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Home Test Lab Setups (Wrt Heat & Noise)


FunkyMrMagic
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As I get more involved with my testing, the more I want to build a proper, dedicated test lab at home to play with. Nothing too much, maybe a couple of servers and some network kit. Looking around, I can get 2nd-hand rack-mountable servers relatively cheaply... However, my question isn't about how to set it up, or what to install, but rather: Where can I keep it without making my family want to kill me?

The only space that I could really use is the garage - the servers would be just too noisy (not to mention blowing hot air) - and putting them under the stairs would just cause Mrs FM and Bambino FM to disown me and kick me out the family home! I have nothing against using the garage (in principle), but I'm worried about dust (in general), temperature and moisture (condensing tumble dryer in there) killing the kit. Figure I can give the place a thorough clean, paint the floor, seal any small holes easily enough, but I'd prefer beyond the initial outlay on equipment, to keep this as low-cost as possible. Has anybody got any useful tips on:

  • Protecting delicate equipment in potential hostile environments?
  • Server hardware that is perhaps nice & cool/quiet, without breaking the bank (bearing in mind that I can get hold of a dual-xeon HP Proliant DL360 with 6Gb RAM for around £90)?
  • Social engineering techniques to convince the family that a comms rack in the spare room is a brilliant idea?

Thanks in advance!

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As I get more involved with my testing, the more I want to build a proper, dedicated test lab at home to play with. Nothing too much, maybe a couple of servers and some network kit. Looking around, I can get 2nd-hand rack-mountable servers relatively cheaply... However, my question isn't about how to set it up, or what to install, but rather: Where can I keep it without making my family want to kill me?

The only space that I could really use is the garage - the servers would be just too noisy (not to mention blowing hot air) - and putting them under the stairs would just cause Mrs FM and Bambino FM to disown me and kick me out the family home! I have nothing against using the garage (in principle), but I'm worried about dust (in general), temperature and moisture (condensing tumble dryer in there) killing the kit. Figure I can give the place a thorough clean, paint the floor, seal any small holes easily enough, but I'd prefer beyond the initial outlay on equipment, to keep this as low-cost as possible. Has anybody got any useful tips on:

  • Protecting delicate equipment in potential hostile environments?
  • Server hardware that is perhaps nice & cool/quiet, without breaking the bank (bearing in mind that I can get hold of a dual-xeon HP Proliant DL360 with 6Gb RAM for around £90)?
  • Social engineering techniques to convince the family that a comms rack in the spare room is a brilliant idea?

Thanks in advance!

I have a 7' network rack in my garage. For the most part the garage isn't conditioned space. The one and only window has been removed and there's a box fan that exhausts pretty much all summer. About once a year I will power down everything and blow the dust out, but it's not really that bad, even with my table saw in the garage. The fans were working a little overtime when it got up in the 100's a few weeks ago, I think the garage was in the 80's. Other than that, they don't seem to mind the heat and lack of heat in the winter. It never gets to freezing, maybe low 40's.

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OK, that's good to know, thanks. Also just thought that I've got the loft (roof void) available to me too so long as things aren't too noisy. So long as I keep things relatively tidy I should be good to go then.

Do you just rely on wake-on-lan for powering kit on, or do you have some kind of alternative method? I was thinking that WoL would be fine for the server(s), but the Cisco & Checkpoint kit that I'm planning on adding later will probably not support it.

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Mine is on 24x7 with battery backup and a luckily stable power supply. No WoL needed in my case. However, if you had it in the loft you would likely want something fairly easy to manage remotely. You could always pick up an IP enabled power distribution strip like hosting companies offer for customer control. My home lab is just a couple of switches, a firewall appliance, and a workstation and server. Nothing too fancy. I keep mine in the under stairs closet in the basement. Can be heard on stairs right above it, but not very loud really, just noticeable.

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