HomeLab: Time to start racking.

For a while I wondered if this day would ever come, but it finally did and today it’s time to start racking…


With stacks of rack screws & nuts, a room full of servers/switches and plenty of rails, I was determined to have everything racked up in one day; yes I mean in the rack, obviously not all wired up and running… that’s another project in itself!


As common sense would suggest I intended to start at the bottom and work my way up. Start with the heaviest stuff!


Time to start racking.


UPS Racking


Over time, the plans for my ups config has changed, initially I had intended on using 3 x APC SURT3000XLI, 1 with a battery pack attached. However that’s a 12U footprint… I had the space originally so it wasn’t an issue.

As I spent more time thinking about it, it dawned on me that my initial rack diagram had overlooked a few servers and I had to cut some items out of the mix but more on that later.

However, as luck would have it I had another successful auction win and picked myself up 2 x Liebert Gxt3 3000va Ups’s along with a few other goodies for well under the going rate and they all work perfectly!


Plan change #1…


So now I have 3 x 2U Liebert and 3 APC 3U (+ 1 1U external battery pack). I’ve decided to run the rack infrastructure off the 2 x Liebert units and discuss with my electrician friend the plan of being able to run the rooms aircon + ventilation off the APC unit (+ battery pack).

The intention would be to not have it running off the UPS Permanently but have a manual bypass (remotely managed if possible). As this is another project for Ron (later Ron for those who don’t know what I mean), the best idea would be to just rack it now and forget about it for a bit…

Until I realised the APC UPS rails used a smaller thread bolt than your typical rail hardware,  one that I can’t find in any of my random bolt collections… This is new to me, very rarely am I unable to find what the need in one of my random piles.

So after throwing a few hours down the drain hunting for bolts, I decided to deal with the UPS racking later…

Having feeling very unaccomplished I decided I should just do something that would feed my sense of satisfaction, let’s proceed to the easy stuff.


Racking Servers


6 sets of rails in hand & it was off to the Server Room!

A few moments later…

Okay, it was more like half an hour, dealing with these old captive nuts is a pain.

On the plus side, now all the rails were installed and ready for the Servers to find their new home.


Time to start racking - Dell Rapid rails installed in Server rack

In true fashion, racking the servers finished as quickly as it started. Not a minute after taking this photo the rain set in… And quite heavy at that, for those who don’t understand why this is an issue, my server room is outside. A purpose built room to not take away from the overall design of a ‘typical’ house, as when I sell it I can just gut the room and its a store room!

However, it’s currently uncovered between my back door and the Server Room door, my patio application is currently waiting council approval so until I have the patio built the server room will stay dormant  – /sadreactsonly.

I know a bit of rain won’t kill anything but I’d prefer to play it safe and just not test my luck, so I moved onto what was already in the Server Room.


Racking Network hardware

More and more replacing junk rack nuts then it was time to load in the hardware;

Dell 5424 – DMZ Switch.

Quanta LB4M – Management / Slow traffic.

Ubiquiti US16-XG – For all things fast.

Time to start racking - Switches installed in the Server Rack


Wow, that was fun. /yawn.

The rain started to slow down so I was getting excited thinking I’d be able to rack the R610’s & call it a slightly successful day… However that was not to be. Stopped playing nerd for a while and went back to playing Daddy.

A few minutes turned to a few hours & next thing I new it was 9pm and rain had returned; The only option left was to throw in one last thing and call it a night – Atleast for the Server Room racking.


Racking tape library


For those who care about backups, the trusty tape library is now racked &  ready to constantly demand cleaning. Also took a moment to dust off the cable management and threw those in too.


Time to start racking - IBM tape library installed in server rack


Up next

Still a metric shitton to do…  I spent the rest of the night configuring the new main gw(OPNSense) and also the DMZ gw(vyOS) ready for racking.


Then it’s just everything else still, a long long way to go but I’m a patient man so it’s alright.

Have a few decisions to be made regarding the NAS,  as I’ve recently purchased an okay all-flash server.  I now need to decide on what the best approach is for this, another later blog…

Posted by Brendan

An IT system Administrator from Australia, technology guru and Automotive enthusiast/wanna be mechanic.

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Anthony Cress

that is really nice. I wish i had enough room to do something like this. Instead my rack is in my basement in the utility room.