Node 0

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I spent a couple of hours in the loft at the weekend mounting my rack mount server (at last) and tidying up some cables. I thought this might be a good opportunity to talk a little about my ‘Node 0′.

Located in the loft I have a 12U wall mounted rack. In this rack I have a 24 way patch panel, mostly unpopulated at the moment but the intention is to provide at least two CAT5e ports in each room in the house.

Below that is a cable management panel followed by a 24-port ZyXel 2024-PWR 10/100 POE switch. This was the first switch I purchased and it has served me well, but with only 2 1Gb ports, it isn’t quite fast enough these days. I keep it in the rack to provide power-over-ethernet to the VOIP handsets located throughout the house.

Below the POE switch is my most recent purchase, a 48-way 10/100/1000 3Com (HP) Gig-E switch. This provides the majority of switching on the network and crucially allows the server to connect back to the network at gigabit speeds.

More cable management and then we find the server. This is the core of everything computer related in my home. Its a rack mounted Rackable Systems C2001 purchased from a colleague a couple of months ago. These can be picked up for a pittance on eBay but not at this spec. Mine has 14Gb of RAM, upgraded processors (2x dual-core AMD Opteron 275s) and just under 7TB of hard disk. The server runs VMWare VSphere 5 (ESXi bare metal hypervisor) with a bunch of virtual machines on it doing everything from graphing my heating system and routing my phone calls to serving up media and replicating my the IR to my SkyHD box. It has lights out management on it too.

Below the server is a shelf currently holding my LightWaveRF WiFi link (and in need of a couple more screws) and then a bunch of power sockets on a 19″ rack mounted PDU.

Node-0 is connected to the Internet wirelessly. An Apple TimeCapsule is located in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It was in the loft, but is starting to need more than the occasional reboot, so it was relocated downstairs and connected via the CAT5. This is currently connected wirelessly to an Apple AirPort Express downstairs which in turn is connected to my Virgin Media Superhub and out via a 30Mb broadband link.


About the Author

chrisChris works as an IT Security Specialist for a large FTSE 100 company. He is a geek at heart and loves nothing more than trying to automate his home. The problem is, his wife simply doesn't get it and can't understand why they can't have 'normal' lights like everyone else! Chris is dedicated therefore to implementing automation in a family friendly way.View all posts by chris →

  1. MartynMartyn03-07-2012

    Looking Good my friend , one day that be me when i get my own place :-)

  2. RobbieRobbie11-06-2012

    A man after my own heart – Need to get my act together and set mine up properly like yours :)

    P.S. – What is the power consumption of your Rack (If you don’t mind me aking?)
    P.P.S – Loving the Blog!

    • chrischris11-06-2012

      Power consumption is around 260 watts 24×7 – a bit high at the moment, but the server is dual processor with four hard drives and running vmware so I have no control over power saving. Looking to reduce that in time by moving more services to Raspberry Pi’s

      • lee harperlee harper07-11-2013

        Looks good im just thinking of putting a small server and switch in my loft, How does it cope with the heat I put a min max thermometer in mine last week and had a high of 42 which scares me a bit lol

        • chrischris07-11-2013

          Yes, it does get hot up there. The server I have has some pretty meaty (and noisy) fans because it is designed to be mounted back to back in a tall rack so needs to kick significant amounts of air through it. I hear these sometimes at night but have gotten used to it. I think in an ideal world, you wouldn’t want a server somewhere as warm, but providing the fans are up to spec or you add a few, you may be OK – I have been.

          That said, I’ve had one hard drive fail. Not sure whether this is due to a dodgy hard drive or the heat.

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