home rack rebuild plan

home rack rebuild plan

May 30, 2021

what’s the problem? #

My virtualization lab, networking gear, NAS and AV backbone is an absolute mess. The current 12u server rack is full, the 6u network rack has stuff sitting not just in it but on top of it, and it’s all a real mess down there. Lots of wasted space, awkward network and power runs, and poor use of the large mesh storage shelves in that area. I’d like to store other stuff in that space, and sitting the 6u rack unit on top of wire mesh shelves with printer/AV equipment underneath just doesn’t work.

The space is an unfinished portion of the basement that used to house our washer and dryer. Since we moved them up into the second floor laundry closet earlier this year, I’ve got a bunch of extra floor space to properly rearrange the equipment. That area is a great storage spot, with easy outdoor access, so maximizing shelf space is a priority. Getting all equipment into a rack or onto a permanent shelf, and keeping the shelves as accessible as possible are my two guiding principles.

You can see in the original floorplan drawing how awkward the layout is.

Figure 1: A rough outline of the original floorplan

Figure 1: A rough outline of the original floorplan

failed solutions #

42u or bust #

My first thought was to collapse it all down into one large rack. A 42u rack would fit everything that I have, with room to grow. This has some great benefits around easier power and network runs (running within a single rack is way easier than cleanly running outside).

Unfortunately, a 42u rack needs 78" (well, more precisely it needs 72.1875" plus whatever is required for the rack’s structure) of vertical clearance. From poured slab to first floor joist, I’ve got 79", but plumbing runs more than an inch below anywhere that I’d like to actually stick this rack. I could stick a 42u rack in another portion of the basement, but that would be less than ideal (suddenly, I’m solving the sliding tile puzzle of emptying another portion out before I can even start. No way). So we’ll have to go shorter.

square pegs in round holes #

Not all of the equipment that I have is really rack mountable. The printer and PS5 are really not workable in a rack mount; the printer would take up way too much space, and need a pull out shelf to be useful. The PS5 just doesn’t fit right in a rack (or anywhere, really). The Xbox One X could rack mount pretty cleanly in a 2u shelf, but since I need to keep a separate AV shelf anyway, let’s keep the PS5 and Xbox One X together, alongside the printer. I’ll lose one shelf on my mesh shelves, but such is life. The wire shelf unit can stay where it is, and dedicate one shelf to printer + consoles. A single Ubiquiti switch lite 16 PoE will deal with networking, and I’ll run two HDMI 2.0 cables along the ceiling to the HDMI matrix.

have less computer stuff #


solution #

Add a 25u rack, positioned immediately to the left when walking into the raised basement area. Put the 12u rack, currently floating in front of three shelving units and blocking access, to the right of the 25u rack. The 8 shelf metal wire shelving unit currently on the opposite side of the basement can go against the wall next to the outside door. The two existing metal shelves can stay in place, and the white cube units can also stay where they are for now. All will be accessible again once the rack units are out of the way.

So the new floor plan will be something like:

Figure 2: So much room for activities!

Figure 2: So much room for activities!

what’s in the rack? #

Both of these racks have variable depth, which is useful if I ever want to lose my mind and mount units to the front and back. I’ll plan to set them to their shallowest setting, since all of my equipment fits in that. They’re both open topped, but once they’re in place I’ll likely cut down some plywood to make the tops work surfaces.

r1 - 25u rack #

r1 is a StarTech 25U Open Frame Server Rack

Drawn out, it should look like:

Figure 3: 25u Rack, r1

Figure 3: 25u Rack, r1

And in table form with links:

Rack unitContents
25E1, Startech 8 outlet 1u PDU
24hdmi.iot., HDMI Matrix
23Basement Rack 8 (UB US-8-150w), vesta.internal. (RPi 4, with this case)
22P1, Cable Matters 24 port keystone patch panel
21Basement Rack 24, UB USW-Pro-24
20P2, Cable Matters 24 port keystone patch panel
19Core, UB US-16-XG
18UDM, UDM Pro
17cerberus.internal., Mac Mini, 2011,
15Intel NUC (Proxmox02), Apple TV HD, Hue Bridge
14E2, CyberPower 12 Outlet Surge Protector
122U Rack Drawer
9X32 Rack
54U Rack Drawer

r2 - 12u rack #

r2 is a StarTech 12U Open Frame Server Rack.

A quick sketch of the unit once filled:

Figure 4: 12u Rack, r2

Figure 4: 12u Rack, r2

And in table form with links:

Rack unitContents
12E3, CyberPower 12 Outlet Surge Protector
11P3, Cable Matters 24 port keystone patch panel
92U Rack Drawer

pdu mapping #

I don’t have rack mountable UPS’s yet, which is a bit of a bummer. The tower models that I’ve got will have to do; upstream of e1+e2 will be one Cyberpower tower UPS, and upstream of e3 will be the second.

e1 - PDU at r1.25 #

e1 has 8 rear facing plugs.

nameplug 1plug 2plug 3plug 4plug 5plug 6plug 7plug 8
e1matrix, r1.24UB 8, r1.23RPi, r1.23UB 24, r1.21UB Core, r1.19UDM, r1.18Cerberus, r1.17(empty)

e2 - PDU at r1.14 #

e2 has only 6 rear facing plugs. I have this PDU already, and the 6 externally facing plugs might be useful for one off/quick plugins.

nameplug 1plug 2plug 3plug 4plug 5plug 6
e2Proxmox02, r1.15Apple TV, r1.15Hue, r1.15X32, r1.9Proxmox03, r1.1(empty)

e3 - PDU at r2.12 #

e3 is identical to e2, and again benefits from me already owning it.

nameplug 1plug 2plug 3plug 4plug 5plug 6
e3Janus, r2.1Proxmox01, r2.5(empty)(empty)(empty)(empty)

patch panel mapping #

I really like these keystone patch panels. I made the mistake of punching down the patch panel in my current 6u network rack; it was a tremendous waste of time, and the second I wanted to change something I regretted the configuration. Cat6 keystones are definitely the way to go.

p1 - patch panel at r1.22 #

port numberin (behind)out (front)
11st Floor Switch (out of rack)UB 8 port 1
2Basement AP (out of rack)UB 8 port 2
3Octoprint RPi server (out of rack)UB 8 port 3
4Matrix r1.25UB 24 port 3
5Rpi loop p1.24UB 24 port 4
6Mac Mini r1.17UB 24 port 5
7Hue, r1.15UB 24 port 6
8Proxmox02, r1.15UB 24 port 7
9Apple TV, r1.15UB 24 port 8
10X32, r1.9UB 24 port 9
11X32, r1.9UB 24 port 10
12X32, r1.9UB 24 port 11
13Proxmox03, r1.1UB 24 port 12
14Proxmox01, r2.11, p3.8UB 24 port 13
15Janus, r2.11, p3.2UB 24 port 14
16Basement SwitchUB 24 port 15
17AV Switch (out of rack)UB 24 port 16
24Rpi loop p1.5RPi, r1.23

p2 - patch panel at r1.20 #

port numberin (behind)out (front)
1Proxmox03, p1.1Core port 1
2Proxmox03, p1.1Core port 3
3Proxmox01, p2.11, p3.10Core port 4
4Proxmox01, p2.11, p3.12Core port 5
5Janus, r2.11, p3.4Core port 6
6Janus, r2.11, p3.6Core port 7
24WAN, Verizon ONT (out of rack)UDM WAN port, r1.18

p3 - patch panel at r2.11 #

port numberin (behind)out (front)
1Janus.1g, p2.1Loop to p3.2
2r1.22, p1.15Loop to p3.1
3Janus.10g1, p2.1Loop to p3.4
4r1.20, p2.5Loop to p3.3
5Janus.10g2, p2.1Loop to p3.6
6r1.20, p2.6Loop to p3.5
7Proxmox01.1g, p2.5Loop to p3.8
8r1.22, p1.14Loop to 3.7
9Proxmox01.10g1, p2.5Loop to 3.10
10r1.20, p2.3Loop to 3.9
11Proxmox01.10g2, p2.5Loop to 3.12
12r1.20, p2.4Loop to 3.11

switch mapping #

Three primary switches in this rack. us-8-150w deals with all things PoE. usw-pro-24 acts as the primary 1gig switch, and us-16-xg sits in as the core 10gig switch.

us-8-150w #

1r1.22, p1.1 frontLANPoE
2r1.22, p1.2 frontLANPoE
3r1.22, p1.3 frontLANPoE
sfp1r1.21 port 1trunkSFP to RJ45, LAG sfp2
sfp2r1.21 port 2trunkSFP to RJ45, LAG sfp1

usw-pro-24 #

1r1.23 port sfp1trunkLAG port 2
2r1.23 port sfp2trunkLAG port 1
3r1.22 p1.4IoT
4r1.22 p1.5LAN
5r1.22 p1.6LAN
6r1.22 p1.7LAN
7r1.22 p1.8LAN
8r1.22 p1.9LAN
9r1.22 p1.10LANcontrol for X32
10r1.22 p1.11dantex-dante card
11r1.22 p1.12dantex-dante card
12r1.22 p1.13LAN
13r1.22 p1.14LAN
14r1.22 p1.15LAN
15r1.22 p1.16trunkdownstream to office
16r1.22 p1.17LANdownstream to AV shelf
sfp+1r1.19 port 11trunkDAC, LAG with sfp+2
sfp+2r1.19 port 12trunkDAC, LAG with sfp+1

us-16-xg #

1r1.20, p2.1labSFP+ to RJ45
2Attic sfp, out of racktrunkSFP
3r1.20 p2.2labSFP+ to RJ45
4r1.20 p2.3labSFP+ to RJ45
5r1.20 p2.4labSFP+ to RJ45
6r1.20 p2.5LANSFP+ to RJ45 (LAN NAS service)
7r1.20 p2.6labSFP+ to RJ45
8r1.18 UDM pro SFP+ LANtrunkDAC, STP blocked
11r1.21, port sfp+1trunkDAC, LAG with 12
12r1.21, port sfp+2trunkDAC, LAG with 11
16r1.18 UDM pro RJ45 LANtrunkRedundant with port 8

hdmi matrix mapping #

I love this lunatic device. Being able to reprogram display flows is so much fun, and the flexibility to easily share any device remotely with folks via the matrix/Atem Mini Extreme combo is down right magical.

Input mapping is mostly reliant on out of rack cables. The Apple TV and Proxmox01 (windows 10 gaming VM with passthrough GPU) inputs are both in rack, and the consoles will both need slightly longer cables since the matrix is moving off of the shelf that they currently live in. The rest is in my big desk HDMI bundle, coming in through the ceiling.

HDMI 1Desktop, nvidia 1070 HDMI out1080p HD Audio 7.1
HDMI 2m1 MacMini HDMI out1080p HD Audio 7.1
HDMI 3Desk HDMI cable1080p HD Audio 7.1
HDMI 4Proxmox01 RX580 hdmi out (win01 vm)1080p HD Audio 7.1
HDMI 5PS5COPY_FROM_OUT_1 (4k60,444)
HDMI 6XboxOneXCOPY_FROM_OUT_1 (4k60, 444)
HDMI 7Apple TV1080p HD Audio 7.1
HDMI 8Atem Mini Extreme Output 11080p HD Audio 7.1

Output mapping is entirely out of rack at the moment. I’ll move my HDMI bundle over pretty much unchanged.

portconnectionscaler mode
Output 1Desk Dell UltrasharpBypass
Output 2Desk AOC MonitorAuto
Output 3Camera Mount Feelworld 4kAuto
Output 4(empty)(empty)
Output 5Atem Mini Extreme input 5AUTO
Output 6Atem Mini Extreme input 6AUTO
Output 7(empty)(empty)
Output 8(empty)(empty)

Loopout HDMI port mapping:

loop 1Desktop(empty)
loop 2MacMini(empty)
loop 3Desk HDMI cableAtem Mini Extreme input 7
loop 4Win01(empty)
loop 5PS5(empty)
loop 6Xbone(empty)
loop 7Apple TVAtem Mini Extreme input 8
loop 8AtemOut(empty)

Courtesy of the analog audio outputs, I can get audio flows into the Behringer and onto the Dante network. This lets me reprogam audio even more dynamically than video, sending buses anywhere I need along the Dante network. So here we’ll have two 3.5mm to dual 1/4 inch cables running down from the matrix into the X32 rack.

Analog audio output mapping from the matrix:

portoutput deviceconnection
aux 1Desk Dell Ultrasharpx32 Aux 1 + 2 (3.5mm to dual 1/4 inch)
aux 2Desk AOC Monitorx32 Aux 3 + 4 (3.5mm to dual 1/4 inch)
aux 3Feelworld(empty)
aux 4(empty)(empty)
aux 5Atem Input 5(empty)
aux 6Atem Input 6(empty)
aux 7(empty)(empty)
aux 8(empty)(empty)

what’s next? #

I think that’s the plan. It doesn’t rely on me adding a whole bunch of new equipment (the only new stuff is the 25u rack, one more patch panel and a third PDU), and it should have some space for me to rearrange things and expand (the drawers can come out in the future, the fractal design case can be collapsed down into 2u)

If I’ve totally whiffed on something, let me know! If all goes well, I should be able to make the switch next weekend. I’ll document the process, and hopefully when next I write, it will be with a newly reorganized home rack!