do work on a live system and not have a local dev/test environment setup.
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
6,161
I meant get rid of the drives alltogether and boot to iSCSI. You need special cards for that. It basically makes a target show up as a local drive and it can boot off of it.
Gotcha. Use esxi and install to a flash drive. Use iscsi to store the VMs.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Yeah for VMs I might use iSCSI, regular files, NFS. My next server project is a VM server. I have some VMs on my current server using Virtualbox but a full hypervisor would be nice. I'm thinking of using Proxmox but not sure yet.
 

101001101

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 8, 2013
Messages
69
Yeah boot from an iSCSI target - which would be your array, I don't think they are too bad price wise but maybe they are cheaper in the UK. (which would be a first if true!) I have a VMware system that boots from USB flash drive and it works really really well.

I had the (dis)pleasure of using Proxmox in my previous job (an online gaming company) - I would not recommend it - simply because there are better hypervisors out there that are easier to manage (why re-invent the wheel?); although I can understand the attraction of Proxmox with its features. I (along with some of my colleagues) found it clumsy and buggy.

You might be better with XenServer or just plain free ESXi? (but you of course lose the HA / (storage) VMotion etc (but XenServer gives you XenMotion for free, just not HA).

I quite fancy playing around with OpenStack sometime myself.

I am on the lookout for a decent Infiniband switch now, wanted a 40Gb/s switch but they are a tad expensive for home lol so might have to settle for 20Gb/s instrad and play around with Solaris 11 / Napp-it.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Hmm so Proxmox has issues? I was hoping to use it because it's open source / free. I hate to depend on commercial software as they could pull the plug or change licencing at any time and render my stuff no longer future proof. Ex: they could remove a feature or something. Also not sure if their clients would work in Linux. I don't want to have to use a VM just to manage VMs lol. I guess once the OS is setup and I put SSH/RDP then I don't go in there much.
 

wizdum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,943
Hmm so Proxmox has issues? I was hoping to use it because it's open source / free. I hate to depend on commercial software as they could pull the plug or change licencing at any time and render my stuff no longer future proof. Ex: they could remove a feature or something. Also not sure if their clients would work in Linux. I don't want to have to use a VM just to manage VMs lol. I guess once the OS is setup and I put SSH/RDP then I don't go in there much.
For what its worth, I've been running Proxmox for 2 years now, with no problems. I'm not using it for much though, just a pfsense VM and a Server 2012 VM.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
I put the battery rack in it's place... not sure if I'll keep it there or not. My goal was to put cable management on both sides of the rack, and turns out I have no room. The cable management system is about 9" wide and I have maybe 6" there. I missmeasured because there are cables going down the left wall so that removes an inch or so, the wall is also a bit crooked so I lose a few more inches there too.

So I may possibly not put the rack there and put it on the other side, and make that area the way to get behind. It's kind of tight though if I go about it that way.







The cable management systems: (just leaning against other rack, pic is kinda unclear)



There will also be 1x2 slats put horizontally at every foot or so. Will make for a place to shove extra slack. On one side it will be data, the other side it will be power, so there will be long PDUs in there too.

I still need to debate if I just don't bother with the cable management on the battery rack side or not. I don't like to put power and data together though and it will also get quite cramped in there as power cables take up more room and the PDUs will remove an inch or so. I'll probably put 3 so I can have them on different sources. (ex: UPSs/surge protectors)


I was going to paint everything separately but decided with all the mess I got going on, I want to just finish this project and the paint can be a project I do later on when things are less messy around here. I also want to caulk all the seams within the battery rack as I want to make it as sealed as I can so I can control the air flow better. There will be a door on the front going in, not sure yet what I want to do for that. Also need to figure out what I want to do for acid spill mitigation, though TBH I'm not THAT worried because I'm using these batteries in a setting that is much more forgiving than what they're designed for. Still better safe than sorry though. I might get lucky and find containers that fit exact in there then I just need to find pipe fittings that I can use as a drain within a hole that I cut. I think some toilet parts could work for that, the part that goes into the tank. Has a nut to seal it nicely so it does not leak.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
After much thought I decided I will move that battery rack over and place it after the 2nd server rack, and then build my wall flush with it, and make the space where the battery rack is now be the area to get behind the servers. It's going to be a little tight at 18" but it's a good reason to not gain weight. LOL


I just put together the first set of cable managers. I'll have to buy some bolts to put them through the server rack, which thankfully has holes already, probably to tie multiple racks together. I may tapcon this to the floor too after but depending how stable it is, I might leave it as is.





Going to be so nice to clean up that mess!
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
A bit more progress.




Added ABS pipes to run cables from back to front, if required.







Moved the battery rack over to the other side. This will allow me to make a similar cable management system on the other side. Once everything is bolted in and set, all visible wood will be painted black. Think I wont bother painting inside the battery rack.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Finally I'm off for a bit, I put a bit more work into this.




Bolted down the racks.


This is what I used. They work very well, I was skeptical as they arn't the same as the ones I used previously, but these are all I could find at HD this time.



Also built the doors for the battery rack and installed them. The back one does not open all the way since my fibre equipment is in the way, so I will need to move that later. I can just raise it higher on the wall.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
More pics!







Made the fan holes, and moved the fibre equipment as the shelf was in the way for the back door. I have 80mm fans and grilles on order so I'll install them whenever they come in.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Vents are in! (intake and exhaust) I kept procrastinating on this and it was pretty much a race against weather and the sun to get this done fast enough. I really should have done this in summer when there was more light hours and less rain. :p I'm thirsty for some cool aid for some reason.



Currently they don't go anywhere, but at least they're there and when I get to the hvac I can just hook in to them.

Did a big cleanup of junk around my basement from the renovations, and going to be prepping to put down the dricore, once that's done I can start building the server room walls. Shit's gonna get real now bro. :D
 

101001101

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 8, 2013
Messages
69
For what its worth, I've been running Proxmox for 2 years now, with no problems. I'm not using it for much though, just a pfsense VM and a Server 2012 VM.
Thats probably very low utilisation then, I was using it in a Production environment and all of us but one guy found it buggy and difficult to work with when you factor in time is money :) , I don't think there is any reason to use it now that Citrix XenServer is free with full HA / XenMotion capability, have you thought about that Red? (XenServer)

Pics look good and progress, when do you envisage having this complete? Also like you my fibre went in a couple of weeks ago and it is so nice to have fast internet access, previously I had a very very slow 4Mbps, now 30Mbps so v happy with that (unfortunately I am some way from the local exchange, but still happy with that speed in comparison to what I had before! I can also plug the fibre modem directly into my VMware server and use pfsense to manage it).
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
I considered Xenserver too. I kinda want to stick with open source and not commercial, but if Xenserver supports everything and does not have limitations like Vmware, and is stable as far as offerings go (Vmware is always changing stuff, can't depend on it) I may give that a try.

Hard to tell when I'll get this done, as lately I'm not getting as much time off as I was during the summer, so my schedule is all over the place. I'm at the point where I'm ready to put down dricore though, and following that will be the walls so it's getting closer. My ultimate goal is to be done by December. There's some more stuff I want to do like put in a sub panel and the hvac but that may wait, as I need to pay down the credit line before I start buying any more stuff. I'd say the worse is done though, and once I frame the remaining walls the rest is going to be touch ups. Some stuff I might wait till next year, like I was planing on insulating and air sealing the ceiling but I might wait till I do the hvac before doing that.

Once all is said and done I will save up so I can build a new VM server, then I can finally start checking out different solutions. My current server maxes out at 8GB and is not the best setup, it's running VirtualBox in a VNC session. Lot of that stuff is production so it's hard for me to experiment. The host also has lot of tasks like mail and stuff as it's not a fully virtualized system. What will probably happen is when I build the VM server the old server will just keep operating and I will slowly virtualize the stuff that's not.
 

wizdum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,943
Thats probably very low utilisation then, I was using it in a Production environment and all of us but one guy found it buggy and difficult to work with when you factor in time is money :) , I don't think there is any reason to use it now that Citrix XenServer is free with full HA / XenMotion capability, have you thought about that Red? (XenServer)

Pics look good and progress, when do you envisage having this complete? Also like you my fibre went in a couple of weeks ago and it is so nice to have fast internet access, previously I had a very very slow 4Mbps, now 30Mbps so v happy with that (unfortunately I am some way from the local exchange, but still happy with that speed in comparison to what I had before! I can also plug the fibre modem directly into my VMware server and use pfsense to manage it).
Yeah, I found out about XenServer being free about 2 days after I posted that. I am now happily using XenServer, and trying to get my boss to switch over to it.

I considered Xenserver too. I kinda want to stick with open source and not commercial, but if Xenserver supports everything and does not have limitations like Vmware, and is stable as far as offerings go (Vmware is always changing stuff, can't depend on it) I may give that a try.

Hard to tell when I'll get this done, as lately I'm not getting as much time off as I was during the summer, so my schedule is all over the place. I'm at the point where I'm ready to put down dricore though, and following that will be the walls so it's getting closer. My ultimate goal is to be done by December. There's some more stuff I want to do like put in a sub panel and the hvac but that may wait, as I need to pay down the credit line before I start buying any more stuff. I'd say the worse is done though, and once I frame the remaining walls the rest is going to be touch ups. Some stuff I might wait till next year, like I was planing on insulating and air sealing the ceiling but I might wait till I do the hvac before doing that.

Once all is said and done I will save up so I can build a new VM server, then I can finally start checking out different solutions. My current server maxes out at 8GB and is not the best setup, it's running VirtualBox in a VNC session. Lot of that stuff is production so it's hard for me to experiment. The host also has lot of tasks like mail and stuff as it's not a fully virtualized system. What will probably happen is when I build the VM server the old server will just keep operating and I will slowly virtualize the stuff that's not.
XenServer is open source, and there are no limits (that I have found) on the free version. I think Citrix has moved entirely to a paid support role. I don't think the Citrix XenCenter manager program is open source. There is an open source alternative: http://sourceforge.net/projects/openxenmanager/. I have yet to try it though.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
wow that's great to know about Xenserver, I did not realize it was open source. I think I'll go with that then. Is it fussy about hardware like Vmware is though? I want to be able to either build a white box server or build a supermicro server, the only drive in it will be a SSD, as the storage will be via NFS or iSCSI. (leaning towards NFS). So no controller of any kind.

I like to see that the manager software works in Linux too. I don't have any windows workstation. Only VMs, which would be kinda counter productive to use to manage... VMs. :D
 

wizdum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,943
wow that's great to know about Xenserver, I did not realize it was open source. I think I'll go with that then. Is it fussy about hardware like Vmware is though? I want to be able to either build a white box server or build a supermicro server, the only drive in it will be a SSD, as the storage will be via NFS or iSCSI. (leaning towards NFS). So no controller of any kind.

I like to see that the manager software works in Linux too. I don't have any windows workstation. Only VMs, which would be kinda counter productive to use to manage... VMs. :D
I don't have a lot of hardware to test it on, but I havn't run into any problems.
 

Jay_2

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
3,583
Xen is really good with hardware. I had it running on a Q6600, ASUS P5Q and it was fine. Its CentOS under the hood I think.

XenMotion has been free for a long time but overall it wasn't quite as feature rich as VMware. I had it running on an R200 co located for 2 years and never once needed to go to the datacenter or get remote hands.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Great to hear, I'll give it a try then when I get the funds to build a new server.

This is how my cabling looks like right now, figured I'd post a pic as it WILL get cleaned up:




The lumber on both sides was not there before, they will serve as cable management ducts. One of them will have PDUs and be for power and the other will be for data.

I like how that power outlet is just hanging there. I always meant to put a plate at least and yeah, never got around to it. :D I will be installing a bunch of outlets up in the ceiling once I put in the sub panel and do all the power stuff.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Finally a few more days off.

Some progress:


framing in the server room nearly complete!



Going to add a door for the crawlspace



Like a glove... and I did not even plan to put the file cabinet there!


overkill concrete anchors

Have a bit of odd and ends left to do tomorrow, ran out of 2x4's. I'm almost at a point where I'm ready to start painting. I also have a door in my garage that I'll be installing for the server room entrance. It's an outside door, so it will have decent sound proofing.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Hmm that's odd. all of them or just the recent ones? I just got a new camera, and I've been making them a bit bigger.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Did a bit of work today.



Vapor barrier + wood added. This will all be painted, probably black.



This will be closed in with plywood, probably use it for various controls and stuff, as well as voltage display and stuff of that sort. Maybe even put a bunch of buttons that don't actually do anything, just for fun. :D
 
Top