My new computer room

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jan-jaap
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jan-jaap » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:24 am

jpstewart wrote:
jan-jaap wrote:Now if only I could shut up that bloody Silkworm, it is absolutely intolerable....

What model of Silkworm? I recently acquired a pair of 32-port Silkworm 4100s (well, actually, the IBM-badged equivalent) that are intolerably noisy for about 2 minutes after powering them on. Then once their embedded operating system has booted (and the fans are under control of the environmental monitoring software) they quiet down to a much more reasonable level. Maybe a newer Silkworm (or even a firmware update for yours) would help your situation?

I'm happy to report that the HP SANswitch 2-16 (a.k.a. Silkworm 3800) has been replaced with a shiny new^H^H^H second hand EMC DS-5000B (a.k.a. Brocade 5000). The 5000 is the successor to the 4100. It's also noisy at start-up (though less than the 3800), and then settles down. It's still an 1U unit and those fans still run at ~ 7500RPM, but it's much much more agreeable.

Strangely, the airflow is back-to-front. Ideally I should mount it in the back of the rack, but that's not very convenient. Think I'll ignore that for now.

As a side effect of this noise canceling effort I now have 32*4Gb connectivity instead of 16*2Gb :D Took me a while to find one with 32 (licensed!) ports for an acceptable price, and on the right continent. As a bonus, it also come with Extended Fabric, Fabric Watch, Performance Monitor and Trunking licenses. That should keep me busy for a while 8-)
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby vishnu » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:16 pm

What kind of storage are you going to feed with that beast? :shock:
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jpstewart » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:08 am

jan-jaap wrote:Strangely, the airflow is back-to-front. Ideally I should mount it in the back of the rack, but that's not very convenient.

That seems to be somewhat common on switches. I guess in a data centre environment it makes sense to mount the switch at the back of the rack. Putting the switch ports at the back where the servers' ports are can simplify cabling --- no need to pull cables through to the front of the rack. I'll have to check the airflow on my 4100s now. I never thought about that until you mentioned it.

jan-japp wrote:As a bonus, it also come with Extended Fabric, Fabric Watch, Performance Monitor and Trunking licenses. That should keep me busy for a while 8-)

Congratulations on a nice score! Those licenses cost a fortune on their own. Have fun with it. :D
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jan-jaap » Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:45 pm

vishnu wrote:What kind of storage are you going to feed with that beast? :shock:

Uhm, I've got an IBM DS4300 SAN server (with an extra EXP710 disk tray) and an SGI TP9100 JBOD. Both have dual 2Gb attachments.

I'm gradually upgrading my infrastructure to 4Gb. Several of my SGIs have dual 4Gb cards already. I don't expect to upgrade to 'real' 4Gb FC SAN hardware anytime soon. All disks are 2Gb as well, for example so I'd have to throw out everything. A more likely upgrade path would be that my next file server will run an FC adapter in target mode. With a half decent RAID adapter and SSD caching that should be plenty fast. And I wouldn't need 28 spindles to get 8TB of storage capacity ;)
jpstewart wrote:
jan-jaap wrote:Strangely, the airflow is back-to-front. Ideally I should mount it in the back of the rack, but that's not very convenient.

That seems to be somewhat common on switches. I guess in a data centre environment it makes sense to mount the switch at the back of the rack. Putting the switch ports at the back where the servers' ports are can simplify cabling --- no need to pull cables through to the front of the rack. I'll have to check the airflow on my 4100s now. I never thought about that until you mentioned it.


There's another possibility: the only place where this thing generates any significant amount of heat, is the cluster of GBICs at the front. Airflow front to back would draw the hot air through the chassis. Back to front probably results in lower chassis temperature.
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby vishnu » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:08 pm

jan-jaap wrote:
vishnu wrote:What kind of storage are you going to feed with that beast? :shock:

Uhm, I've got an IBM DS4300 SAN server (with an extra EXP710 disk tray) and an SGI TP9100 JBOD. Both have dual 2Gb attachments.

And your main usage of that enterprise-class storage is for photos of the wife and kids, right? :mrgreen:
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jan-jaap » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:58 am

vishnu wrote:And your main usage of that enterprise-class storage is for photos of the wife and kids, right? :mrgreen:

When I got the DS4300 it had no disks, so I only had the controllers to mess with. I quickly figured out that they run vxWorks. I deal with vxWorks professionally more or less on a daily basis so that got my full attention. Now I have all the optional licensed features like flash copy, volume copy, FC/SATA mix etc etc. 8)

Up until this moment this thing was nothing but yet another way to waste my free time. I got it in exchange for a charity donation so it didn't cost me much. Then I figured out this thing actually works with IRIX clients, unlike some other SAN hardware. It's an Engenio unit, also rebadged as the SGI TP9300. So I bought some disks for it. At some point I found a cheap EXP710 (extra disk tray). If I run into a cheap EXP810 I'll pick that up too -- it supports SATA disks, and if I hack the carrier firmware to accept generic SATA disks I can offload all my old 1TB disks into it.

And it's used to store funny cat pictures, what else? :mrgreen:
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To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. (IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report)

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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jan-jaap » Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:41 am

And I've got sound! Yay! Finally :D

I improvised with a pair of SGI 'Polk' speakers until now but there's no substitute for a decent pair of speakers. They're powered by a Rotel amplifier and a Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus.

dynaudio.jpg


If you look carefully you can see one of the few mistakes I made during construction: the holes in the wall for the speaker cables are too high... :x
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To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. (IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report)

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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby sgifanatic » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:51 am

Awesome! It's been more than a year since you treated us to pics of the computer room. It would be wonderful if you could share what it looks like now... in the last pics I saw, things were still in transition.
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby hamei » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:24 am

jan-jaap wrote:If you look carefully you can see one of the few mistakes I made during construction: the holes in the wall for the speaker cables are too high... :x

Set the speakers on some of those fashionable conic supports. That'll give you a few inches and you can say you intended it that way :P
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby pentium » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:59 am

I keep thinking that my workshop was an impressive feat but then I remembered you practically built an addition to your home just for your computers.
Now that it has been a while, has there been any issues with ventilation?
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jan-jaap » Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:42 pm

sgifanatic wrote:It would be wonderful if you could share what it looks like now... in the last pics I saw, things were still in transition.

It's still not finished ... the realities of life with a family with two small kids and a full time job, I'm afraid. Weekends are always incredibly busy, so realistically I only spend time on my hobby in the evenings during the working week.

I still need to install the network cables plus the Fibe Channel / FDDI fibres on one side. For quite a while the baby room furniture was stored in my computer room until I had the time to fix it up and sell it. This was massively in the way of everything.

I hope to finish the wiring this winter. Once the wiring is in, I can fill up the large cupboards with spares etc. That should clean up nicely.

Next year I hope to design a comprehensive KVM solution for my workstation rack and get rid of most of the CRT monitors. That will clean up nicely too.

Less is more. How zen :)

And I need to put some decoration on the walls. I have some failed old Geometry Engine boards of various generations, maybe I can frame some and turn them into art or something.
pentium wrote:I keep thinking that my workshop was an impressive feat but then I remembered you practically built an addition to your home just for your computers.
Now that it has been a while, has there been any issues with ventilation?

It gets warm there during the summer, but not a sauna. I have not installed an airco (yet). When it gets that hot it's a better idea anyway to sit in the garden with a cold beer :)
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jan-jaap » Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:37 pm

jan-jaap wrote:And I've got sound! [...] They're powered by a Rotel amplifier and a Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus.

So it turned out that my Dynaudio speakers were a bit too much for my poor Rotel RA-970BX integrated amp. I've had the same problem before with the stereo system I have in my office at work and that was solved with a bigger amp (also Rotel, a pre + power amp combo).

Having good experience with big Rotel amps I got myself an RB-991 power amp. The Dynaudios, being 4Ohm speakers and relatively insensitive ( ~86dB) can handle (and need) a lot of power. Recommendation is 200W I think. The RB-991 puts out nearly twice that and that's continuous output power at low distortion, not some fancy unreal impulse power number. It also has a damping factor of 1000 over the entire audio spectrum -- this thing can drive difficult speakers.

The difference is profound :D Before, the sound was muddy, with booming bass. Now it's much tighter, with better definition. Amazingly, it sounds like you're in a bigger room, yet full of music. I haven't tied yet, but I'm quite sure this setup can also play so loud it will make an Onyx in 'fastfan' mode completely unnoticeable (and probably make my ears bleed ...)
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To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. (IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report)

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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby vishnu » Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:03 pm

Tis a thing of beauty! :D Any other news on the not-really-new-anymore computer room? 8-)
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby Dodoid » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:03 am

Yes, if you consider the room to be "done" some pictures would be nice or maybe a panorama/photosphere if your phone can do them. Photosphere + VR would mean we could all pretend we had your collection for the price of a Google Cardboard :lol:!
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Re: My new computer room

Unread postby jan-jaap » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:47 pm

It's not finished yet. For a while I simply used it in it's unfinished state, but recently I started working on it again.

Right now I'm busy with the floor again. The floor itself is in place of course, but along the wall I have a gutter in the floor with removable cover tiles. Some of these were never finished, and I need holes in them to guide cables in and out at regular intervals. This I do by drilling 60mm holes and putting these things in:
kabeldoorvoer.jpg
kabeldoorvoer.jpg (11.59 KiB) Viewed 213 times

My first three holes cost me 2 drills (the floor tiles are a very tough material). With 11 more holes to go I put the job aside until recently when I got a professional tool to make the remaining holes.

My biggest remaining problem with the floor is that I designed the gutter and the cover tiles before that rack in which most of the workstations sit came in the picture. As a result the feet of that rack are on the cover tiles and I'd have to tear the rack down every time I want to put a new cable. That's nonsense, so I'm going to tear it down *once*, cut up the floor tiles such that I can take them out with the rack in place. Until then everything in the rack (mostly Indys, Indigos, Indigo2s and O2s) is just sitting there collecting dust ^H^H^H looking pretty.

The row of desksides (Onyx / Challenge / Crimson / PowerSeries) still sit there and all I need to do to use them is to plug them in. This too will change because I recently buried an APC 7953 in the cable gutter behind them:
AP7953.jpg
AP7953.jpg (15.45 KiB) Viewed 213 times

I have another one in my 19" rack (where they belong) and can use SNMP to switch ports on/off. I intend to use it to be able to switch power to these systems (and the rack with workstations) without having to reach over them to look for breaker switches on the back panel.

At my desk I have my Tezro, Octane2, Onyx2 and Fuel. These are my most used systems. They share one LCD screen, keyboard and mouse, but I'd rather have them on a KVM. I also want to turn this into my Discreet corner, a bit like what uunix did 8-)

I migrated my old server which was a floor standing tower to a new 2U 19" rackmount. The stereo system sits in a fancy rack now. I have some nice posters and frames, but have to order and mount a rail along the ceiling to hang them.

In the end it's simply something that takes *a lot* of time. I don't mind that, but I also have a job and a family to take care of. Sometimes It's really stupid things that halt you, e.g. the four RJ45 outlets which are the uplinks to the rest of the house were crappy, so I bought nice CAT6A outlets, fully shielded die cast things. When I wanted to mount them and had torn everything apart I couldn't find my LSA punch down tool. Order another one: wait two days. When it finally arrived I destroyed the first of the two CAT6A outlets with the third punch because it tore the 'ears' off the die cast. Ordered a new one last Tuesday, should be there tomorrow :roll:

Right now is not the right time to take some photos because it's a mess :( I vowed to not clean up all the tools laying around until I finish the floor. But once I've got something worth showing I'll be back with some photos.
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To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. (IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report)


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