Moving the rack
I have a home network. Many people do. In that previous article of mine,
you will see photographs of the rack when it lived at another address. Since then, I’ve moved to a
new location and I still have the same rack, but in a new configuration. In this article, I’ll show you
before, during, and after photographs, as I move the rack from one wall of the basement to another.
The primary purpose of the move is to increase the usable space in the basement (actually, it’s the
furnace room, not really a basement). The same could apply to any room. It’s just that I’ve chosen
I had mentioned that I’d wanted to move the rack to the back wall, but I had not started it. One day,
while we were preparing for a garage sale, I was asked “why don’t we do it now?”. OK, but it’ll probably
take 6 or 7 hours to move everything. I knew she didn’t believe me and figured I was stalling. But it was
1pm on a Saturday afternoon and I figured I might as well start.
Before the move
This series of photographs is before the move.
The bottom half of the rack
On the bottom shelf, from left to right, are:
- My old gateway box (not powered up)
- DLT 7000 drive for Bacula project
- Test box for Bacula project (black box on its side against the wall). Also acts as my wireless gateway.
On the next shelf up, from left to right, are:
- APC UPS
- Tape library (see also Bacula – Digital DLT MiniLibrary – TL891))
- Test box for Bacula project (black box on its side against the wall) – FreeBSD 5.5-PRERELEASE
- another APC UPS
- A dual CPU box used to test client software – Windows 2000 Server
On the next shelf up (i.e second from the top), from left to right, are:
- My production DLT 7000 drive, for my backups etc.
- Dual XEON server: a real workhorse. Does my CVS repository, DNS, etc) FreeBSD 4.9-STABLE
- A few DLT cleaning tapes and DLT tapes.
- The monitor
On the underside of this shelf, you can see the keyboard tray. Behind and above the dual xeon box, you can see the
backside of the 24 port 10/100 switch.
The top half of the rack
On the top shelf, from left to right, are:
- My FreeBSD development machine. I do most of my FreeBSD Diary, FreshPorts, BSDCan, etc, work on this machine. FreeBSD 4.11-STABLE
- My gateway machine. FreeBSD 6.0-STABLE
- APC UPS
- another smaller APC UPS with the cardboard box from my old DSL modem on top of it
On the right hand side of the shelf, on the leg, you can see the blue power bar that supplies power to a HUB
and a WAP that are above and out of the photo.
I also have some wiring I have to move. Luckily, most of this is fortunate enough to be long enough that
the move will not require any special steps. Most of the CAT 5 cables you see coming down from above will need to be
rerouted to the new location.
The new location
In the first photograph, you can see where the rack will be moved to. The empty shelving unit against the back wall
represents where the rack will be after the move. This shelving unit was originally against the back wall and used for
storage. Access was difficult. The rack will be attached to the wall with a couple of two inch
In the second photograph, you can see the original rack has been emptied, rotated, and moved into position against
the rear wall. Just below the top shelf and against the wall, you can see how the rack has been attached to the wall.
Under the legs closest to you, you can see that the rack has been propped up on this side with an extra piece of wood
to level it. This wood is securely attached to the rack.
The third photograph shows the items removed from the rack. I had to remove everything from the rack before I could
shift the rack from one wall to another.
Moving the WAP
I moved the WAP because I wanted it to be closer to the rack and out of the way of the shelf was that
moved to where the rack was. In the first photo, you can see the wood I attached to the underside of the
floor. Those two screws match the plate for the WAP.
The second photo shows the base plate for the WAP attached to the wooden support. The WAP is then
pressed into the place and hangs below the floor/ceiling.
The third photo has the WAP in place and shows the longer antenna I purchased. This gives me a good signal
even when I’m at the other end of the property (not that I use my laptop out there…).
The rack populated
By now, it was about 5pm and everything has been moved back onto the rack in it’s new position. I took
the opportunity to rearrange things and provide a better utilization of the rack space. As a result, I have
much more unused space but the same number of boxes in the same amount of space. As well, you can see the shelf
which was against the back wall is now against the right hand well. This repositioning leaves much more
usable floor space.
The second photo shows the top shelf of the rack. From left to right are:
- My development box
- The gateway
- The two DLT 7000 drives
- The Bacula test box
- an APC UPS
The third photo shows the bottom part of the rack. Those tools and clutter on the bottom right are no longer there.
Actually, this photograph was taken well before everything was up and running. You can see disconnected cables,
cables just hanging, and a complete lack of power to anything (expect the UPS at the top left).
The fourth photograph shows:
- The relocated cables, yet to be plugged into the switch.
- The switch, under the top shelf, which was replaced by a recent purchase. The unit shown had two loud fans.
The replacement contains no fans and contributes towards a quieter environment.
- You can see there’s not a lof space between the furnace and the back of the rack. That’s OK, I’m not there
very often and I can move about as required. However, that pipe on the left can get quite hot when the water is
heating up. 🙂
The rack, 10 days later
The rack was actually moved on the 20th, and I spent about 3 or 4 hours on the 21st tidying things up, running
more cables, fitting them neatly into place. I also added a dial-up modem to the system should my cable connection
fail. I also reused a hub to connect the cables which were too short to be rerouted. The hub was previously used
to connect between the wireless gateway and the WAP. The WAP is now directly connected to the wireless gateway.
In the first photo, you can see the un-rerouted cables plugged into the Netgear hub I like so much. The metal
case is great. It is attached to the plywood with a couple of screws. At the lower right, you can see a small
APC UPS that provides power to the WAP and the HUB. The power cable that runs off the top of the photo goes to the
The second photograph show the rack in full operation. All the cables have been connected and everything is running.
That machine which had trouble when rebooting is shown on the second shelf
from the bottom. It has a stack of CDs on top of it, as well as a few power cables.
The third photograph demonstrates the recovered floor space, as well as one of the residents responsible for so much of
the floor space being taken up with feline paraphernalia.
The next photo shows the shelf that was relocated from the back wall to the right hand wall.
The first photo below shows some of the cabling. That massive amount of cable on the shelf to the right of the vertical power bar
is a collection of coiled up patch cables, close to hand. On the lowest shelf you can see is a turtle, a present to someone whose
cottage I visit.
The middle picture is just a side view of the rack. The old switch can be seen on the bottom shelf, and sticking out to the left.
On the bottom shelf is the computer used at the registration desk during BSDCan.
The right hand picture is a close up of the new switch. My gateway is at the top right. Next to that are the two DLT 7000
drives. On the far left, with the beige SCSI cable attached to it, is the Bacula test system.
I’m sure that’s more pictures than you were expecting. If you have any questions about this, please put them in the comments
and I’ll answer them as best I can.