Last week, I mentioned on Twitter that I was looking to move the community lab from its position on a folding table to a more secure 19-inch equipment rack. A number of people recommended the Skeletek brand of modular rack systems. Not wanting to draw from the lab's budget (funded entirely by generous donors) for something which was not of complete necessity, I opted to contact Dantrak Net, a distributor of Skeletek products.
I'm happy to announce that Dantrak Net has generously sponsored a complete rack system and accessories, and the lab is now comfortably secure in its new home! Dantrak Net has become the lab's third organizational sponsor, joining Opengear and Force10 Networks.
The specific rack sponsored and shown above is the Skeletek C24U-4P-EX12, which consists of a 24U rack and a 12U rack secured to a common wheelbase. This has proved to be a very convenient and compact configuration. The bulk of the rack gear is mounted on the front-facing 24U rack, whereas the PDUs and UPS for management devices have been mounted on the rear 12U rack. The four Cisco IP phones are on a handy shelf mounted to the top of the rear rack.
I'm quite pleased with the way the rack migration turned out. The rack system was shipped to me in pieces, but was pretty easy to assemble. The necessary wrenches are included with the rack, however a socket wrench from your own toolbox will greatly speed things up. After assembling the rack, I spent around four and a half hours cleaning, mounting, and cabling the lab components. Accounting for time spent on cable management (e.g. cutting and applying Velcro strips) rounds the previous figure up to an even five hours.
Moving the lab from a free standing table into a rack yields several advantages:
- Security - Equipment and cables are less likely to be damaged from something falling onto or bumping the gear.
- Convenience - Recently I had to replace S4 due to an apparent PSU failure. This entailed manually lifting seven other devices at once to get to the switch. With everything rack mounted, device swaps and maintenance become much easier.
- Mobility - The rolling rack makes it easier to access all sides of devices.
- Space - I have regained a few square feet of space in my basement. Hooray!
- Appeal - Gear just looks better when it's rack-mounted.
Thanks again to our lab's new sponsor Dantrak Net!