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Rackmounting at Home?

Cliff posted about 13 years ago | from the when-you-own-more-than-6-boxen dept.

Hardware 204

gnurd asks: "I am toying with the idea of buying a Rackable system for home use. However I'm sure I dont need a 72" cabinet, but i would like a small safe enclosure for a couple of systems. I have had a hard time finding a small (12U) cabinet for home use. anybody try setting up a small racked center at home? Your experience would be appreciated." Would any of the solutions from this past Ask Slashdot discussion help in this case? And has anyone successfully used racks intended for rackable musical instruments to hold servers instead?

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204 comments

Umm.. why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101156)

If there were answers in an old Ask Slashdot, then why was this posted to begin with?

MIDI Racks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101157)

MIDI racks are the same form factor as computer racks. You can get a pretty good MIDI gigging rack fairly cheap. They're from 8U to 16U, they stack well, and they're pretty rugged. Try your local music shop.

A few places to get racks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101158)

If you want to buy a rack that is nice but cheap, try Middle Atlantic/Datatel. Their ERK series of racks works quite well, and is not too expensive. http://www.middleatlantic.com/. They also carry a line of neat rack accessories. Other sources are Rittal, Knurr, Schroff/Hoffman, etc. But those are much more expensive. On the whole, I find that racks designed for servers are more expensive and lesser quality than racks designed for audio equipment.

A Tip (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101159)

When mounting hardware in a 19" rack, if you only have two screws per box put the screws in the bottom holes. Not the top, not one bottom one top. When they are in the bottom, the weight of the box pulls the rack ears against the mounting rails for a firm hold and a well-distributed load.

Build your own rack (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101166)

I built my own rack out of 2 x 4's and some rack rails from middleatlantic.com Right now I just have 6 1U servers, a 1U router, a 1U switch, and a 1U KMV switch. If you can use a saw, drill, and hammer, you're set.

Music Stores! (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101167)

Head to a larger music store (Mars, Sam Ash, etc).. There's tons of small and mid sized (and nice looking) 19" racks for home studios. Sure maybe the original purpose was for 19" rackmountable FX processors and whatnot, but hey aren't standards wonderful?

Personally I use a 10RU SKB rack case.. just throw the front and back on and pick the thing up by the handles.. incredible if you need to lug 10U worth of rack gear around every few weeks.

Re:I have a related question (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101168)

On the subject of cheap home rack mounting, try an SPM. They come in 2U and 4U configurations http://www.middleatlantic.com/dcm/wall/spm.htm On the subject of racks being expensive, one word: tooling. Machineworks is expensive, even if you build the jigs, you have to pay the operator(s), etc. Jim

Look for old Motorola radio cabinets (3)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#101169)

They are about 5 feet high and are designed for 19" rack equipment. They even have doors on the front and back, holes for volt/amp meters and a speaker! You can get them at hamfests sometimes for free.

Traffic signal controller cabinets (1)

mjwise (476) | about 13 years ago | (#101173)

These often utilize 19" racks AFAIK, and they are weatherproof and lockable to boot! The downside is that decent real cooling is not very easy to achieve (most traffic signal controllers are designed to have temperature/humidity tolerances that are extreme -- Econolite tests their controllers in an oven), and you'd have a time trying to find a supplier that would sell to an individual. But another avenue to investigate nonetheless, and they come in many sizes (I believe 24" to 72" is about the available height range). Just make sure 19" is the rack size.

Try electronics catalogs (5)

Masem (1171) | about 13 years ago | (#101176)

I know that from doing some research into racks at work for other purposes, that electronic component companies (such as Newark [newark.com] offer numerous styles and sizes of racks; Obviously, you want something sturdy so you are going to have to spend a few bucks to get something good, but in terms of sizes, I've seen anywhere from a 16" high rack to 8-9 feet tall ones.

(Unfortunately, Newark's online catalog is poorly organized, the print version is much easier to follow, IMO).

Apartment rack setup (1)

Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) | about 13 years ago | (#101177)

My setup isn't as sophisticated as I'd like, but it gets the wires off the floor. I have two enclosures, an old AT&T DataPhone cabinet (about 1.5m tall by .65m wide by .5m deep) and a free-standing "ladder"-style rack (3m tall, standard width). The DataPhone cabinet holds two DDS-2 tape drives, a keyboard/monitor switch, and four computers: two "pizza box"-style Intergraph TD-40 workstations, a 486 in a standard tower case, and a Packard Bell desktop. The rack holds most of the networking kit in the apartment (both firewalls, the cable modem, an Ethernet hub, the Synoptics chassis, and the Token Ring MAU). The disk array chassis and the UPS remain freestanding.

The most important reason to throw stuff in a rack is cable management. Common cabling is bundled up neatly and hung off the screw holes on the enclosures. Bundles of CAT-5 cable are snugly wrapped in masking tape every half meter, with Ethernet in a bundle separate from the Token Ring. Power cabling runs up the opposite side of the rack from the data cabling, and I have taken care to cross power and data cables at right angles to minimize cross-talk. Almost everything is labeled neatly. If you want to spend the money, you can color code your cabling (I usually do this when doing wiring jobs for money).

Be careful when using tie-wraps: They can be cinched too tight and cause internal breaks in delicate wiring (e.g. SCSI or UTP cabling). I usually use wire ties like you get with boxes of trash bags to truss everything in place.

Make friends with other sysadmins. A friend of mine gave me all sorts of nice telecomms hardware (including the Dataphone cabinet and brackets for running wiring) in trade for helping him clean out his machine room. I regularly go through the trash at work looking for useful items, e.g. an HP SCSI enclosure or Sun monitor cables. I once found two 4-GB SCSI disks in the trash and was able to make do with them for several years until I bought enough disks for a software RAID array. A consultant friend of mine was able to get four dual-processor Intergraph workstations for less than USD 300---all with 128 MB RAM, on-board Ethernet and SCSI. Even though they're Pentium-133s, Windows, Linux, and Solaris fully support the hardware and run great as domain controllers, file servers, and Unix workstations. Another guy traded me a monitor for a working SGI Indy that was loaded with memory. Make new friends and keep the old, my aunt always said.

I have something like 20 computers in my apartment, from an old IMSAI 8080 on up to a DEC Alpha. While I'd be really hurting if I had to replace it all, I think I've purchased maybe one complete system out of the whole lot. If you're having a hard time finding racks and such, nose around the local swap meets or hamfests, contact wholesalers and salvagers, and hang out around a college data center. Somebody's bound to get rid of something useful, and most times they'll just give it away to be rid of it.


Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, DEATH, SubGenius, mhm21x16

Surplus shops (1)

rwuest (2452) | about 13 years ago | (#101179)

I've got a _really_ nice rack I bought in an electronics surplus shop in Albuquerque, NM. It came from Sandia (I can tell by the colors). It has a good power distribution system (power strips) in it, a nice quiet fan and good sturdy wheels with a solid lock down thingy that locks/unlocks easily with your foot. Originally it cost several thousand dollars and I got it for $60 IIRC. I looked a long time before I found it, and I'm glad I was persistant and waited.

I've been contemplating the same, some links: (1)

edlinger (2999) | about 13 years ago | (#101180)

oops, hit enter by accident: real links here:
From Smarthome: Rack Systems [smarthome.com] - They're for audio and computers. Check out the empty frames 'n casters.

Cheap 4U EMPTY rack case!
Interlogic Industries [interlogicindustries.com]

My idea was to convert my standard cases into rackmounts. Not too expensive it seems. That's the cheapest 4U rack enclosure I've ever seen. Dunno if it's still a good price though.

If anyone else has any other hints, lemme know. I'm still thinking about rack mounting to save space in my apartment.

Pretty nice desks w/racks (1)

mrPalomar (3397) | about 13 years ago | (#101181)

There are a few companies making desks primarily for digital music workstations that have racks built in. If you've got the money, I imagine they would work real well. Check out this site [tpg.com.au]

Re:Pretty nice desks w/racks (1)

mrPalomar (3397) | about 13 years ago | (#101182)

Found another site [omnirax.com] I I'd seen, looks like they might be a little better quality. You can buy some of the models at Computers and Music [computersandmusic.com] .

build your own rack (2)

Kazin (3499) | about 13 years ago | (#101183)

www.smarthome.com sells just the rails for racks,
in full-height (96" or something) and half-height
(45" or so). They're about $100 for the set of
four rails. I just bought a set myself, I've
got a big UPS, some hubs, and a few small boxes
now, and plans for a 4U RAID cabinet and a 2U web
server. Plus the spare wood from the deck my
parents just dismantled, I figure I got a pretty
great deal.

- Kazin

An answer to several questions. (2)

Hacksaw (3678) | about 13 years ago | (#101184)

Racks for musical equipment are, in fact, the same as racks for computers. You can use musical racks just fine.

The reason they are expensive is that the demand is low, and the construction has to be pretty strong. You are, after all, mounting stuff that's usually quite expensive, and usually mounting lots of it.

Re:Why? (1)

ShootThemLater (5074) | about 13 years ago | (#101185)

Unless your home is wired for cat5, or you are using wireless ethernet, having rackmounted boxes in another room doesn't make sense. Most rackmount systems won't make any consideration for low power useage (Energy Star, etc.), so likely these systems aren't even appropriate for home use.
Not entirely fair, I think. Energy concerns are valid (particularly if you live in California I guess), but if you have Unix servers at home that are supposed to act as servers (and this isn't exactly unreasonable, is it?) then you probably don't want them powering themselves down anyway.

Then, if you take it as a given that you have these servers happily whirring and humming away, you probably do want to put them in another room from the one that you actually work/live/watch tv in.

At risk of being on-topic, I'd say that racks are expensive largely for the same reasons that SCSI hard drives are expensive - economies of scale (or rather the lack of them).

The coolest rack I've seen recently is the one that comes "free" with a Sun 4800. So buy one of those and stick your boxes in the spare space. Or maybe not :-)

Man, I get this ALL the time! (2)

FFFish (7567) | about 13 years ago | (#101187)

Hey, when you've got 19", you hear this sort of thing down at the club show all the time:

"HEY BABY! NICE RACK! COME ON HOME, BABY! I WANNA MOUNT THAT THING!"

Tough life, I know. [shrug]


--

E-Bay & Space saving (1)

Llama Keeper (7984) | about 13 years ago | (#101188)

I have my three home computers rackmounted. I did this because of the amount of desktop space 3 full systems take up, and the fact my apartments have all benn pretty small (and thusly cheap). I found a small cabinet on e-bay for about 1/2 price, I also found some nice older fiberchannel drives and enclosures pretty cheap. A good way to get easy storage for all my ummmm MP3's. Check out e-bay, and if you live in SoCal dot bomb closeouts and auctions and stuff.

Ive got a neat wall-mount rack... (2)

Bob McCown (8411) | about 13 years ago | (#101189)

...that I bought at Milestek [milestek.com] . I bought the swing out comm rack, but its very high quality, and the DSL guy always comments on it. :)

Usual disclaimers apply, etc etc...

Re:Rack Cart by Anthro (1)

Big Ryan (11871) | about 13 years ago | (#101192)

No, Anthrocart makes VERY nice rack carts. These are nicely mobile and very high quality.

Kinda expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Send lawyers, guns and money. The shit has hit the fan.

Alternative Approach (2)

Caballero (11938) | about 13 years ago | (#101193)

I have a lot of equipment in my study and I needed a better way to store it. Most shelving really isn't up to the task.

I ended up buying industrial shelving. It's cheap (~$100 for 36" wide by 72" high with 5 shelves) Each shelf is rated to 400 lbs. I bought the grid style shelving, which means it is made up bars every 3 inches or so. That makes cabling nice and easy.

No I don't get to screw my equipment into it, but it sits on it nicely, and even supports a Compaq DS20 without any hassle. (In fact, there are 3 other "normal" machines on the same shelf.) It isn't very pretty or very sexy, but cheap and efficient. (Think warehouse shelving)

You can get this sort of thing at any commercial office supply place. I'm not sure if some place like OfficeDepot would have it or not.

Cool little unit. (3)

Soko (17987) | about 13 years ago | (#101199)

Thanks. Now I want one of them. You don't realise what you've done, do you?

Now I need to get the Financial Manager (read:Wife) to approve purchase of one of these. This means proving that I am indeed a worthwhile investment (read: clean out the basement, cook, cut lawn etc.) and that we really do need one (see cleaning basement above). I will then have to show ROI for a while to come after installation (Hon, I know we're broke, but can I buy this dress? You got that silly LAN rack or whatever a couple of months ago...). Like I said, thanks.

;-)

Re:Rackmounting at home and temperature (1)

alfredo (18243) | about 13 years ago | (#101200)

Wood shelving at K Mart. Each shelf can hold 150 lbs. My scanner is on the bottom, computer and monitor in the middle, and external drives on top.

Shaky if not supported though.

Why not build your own? (2)

Randy Rathbun (18851) | about 13 years ago | (#101201)

There is not a lot of engineering in one of these things. Most of the parts can be had at a good sized hardware store for a lot less than the hundreds of bucks that "real racks" cost. Granted, they won't look all shiny beige, but who cares?

Network Racks (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 13 years ago | (#101203)

Small racks are made for network equipment such as switches and routers and hubs. Some of these racks are as cheap as $100 and come with attractive glass windows and even wooden enclosures. Many can be wall mounted or stood up on rubber feet. All of them have more than enough room to hold all of your home networking and computing toys.

If you want to try a guitar rack, you might try www.carvin.com or www.musiciansfriend.com. Both sites have attractive, nice racks and cabinets.

Enclosures / Relay Racks (1)

5foot2 (24971) | about 13 years ago | (#101208)

Milestek has 36" or 42" enclosures. They're the std 19" size. I think they run around $450 and have locking doors. If you want to rackmount everything but dont need an enclosure, get a relay rack and cut it down to size. An 84" aluminum relay rack will cost you $120 max and could be cut down with a hack saw.

Some info for you (3)

Argyle (25623) | about 13 years ago | (#101209)

The standard 19" rack width is used accross computer, music, and broadcasting industries. You just want to make sure you are dealing with 19" rack equipment.

The place we buy from is Pacific Radio [pacrad.com] in Los Angeles. More detailed info located here [pacrad.com] on modular racks.

The main considerations will be heat disapation and cabling. Just make sure you have adequate airflow and are setting things up where you have cables running all over the place.
-----

Music Equipment Racks (1)

jbf (30261) | about 13 years ago | (#101214)

As has been mentioned earlier, music equipment places have nice, cheaper racks:
12-Space, $29.95 rack [zzounds.com]
Other racks [zzounds.com]

Pro audio uses the same racks (3)

marxmarv (30295) | about 13 years ago | (#101215)

as telecom equipment. (Ain't standards wonderful?) Small racks and shipping enclosures from 2U to 12U are common but not necessarily cheap. Check your local music store or look online.

-jhp

good alternitives (1)

monecky (32097) | about 13 years ago | (#101217)

Try smarthome.com . They're catalog has some cool stuff. Never ordered from them though.

Paul

Re:Why? (2)

Multics (45254) | about 13 years ago | (#101220)

As someone with three racks around the house, I'll say my reasons are:

1) space: I have four systems that I never log into directly (firewall, web server, compute server and file/email server). It is more space efficient to have them in a rack in a corner I don't use. The noise and heat are somewhere else.

2) heat management: Rack mount cases are typically better for heat (and nearly everything else) than desktop cases.

3) dirt: Things in racks are typically cleaner. All the rack mount cases I own have filters which keep the insides WAY cleaner than the hairy mess your desktop case is certain to be.

4) ease of service/change: I can have any of my rack mounted systems out and open in well under 30 seconds. Because of 2 & 3, though, I usually don't have to do that.

5) Cable management: Rack mount hardware and switches makes keeping that rat's nest behind your computer much more manageable.

6) Centralized UPS: With just a couple of racks of stuff that need reliable power, I have two rack mount UPSes in the racks that matter and so there isn't Yet Another Box sitting around taking up space. This also means only a couple of upsd's and only a couple of sets of batteries that need to be replaced regularly.

7) my home is wired cat 5. Ditto wireless.

Lots of people have differing needs, wants and hence setups. Those few of us /.ers that actually make our livings in this weird industry do *use* our computers pretty close to 24/7... and at least in my case I have no problem investing in the hardware to make my life easier.

One more point. Rack mount stuff doesn't get technologically obsolete (mostly). The racks I'm using I purchased used and date from the 1970's. My AT cases are circa 1985 (with new guts of course). So this is pretty much a 'do it once' and not worry about it. I do hope that ATX lasts a really long time as a result...

-- Multics

Standards - Not (5)

Local Loop (55555) | about 13 years ago | (#101223)

There are several non-standard things to be aware of when rack mounting computer equipment.

First off is where the holes are drilled in the equipment. You may think that you can buy a 12U rack and stick 3 4U computers in it. But if you try it with different models of case or computer, you will likely find that the computers don't line up with each other correctly, meaning you may need more than 12U.

I've rack mounted a LOT of computers, audio and video equipment and run into this constantly. The A/V equipment always fits right, but the computers are all over the place!

Second thing is the depth. Many computer cases are deep enough that they need to be supported in the back. You'll find that there are multiple standards for how far back the back rail is supposed to be. To circumvent this, I usually forget about installing back rails (unless I have a perfectly homogenous installation), and just install side supports, either wood or metal, and bolt the computers to those.

I highly recommend that you use slide rails. Try to get ball bearing rails rather than friction rails, becuase the friction rails frequently do not work well.

Also if you are building your own rack out of wood, consider using the fancy ball bearing drawer slides from the kitchen dept. at Home Depot. You won't need expensive rack rails, and they can slide all the way out to let you remove the entire machine for service. The only drawback is that you'll probably have to drill your own holes to match up with the holes in the computer's chassis.

When drilling those holes, watch out and don't get any metal shavings in the ball track!

Good luck

-Loopy

I have 3, full height 19" racks in my appartment (1)

Shadok8 (58859) | about 13 years ago | (#101225)

I got them new for $40 each.

The problem is shelving and accesories. I made plywood shelves with metal L-brackets to screw into the rack. A new single metal rack mount shelf costs more than I paid for the entire rack.

I do find the racks very useful. I have found racks easy to find at good prices but shelving very rare on the gray market and after market.

Re:Ive got a neat wall-mount rack... (1)

The Other White Meat (59114) | about 13 years ago | (#101226)


Great website. Thanks for posting it.

Racks (2)

doonesbury (69634) | about 13 years ago | (#101229)

check out Anthro Carts [anthro.com] . They've got upright racks up to 29U high, one that's as small as 37" high (probably about 15-20U), and a couple of slant racks made for home use, from 20" high to 41" high. Those would be great for smaller applications, and they're made specifically for home office use.

Re:Cool little unit. (2)

jhoffoss (73895) | about 13 years ago | (#101230)

Same here. Not only for the implied geek/1337 factor, but it's an excuse to buy more equipment! "Dear, this rack looks awfully empty with that lonely gateway/server/RAID computer. I think we should find a companion!"
---

Re:I have a related question (2)

orangesquid (79734) | about 13 years ago | (#101233)

Actually, in a lot of cases, an increase in demand will result in the manufacturer creating an increase in supply so they can meet the demand. Making more of something (id est, in bulk) is actually cheaper per item than making fewer -- this is called economies of scale.

Hence, so-called "morons" buying stuff en masse means that it will probably eventually get cheaper.

But anyway, back on topic: my friend has an old, old wooden stereo cabinet that's actually exactly rack-width. We put rack equipment in it by drilling the appropriate holes in the wooden frame to mount things. Wooden racks like that, if built carefully, can be very sturdy. And it's much cheaper to machine wood than it is to machine metal.

Rackmounting at home and temperature (1)

smoondog (85133) | about 13 years ago | (#101235)

We thought about converting some home materials to build racks. You might try bakers sheet racks as well, They are on wheels, a variety of heights and have built in shelving (baking sheets), and are easy to modify.

Temperature is a problem, obviously. If you live in Alaska it is a good thing. If you live in California, bend over and wait for your PG+E bill.

-Moondog

Does it need to be metal? (1)

MattGWU (86623) | about 13 years ago | (#101236)

I know this isn't a proper rack in the traditional sense, but as soon as I get my new box, it and my current box will be living in a plastic file cabinet I got at Staples for $30. I haven't done all (any) of the measurements, but each drawer seems more than big enough for a board and a power supply.
The plan was this:

One board in each of the two smaller top shelves

Power supplies (if they won't fit in the top), disk array, hub, KVM switch in the larger bottom drawer.

Adequate cooling, etc
I don't have all the details worked out, but it seems like a good solution for a deskside setup (or hide it in a closet). It's plastic (light), on wheels, modular (I'm sure more drawers can be bought through the catalog or from the supplier), and the price is right. Thing even looks pretty cool, as far as file cabinets go.

Might be something to think about, might not work at all for you, but that's my plan.

plywood and two by fours (1)

Teratogen (86708) | about 13 years ago | (#101237)

build one from plywood and two by fours,
and a little bit of Amerikanski Ingenuity =)

Re:Standards - Not (1)

NuttyBee (90438) | about 13 years ago | (#101238)

I remember buying 45 RU Stantron racks for about $300-$400 a piece. I bought them from a system integrator as part of a massive purchase..

If you buy the same thing from Black Box, you'll probably pay 3 times as much. I would check out you local TV/video facility.. Sometimes they have old racks they want to get rid of...

But the real money comes in the mounting. Shelves -- I remember paying $40-$60 a shelf. 10 shelves and you're talking real money.
The the roll out mounts are easily $100 a piece and are often semi-custom for the box they attach to. Unless you're hell bent on having a rack mount setup, it's probably not worth it. You could buy a few nice cases and other equipment for what mounting this stuff will cost you.

Re:I have a related question (5)

ToasterTester (95180) | about 13 years ago | (#101243)

Because it isn't a big commodity product, so they can't spread the costs out by selling quanity. Also most racks are used in real data or telco centers and they have to meet seimic certification standards. That a lot of cost for testing and liability, but that is why all rack equipment is expensive. With all the dot-comedy crashes out there, the're lots of hardware auctions and deals to be had.

I can see a great use for this... (1)

Relyt (96115) | about 13 years ago | (#101244)

For people with lots of boxes, if you get a small sturdy rack for them, and then get a single keyboard/mouse/monitor, you can use switches (kvm switches, I think; Belkin makes some), you could set it up so all of the computers use one desk. So, in the space that one computer would take up, you could bolt a thin rack to the wall and have four or five! I'll really have to look into that.

ebay (2)

matt-fu (96262) | about 13 years ago | (#101245)

I use an SKB 16U shock-mount rack. I spent $180 on ebay for it, and the guy who sold it to me just slapped a label on the front and shipped it. I've had it for probably 3 years now and it's awesome for computer gear. It has about 1" of space around the rack rails (which are mounted on coils) that is good for cleanly cabling the rack and for the necessary airflow for sparc hardware. You can even get casters for it.

The only problem I've had has been finding inexpensive cases for my PCs and shelves for my nonrackable stuff.

Re:I have a related question (3)

Above (100351) | about 13 years ago | (#101247)

At least one of the reasons on pre-drilled racks is at pre-drilling rails is very expensive. To drill and tap a 7' rail with high precision takes expensive gear, and a lot of time. This is why racks with pop in nuts and the like are so much cheaper, but if you've ever worked with them you know they are a huge pain.

A computer person with an audiophiles problem :) (1)

OmegaDan (101255) | about 13 years ago | (#101248)

Goto audio stores -- guitar center, mars music, etc ... or online at like 8thstreet.com, musiciansfriend.com ... as long as your equiptment is standard 19" you shouldn't have a problem ... (8th street will have the best prices) ... just watch the depth, some racks aren't as deep as others ... can occassionally cause trouble.

In particular check out the offerings from "Raxxess" on 8th street, they're pretty cheap -- and not particularaly well made, but they are very good when you consider price/performance. I myself have their ~30 unit rack (for my synthesizers) and it works quite well.

hope this helps

Re:A computer person with an audiophiles problem : (2)

OmegaDan (101255) | about 13 years ago | (#101249)

actually ... write music for my (ain't makin a dime) audio production company, thehumbleguys :)

I suppose a more accurate title would have been "A computer person with an amateur DJ's problem"

I have a related question (5)

Tom7 (102298) | about 13 years ago | (#101251)

Here's a question for you:

Why are racks so damn expensive?
They're just hunks of metal, and yet the ones I always see cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Even those seem unfinished (barbs and sharp bits everywhere); to get a *nice* rack you have to spend even more.

What's the deal? Is the market so small that they can charge this much, or is there some secret process in the manufacturing that makes it so expensive?

Re:Racks (1)

AsbestosRush (111196) | about 13 years ago | (#101253)

Just as a point of reference, a standard rackspace is 1.75". 37" of rackspace would be just over 21 spaces.

try musicstores. (1)

Sarin (112173) | about 13 years ago | (#101254)

Music equipment (synthesizer modules, samplers etc.) fits in the same boxes and vice-versa. These boxes for the music equipment aren't expensive, so you should try out the local studio hardware dealer.

cabinets (1)

mystryda (119003) | about 13 years ago | (#101256)

dude, go look at pro audio racks. i've seen racks as small as 3u, and there's plenty of selection around 12u. plus, you won't have to worry about bolting it to the wall or some such thing as you do with some larger racks, just for stability. plenty of racks are designed shoved into plane cargo bays, much less get kicked around in the bottom of your closet. plus, there are many units for power scrubbing in the pro audio world, and even racks with such devices built in. if you're looking for cheap, you'll even be able to find plenty of stuff used. go visit a reputable music store. and good luck.

WTF? (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about 13 years ago | (#101258)

Why the hell is a question which has been asked many many times on the front page, while the story about the BSA [slashdot.org] that would actually interest most of us is hidden off in Ask Slashdot?

Re: Rackmounting at Home (3)

istartedi (132515) | about 13 years ago | (#101261)

What consenting adults do behind closed doors is their own business.

Heres what I did. (2)

cybereye (138743) | about 13 years ago | (#101268)

I went searching around at electronics surplus stores (Active surplus in toronto is where I got a lot of stuff) and found old rack mount cases for my AT style stuff.
For my newer machines, I just made shelves inside the case and layed the machines on horizontally. The same goes for my sun machines.

Also, if you want a cheap enclosure to hold all the rack mount gear, look for someone who is selling an old unix server case. That's what I did, and now all my stuff are inside of a Sparc Center 2000E case. The processing power inside of it is more than the origional server had. And, IMHO, it looks good too.

Jason

Linux Today Story (3)

cfreeze (146454) | about 13 years ago | (#101276)

Here is a URL for a story on this topic from back in January. http://linuxtoday.com/stories/15158.html

Finally!!! (3)

e_n_d_o (150968) | about 13 years ago | (#101278)

I've been having so much trouble trucking my 10 disk RAID array to LAN parties!
--

Well this might work.... (1)

cannes (151121) | about 13 years ago | (#101279)

Musician's Friend [musiciansfriend.com] sells small SBK portable rackmount guitar effects cabs. I'm not totally sure if they are the same size but could prolly be modified.
I actually have an SBK [skbcases.com] guitar case for my strat. For about 5 years of playing local shows it took a pretty good beating. So I'm guessing that the rackmount cases are of the same quality. I saw a guy drop a 4U shockmount cases at a bar in Cleveland and though nothing of it. Just picked it up and put it in the bus. I'm not to sure if I'd do that to my puter.

Re:Cool little unit. (2)

Nidhogg (161640) | about 13 years ago | (#101281)


I feel your pain brother.

Substitue shoes for dress and LAN rack for hard drive and I'd swear I was the victim of that same conversation last week. 8^)

Is nice to know that there are certain constants in the Universe yes?

Why? (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | about 13 years ago | (#101282)

Unless your home is wired for cat5, or you are using wireless ethernet, having rackmounted boxes in another room doesn't make sense. Most rackmount systems won't make any consideration for low power useage (Energy Star, etc.), so likely these systems aren't even appropriate for home use.

Surplus (1)

Vantage (167852) | about 13 years ago | (#101283)

There is a Mill surplus place about 5 min. from my office in Orlando. They have a huge selection of racks and rack stuff.(fans, Power Supplies, UPS, etc) I have bought short racks there. Like 4ft tall. they are a little scratched up but for $25 whose complaining.

Who needs a rack? (2)

EvlPenguin (168738) | about 13 years ago | (#101284)

I have a bunch of rackmount equipment, and not one rack. Why? I just never saw the need. My rackmount switch is lying vertically against my router. A rackmount server can fit on a shelf.

It's really more compact (though maybe not as neat) to put rackmounted stuff wherever you have a niche for them, rather than setting aside an entire block of space.
--

I have a 16u music rack (1)

mwhahaha (172475) | about 13 years ago | (#101285)

It is black and on wheels. You can see it here [ev0l.net] This one will cost you about $150->200 for the rack And you can get cheap cases for as little as $89 from here [electroseller.com] Or you can get alittle better quality ones for slightly more at rackcases.com. I just order two from there and they shipped the same day. Very quality. -mwhahaha

Find an old Sun Sparcserver (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 13 years ago | (#101286)

Most folks (including the junk dealers who have them) don't realize that Sparcserver 490's, 690's, and 2000's are actually multiple components installed in a very high-quality, very standard 5' tall 4-post 19" rack enclosure. They even have some keen 3U spots rotated by 90 degrees and located on the side, great for network switches and rackmount surge protectors.

They can be had cheap, and in most cases, you'll even get some nice rackmount hardware with the enclosure.

Used the 2x4s on the ceiling of my basement (1)

Rich_Kilmer (190162) | about 13 years ago | (#101291)

I mounted a 3U with a long enclosure in an unfinished part of my basement. Just dropped 4 10" bolts through the 2x4s in between the floors and put 2 metal (1/8"x1.5"x20") strips across that the bolts go through. Then slid the box on top of the metal strips, and I have a box I never have to look at. Just ran power and an ethernet cable to it and X or SSH to it when I need it (I also installed VNC from AT&T labs to take over the local screen if needed).

A funny thing that happened though was the fans in the unit (there are 8) were so damned loud we could hear them through the floor on the main level of our house. I searched the net and found some (virtually) silent fans to replace them with, and my wife's a whole lot happier.

Just put it in your wall! (3)

atheos (192468) | about 13 years ago | (#101294)

You can always just put the rack into your wall like I did. [url]http://www.atheosonline.com/niles/rack.jpg[/u rl]

Check out racks for audio gear (3)

no_such_user (196771) | about 13 years ago | (#101295)

Look for racks meant to house audio gear. There are different types to choose from, including road cases w/ casters and covers [musiciansfriend.com] , ATA-rated flight cases [musiciansfriend.com] ,shock mounted [musiciansfriend.com] ,open framed with casters [musiciansfriend.com] ,nicely finished wood, some with built in fans... etc. You can find them used fairly easily.

You should make sure that you have adequate ventilation though (add a fan or five if necessary) - these are generally meant to be enclosed, and I've seen LCD displays (the small type on audio gear) go bad just from the heat generated by the equipment.

Also - check the depth on the rack before you buy... most audio equipment isn't as long as some of the computer gear you might mount.

Or, make your own [musiciansfriend.com] . Watch the weight though!

Re:I have a related question (1)

jchristopher (198929) | about 13 years ago | (#101296)

Racks are expensive because they are used primarily by corporations (.coms, Fortune 500, ISPs and hosting providers), and like most shit sold to the business market, are horribly priced.

Your server will do just fine, sitting under a desk or in a closet. You don't need a rack. Promise.

skb and music audio racks (1)

biltmore (211368) | about 13 years ago | (#101301)

The problem with these cases are they are made to store audio gear that is less that 22" long. Most server case are 24-26". At least mine are. So you can have the server hang out the back but that is lame and misses the point. There is a company called Raxxess [raxxess.com] that makes enclosures that are longer than 22" they have a product called a KAR-18-26 [raxxess.com] , which I have used and works great for servers.

web and shell hosting plus more

Re:Why not build your own? (1)

biltmore (211368) | about 13 years ago | (#101302)

I have built my own racks for audio gear before. When it came time to get same racks for some servers, I decided not to make racks because I wanted there to be good air-flow. If you plan on making your own racks make this a big consideration in your design

web and shell hosting plus more

Here's a good value. (1)

morelife (213920) | about 13 years ago | (#101303)

Cheap considering what you get. I've bought from them before (1U rack mount). Very nice people too. http://www.gtweb.net/rack_frame.html [gtweb.net]

Roll your own (2)

BrynM (217883) | about 13 years ago | (#101304)

When I was a guitar tech, I would just buy the rack hardware and build my own cabinet. You can buy the rails (the parts that the rack mount gear screws into) at just about any music supplier. Next, cut your sides and such with a table saw and assemble. I used to make some items that looked more like furniture such as a rack hidden in an end table or coffee table.

If it's for home use, make it a bit more furniture like. Your woman of the house will complain much less.

bm :)-~

Seattle source for cheap racks (3)

wirzcat (221710) | about 13 years ago | (#101306)

If you live near Seattle, then the best source for used racks of all sizes is Boeing Surplus. They have singles, doubles, and triples and lots of hardware. Halfs are rare. Most are $50-100.

Most are in good shape and blue. I have a single in my garage and run everything remote.

Re:I have a related question (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | about 13 years ago | (#101309)

Supply and Demand.

This is the same reason I can charge 90 an hour for webdesign if I want. People pay what you ask if you supply the service they need.


The Lottery:

Re:Music Stores! (2)

aethera (248722) | about 13 years ago | (#101311)

Watch out for the skb cases. They are shallower than many other full size rack cases. This tends not to be problem with the full size 4U cases, but the 2U server cases are much deeper, so that back cover has to be permanently off. Also, because they don't use true threaded rack rail and the rail is aluminum, not steel, you are more likely to overload and bend the rail.

On the other hand, I love my SKB. A 4U ATX case from ebay, a rock solid power amp, EQ, processing, and power conditioner all in one neatly wired black cube. Snap both covers on and I can easily move the whole system anywhere.

Now if only I could find a cheap, ergonomic rack mountable monitor.

Try SKB cases or State Surplus (1)

ejadles (249471) | about 13 years ago | (#101313)

I think these are pretty economical. A 12U case is $130 at http://www.americanmusical.com Here's SKB's site. The roto racks only have holes on one side (front). I've also seen 72" racks for as little as $15 at NC State Surplus. Might try there if your local organizations have ways of recycling stuff. Good luck, Eric

Try DRMO (1)

pvera (250260) | about 13 years ago | (#101315)

DRMO = Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office.

DoD pretty much mounts everything on industry standard racks. That means you have a fair shot at finding an old one at a DRMO sale close to where you live. When I was stationed in Germany they even had special sales open to German nationals, so you don't have to be a DoD employee to take advantage of this.

Worst case scenario you will have to repaint it and probably add power cords and fans.

As for size, we had many different models, the only requirement was that they had to fit 19-in wide components (the racks themselves always were exactly 2-feet wide). WE had some models small enough to sit on a desk, so I bet you can find something for what you have in mind.

Pedro

Why the hell should I help you shop (1)

g_bit (253703) | about 13 years ago | (#101317)

That should be enough said, but I know that next week someone will get something similar posted.

Go get your shopping advice somewhere else, having a rack in your house is NOT a new idea, or even an interesting one.

Re:A computer person with an audiophiles problem : (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | about 13 years ago | (#101321)

A music lover listens to the music. An audiophile listens to the equipment the music is played on. Which one do you like to do best? :)

Re:Why the hell should I help you shop (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | about 13 years ago | (#101322)

You are mean. And you hurt my feelings. Now say you are sorry. :(

Re:Standards - Not (1)

AlexCV (261412) | about 13 years ago | (#101324)

Penguin Computing friction slide rails for 1U system are consistently 1/8th - 1/16th of an inch off. This, obviously, fucks up with our networking gear (which is dead on the money (cisco)) and home made systems (they line up together and with the net stuff..) but our penguins are off.

Alex

12 space rack (1)

zerofoo (262795) | about 13 years ago | (#101325)

http://www.middleatlantic.com/studio/sracks/sbr.ht m#s12sdg -ted

Nice 12 space rack (1)

zerofoo (262795) | about 13 years ago | (#101326)

http://www.middleatlantic.com/ Check out the studio equipment section. They have smaller 12 space racks. Some even have integrated desks. -ted

Re:I've been contemplating the same, some links: (1)

zerofoo (262795) | about 13 years ago | (#101327)

Damn! I just bought this rack for $200.00 somewhere else. My only gripe is that it doesn't have enough spaces for my IDE raid drives. -ted

I've got just the place (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 13 years ago | (#101330)

A company called cases cases in Mass. - we bought like a 15u case to ship a system to japan (for a co-location)

http://www.casescases.com/ - you can order just about any size rack (in a case) you want.

thanks slashdot ... (1)

gascsd (316132) | about 13 years ago | (#101334)

now all my bids for rack mounted systems are outbid.

you know, with as many of these 'build your own home nuclear reactor' type stories, ebay needs to start give /. a cut of the action for as much bidders /. sends their way

good cabs - middle atlantic (1)

mkbz (317881) | about 13 years ago | (#101335)

Middle Atlantic [middleatlantic.com] has good, cheap cabinets. you can get as fancy or plain as you want - add doors and vents and fans or leave it open.

i'm looking at their ERK series [middleatlantic.com] , 18U with doors, fans & filters, and caster base. eventually i'd like to move all my machines (except the mac ;) in here and run a nice KVM, too.

their distributors list is available here [middleatlantic.com] . in the greater Boston area, i'm going to You Do-It Electronics [youdoitelectronics.com] in Needham.

Re: Why? (1)

elemental23 (322479) | about 13 years ago | (#101338)

I can tell you why I want them.

I currently live alone in an older (read: cheap) two bedroom house. The second bedroom is my computer room/office/NOC/data center/etc and it's fairly full at the moment with a mid-sized desk and a folding office table and four computers.

I'm considering moving into a nicer (read: more expensive) place in the near future and don't want to pay two to three times what I'm paying now for an extra bedroom. This is where a half-size rack would come in handy because then I can keep everything out of the way in the corner of my living room and use a KVM switch and single keyboard/monitor/mouse to run everything.


--
Have crack, will moderate.
The occasional poster formerly known as jihad23

Re:Just put it in your wall! (1)

Regolith (322916) | about 13 years ago | (#101339)

Cool. My only question is what kind of damage did that do to your resale value? Unless you can find a fellow geek who wants a built-in rackmount, I would think it would be a bit of a downer when you try to sell your house.

-----

Music Racks (1)

herderofcats (409703) | about 13 years ago | (#101341)

I have on a regular basis used racks designed for music appliances (midi, synthesizers, mixers, etc.) for computers. It is particularly useful for transport -- for instance, I have a setup that I take to conventions that has a file server, switch, a router, and a 802.11b wireless net. I can put the face plates on it and lock it up like a large suitcase when not in use, and transport it in my car.

The biggest issue is the depth -- most cases are less then 17" deep. A few are 17" deep and these are suitable for some computer uses. I've never found one deeper then 19" deep. As most server boxes are quite deeper then 17", I had to search for some time to find a rackmount server box that was small enough.

-- Herder of Cats

Oops, wrong link. (1)

bwhaley (410361) | about 13 years ago | (#101342)

The link I included is to the solid door version. If you want the plexiglass window, here [cablestogo.com] is the correct link.

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and BSD. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.

This one is great (2)

bwhaley (410361) | about 13 years ago | (#101345)

I work for a very small company in Wyoming, we have only a 64k Frame relay line and a few users, no reason for a large rack. I bought this wall mounting cabinet that holds 19" equipment and it has worked great. It has a nice smoked fiberglass front window and swings open from the back or front of the unit. There are cable holes on both the top and bottom. The unit locks with 2 different keys in the front and back. It was simple to mount, just put some heavy gauge bolts in the studs and you're all set. It may be a bit large for home use, depending on what you need. You can buy it [cablestogo.com] from Cables to Go [cablestogo.com] .

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and BSD. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.

Cheap Racks (2)

robvasquez (411139) | about 13 years ago | (#101346)

When GSAT went under, my (ex)company bought some 8 foot racks for $500, they sell for $2000+ otherwise. This 19" monitor was $50, and this Sparc was $50. We got a ton of shit including a HUGE Xlyan switch/chassis and a Packetshaper CHEEP.

rack for free (1)

devzerous (445499) | about 13 years ago | (#101349)

find a milk carton crate they work well, just drill
sheet metal screws into the crate for mounting the equipment.

My advice (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | about 13 years ago | (#101353)

Don't be such a geek. How's rackmounting going to improve your life? It's not like you have fifty seperate systems to house and maintain. Take the money you'd waste on pointless rackmounting, which serves no purpose to you other than nerd-masturbation fodder, and spend it on something that will provide more of a return on investment. Take up photography or something. Go mountain biking. Go skydiving. Rack mounting? Jesus...

Small racks (1)

ThePhantomPiper (460662) | about 13 years ago | (#101354)

Check musical equipment resellers. Musician's Friend [musiciansfriend.com] and Amercan Musical Supply [americanmusical.com] spring to mind.

I got a 3' rack about 5 years ago from AMS for about US$200.

-Brett

radioshack rack on wheels (2)

rawkphish (465690) | about 13 years ago | (#101356)

Try Radioshack's Sloped-top floor rack [radioshack.com] . 28 spaces (12 slope, 16 bottom) Front and rear rails, casters (two locking). Can't beat the price, it looks cool and has wheels..

look at my fishtank cam [vidcard.com] , powered by linux, php, mysql & apache

Re:Who needs a rack? (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | about 13 years ago | (#101357)

For some equipment that's probably OK, but most of it was designed with racks in mind (especially in the area of VENTALATION).Stuffing a server that requires a couple inches on a side into any space it will fit into might shorten the life of the server just a bit.

Rack (1)

hmccabe (465882) | about 13 years ago | (#101358)

I started checking into this when I got a rack-mount sound card. Most good corporate/professional racks are so expensive because of locking doors and other security measures. I found that the 19" racks guitar stores sell for amplifiers work great. Some of the less sturdy ones start at $45 and go up from there. Works fine with my G4 minitower.
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