Planning an infrastructure upgrade is a great way to make sure that it is a net benefit that helps the business.
After moving into the new offices, we are re-designing our network and wanted to share some of the process involved for considerations of a server rack.
Here are some of the essential considerations to begin thinking about in terms of most important to immediate operations:
Selecting a location that has good accessibility is essential.
It is kind of like "head, shoulders, knees and toes," except for the server rack. You need to be able to touch every part of the cabinet after it has been installed and provisioned. Additionally, if you are building or assembling your cabinet, make considerations for network and company growth. Inevitably, you will need access to the back of the cabinet. Moving a fully loaded or bolted down cabinet is not happening — plan for this in advance.
At a minimum there should be:
The servers, unlike you, do not like the warm weather at the beach. They need active room cooling with Air Conditioners to maintain peak operation in most climates.
Devices in the server room, like A/C fans, lights, door locks, thermostats, and data loggers, all need power - not to mention the server cabinet itself. A thorough evaluation of each devices' power needs is required to determine proper power strip/power distribution unit (PDU) specifications.
The server needs to be up and ready to address customer needs 100% of the time to be effective. Any loss of power could jeopardize the insertion of a SQL data record, for example, and cause loss to the data table or worse. To combat this, an uninterrupted power supply that is above the rating of the nominal usage of the devices connected provides adequate coverage in the event of a power outage. However, what happens if the power outage is from the power supply itself? Redundant power supplies exist for this purpose, more importantly, to keep the machine running at all times.
For all our systems, we have a separate ground fault protected UPS, with battery backup, for each redundant power supplies for each server (A/B), and network connection.
The backbone of the internet is the network connection. For each machine to have a reliable connection: it needs to be robust and dependable. We use CAT6 terminated in managed switches that is custom made for each connection so that the correct lengths can be used. Less cabling hanging to have to bundle into the cases.
Drawing the server rack in a diagram tool like lucid charts or Visio is useful for determining where things will go before bolting them down.
See the example below illustrating that heavy UPS should be installed at the bottom, while other devices like PDU (mid/top), and switches (top) should be placed in strategic places for cable management and air flow.
For some examples of great server room architecture, take a look at some of the videos from Custodian Data Centers and Linus Tech Tips.
If you have any questions about our progress, servers, DevOps, or IT in general please contact us or leave a comment below.