Rack mounted servers take up a lot of room when flat in a traditional rack. The alternative? Wall Mount!
Looking around for wall mounted rack enclosures, there very few available commercially. For lightweight equipment, you can get wall mounts that hang equipment vertically. E.g. for example Rack Solutions make ones for up to 3U with 105lb / 48kg load bearing. This would pushing it for up to 3 x DL360 servers. I also was’t convinced on the merits of hanging servers by the ears that weight ~17Kg each. It also makes plugging in cables underneath not so easy. They are really meant for lightweight patch panels and switches.
There are also other wall mount solutions that can be mounted horizontally or vertically, e.g. again from Rack Solutions, they make 1U or 2U wall mount enclosures that would have done the job, however, you need the rails to mount the servers and I don’t have the rails, and also quite expensive – the 2U is $190!. These particular ones only go to 2U also and I wanted 3U to allow for expansion, although I am sure with a bit more searching I could have found 3U alternatives.
Wall mounting the servers horizontally seemed the way to go, so it was DIY time. A few photos below of what I ended up with. Read on below the gallery for more details of the installation.
Wall mounted DL360 and Cisco Switch
Wall mounted lab
Side view of whole lab
Rear view showing 1U gap
Microserver and monitor
Cisco with side mounted ears
AV600 Powerline uplink
Extra slots in trunking
10-way surge protected PDU
Two screws used at the bottom
So after limping along running copious VMs on my PC under VMware Workstation with overflow going on a Mk1 MicroServer, finally took the plunge to get a proper home lab. eBay can be your friend here… and enemy! Thought I had bagged a bargain on some DL360 G6 servers only to turn up for collection and find they were G4’s. Next attempt was with a Dell C6100. Now this is a proper piece of kit – 4 nodes in a 2U chassis for some serious home labbery!… except it didn’t turn out that way. It seems Dell have a Datacentre Solutions (DCS) arm that made the C6100 before it went on general release. You could go to Dell DCS and spec whatever you wanted, so the Dell C6100 I bought was a Dell DCS one and inside barely resembled the standard offering and meant I couldn’t get any drivers, firmware from the Dell web site. The hot plug nodes weren’t hot plug, the fans were badly arranged for cooling and the RAM was asymmetric between the two processors – 6 slots for proc 1 and 3 for proc 2??? Its still a good bit of kit though – if you are interested in the C6100, check out the monster thread on the ServeTheHome forums. Anyway – that went back and at 3rd attempt picked up a couple of nice DL360 G6 servers. So inventory for home lab is now as follows:
The DL360 G6 have 2 x L5520 (2.2GHz Quad Core), and I am bumping up the RAM so will end up with 36Gb in one and 24Gb in the other (due to modules I had and have picked up). 2 x 72Gb 15k 6G SAS in each and one with 512Mb BBWC and the 256Mb. Picking up a couple of extra dual-port cards so will end up with 4 ports each (plus the iLO).
So all in all a nice setup! The G6’s were spotless, and the guys I got them from (Pinnacle Data via their eBay shop) did a great refurb job – even the fan blades were spotless. Now to update all the firmware. Going Microsoft to make a change – so 2012R2 will be starting point. more blog posts as I get it up and running!