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Server Room Help

By cryo ·
The company I work for is moving corporate offices to another building and I?ve been granted the task of refreshing the company?s infrastructure. (voice, data, the whole enchilada)

This task is new for me so I?m soliciting for help and suggestions (past the obvious stuff like cat5e cabling, dedicated HVAC systems and such).

Our server room consists of standalone servers, mostly white-boxes some Compaq and an old DG system, and I?d like to migrate (actually, install and build from scratch) a rack system. Having never worked on one I?m not exactly sure what I need to make sure I don?t overlook. I?m assuming the processor, HD space, RAM is fairly straightforward but what else do I need to make sure I cover on a rack system? Anyone have a preference in vendor (Dell, Compaq, IBM), and what?s the reason?

What about power requirement for the server room? Each duplex outlet on its own 20amp circuit or what? I was thinking quad outlets for every 10ft of wall, each on a 20amp circuit and one 220v 35amp plug for future use (possibly UPS).

Also, our network (if you can call it that) is running non-switched. What?s a good entry-level switch to use for a 75-150 node network?

How about raised floor versus wire ladders? Is it just preference or is there technical reason for going with either?

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

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Server room

by EJR In reply to Server Room Help

Hi Mike,
I was part of the design team for our computer center here. We chose IBM racks for our servers. Actually we are a compltete IBM shop. As far as power goes, decide on a rack system first and any other OPS equipment you will have and go withthe manufactures reccomendation on power and ventilation.
A good entry level switch that we use here is 3Com's 3300 series and 4300 series. They are half the price of Cisco and have had good luck with them.
Hope this helps.


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stand alone to rack

by cryo In reply to Server room

Are there any considerations I should be aware of when migrating from stand alone servers to racks?

Thanks for the info on the 3COM switches.


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by EJR In reply to stand alone to rack

Mike - When you say "rack" servers. Do you mean the new racks that use the "blade" technology?

The IBM racks we use are Netfinity racks that hold the "Netfinity" line of servers.

You may want to look into using a LAN Locker. We also have one of those that we use to house our "non Netfinity" type of servers. Compaq's, IBM clones, Alpha box etc.

Other consderations are how you are going to back up and manage them.
What type of KVM will you need? PS2 cable sets or use cat5 and IP?
Backups? Will you have a central backup unit running Veritas or Tivoli storage manager? Or will each server have thier own tape drive for back up.

All questions that should be considered while laying out the room.


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Racks and Equip

by cryo In reply to Racks

No, we don't have a need for blade servers. I have 15 servers to manage (the typical stuff, DNS, DHCP, AD, Exchange, SQL, MAS90) mostly on white boxes, one dell, one compaq, and one Intel that I built. I'm hoping to migrate them to a 42u rack and installing 1u and 2u servers (single or dual processor depending on what's running). I would like to have a central backup unit running Veritas, and dedicated UPS within the rack.

I've only priced Compaq and Dell so far and the price differences are fairly substantial. I'm going to look into IBM tonight.

I'm getting the opportunity to rebuild the network from scratch (reintall everything) so I want to make sure I get all my "i's" dotted and "t's" crossed.

I take it the benefit to using Cat5/IP KVMs is the fact you can manage it from any location rather than being tied to a 6" or 10" PS2 cable. correct?


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by EJR In reply to Racks and Equip

Sounds like you have a good plan. The 42 unit rack that you would like to house your servers is a good idea. I would narrow it down to IBM and Dell for those. Compaq is going through some growing pain with the HP merger I think. The IBM solution will be pricey, but we love the support we have with them. I'm sure Dell is comparible. IBM has a great "rack configurator" program that I used. You can lay out all the servers you will need and it will calculate all the other needs. Power, cabling, everything with part numbers. I'm not sure if it's still available. Check thier site for a download.
Yes the cat5 KVM's don't limit you to a cable length. We are looking into them now, as we are not happy with our current KVM layout.
Should be a fun project to work on....


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config prog

by cryo In reply to Racks

I downloaded Dell's configuration program and found it informative but not up to date. I'll look for IBM's. Thanks!

The project as a whole has been extremely challenging yet fun. I've had to take over responsibility for all aspects of IT (data, voice, infrastructure), and have been forced to learn quite a bit I was unfamiliar with before.

But for everything I've learned I know there's a chance of overlooking a critical aspect of the move. So I thought I'd minimize as much as possible by asking my peers here at TechRepublic.

Thanks for your help and insight!

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IBM config program

by EJR In reply to config prog

I found the IBM config program on thier site. It looks like they keep it up to date, as they have added thier "e" servers to the list.
Good luck with the project. Let me know if you have any voice and data questions....


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by teegood In reply to stand alone to rack

Standard Rack size is 19". Purchase a rack from a vendor that is not too much higher than you can reach, unless your server room has great hieght and little else. We had an IBM RS6000 at the company when I arrived and it was housed in a rack. I purchased a Rack mountable PC from IBM and it came with a kit that allowed the xSeries 342 to roll out and pop off the top, really convenient to get tools! White boxes are great but do tend to add clutter, but you can start a collection of those too inside a rack.

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Consider Telco Rack

by Brokentwig In reply to Server Room Help

About a year and a half ago we moved our whole network room about 20 feet. It was a big upgrade as well. The company I am with went with a standard Telco (telecommunications) rack system. It's a standard 19" wide and houses everthing from switches to servers. The nice thing about the telco rack system is about everthing comes with a telco rack option. The major server vendors offer a stand alone rack that fits their servers perfectly, but then you're stuck with their servers. I have everything in this rack. Compaqs, Dells, Supermicro, power strips, shelves, the works. Another nice thing about the telco rack is if you have older servers (Desktop style) you just install a shelf and set them on it. Most PCs will slide right in. Unfortunately to mount a rack mount server in a telco rack you have to get an additional part or two, but the functionality is worth it. There's about 20 cable management options for a telco rack as well. Belkin as well as many vendors sell parts for them. Good luck

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Look at APC Rack

by ttlyons In reply to Server Room Help

They are price competitive and make a good product, Also have a free rack config program. Look into a flat screen monitor, will free space in the rack. Compaq makes one that slides into the rack

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