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My geek thread

Old 01-14-11, 09:07 PM
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Rack Enclosureres

Originally Posted by kensuf
I've had to tell people "no no no no no!" all morning long, so I guess I need to start looking at other options to present to them.

So, has anyone used any air conditioned (or water cooled) rack enclosures, such as a Liebert MCR or custom cabinet from a place like Rackmount Solutions? Any comments?
Do you mean that the rack will be in a room which is other wise not cooled and therefore must have dedicated cooling?
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Old 01-14-11, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf
So, has anyone used any air conditioned (or water cooled) rack enclosures, such as a Liebert MCR or custom cabinet from a place like Rackmount Solutions? Any comments?
No, I have not, as I think you can do better with conventional HVAC in small areas, i.e. mini-splits, but add APC InfraStruxure to your list. Very very nice stuff.
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Old 01-14-11, 09:16 PM
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don't know anything about that stuff. I'm not the infrastructure guy. All I know is there's probably 20 huge air handler things in our server room, and you almost have to yell at each other to be heard over all the fans.
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Old 01-14-11, 09:18 PM
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LCD's don't burn, they lose pixels, and the backlight (if not LED) ages. But you'll have sold it or junked it by the time that happens.

To defeat the screen lock, go to the Display Properties page and unselect the password option
To keep the monitor from powering off or going to sleep (EStar), configure the Power Options to do so. Some of these are manufacturer dependent so generic procedures don't always work.
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Old 01-14-11, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer
don't know anything about that stuff. I'm not the infrastructure guy. All I know is there's probably 20 huge air handler things in our server room, and you almost have to yell at each other to be heard over all the fans.
Welcome to my world. Thankfully I now have an IP KVM.
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Old 01-14-11, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
Welcome to my world. Thankfully I now have an IP KVM.
every time I have to go down there for anything I'm excited when I go in, because there's many millions of dollars worth of sophisticated equipment all in a small place, not to mention the ability to bring down a major part of the electric grid.

Every time I leave I'm glad I don't have to work there because I can barely hear myself think.
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Old 01-14-11, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer

Every time I leave I'm glad I don't have to work there because I can barely hear myself think.
I own a very accurate sound level meter, and I've never brought it down there. I don't want to know.
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Old 01-15-11, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Gray99
Do you mean that the rack will be in a room which is other wise not cooled and therefore must have dedicated cooling?
hvac in room can't keep up. The impact fee's our PPD charges to "fix" it will put us well over 6 figures. We've got little money, so I'm looking at other options. 6 racks would be around $50k, which is half the PPD charges.
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Old 01-15-11, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
LCD's don't burn, they lose pixels, and the backlight (if not LED) ages. But you'll have sold it or junked it by the time that happens.

To defeat the screen lock, go to the Display Properties page and unselect the password option
To keep the monitor from powering off or going to sleep (EStar), configure the Power Options to do so. Some of these are manufacturer dependent so generic procedures don't always work.
Thanks (directed in my direction, yes?). I played around with various settings last night, and, I think, I have a solution that works, as I awoke to the machine being asleep and no glow on the monitor.

Here's a follow on question that goes back to an earlier time: Back in the late 1980s, I recall one of my research assistants telling me that I should leave my computers on all the time as the on/off thing stressed the hard drive more than necessary. Since then, I've left them on all the time (hey, the undergrads were smarter than us PhDs). With this new machine, the power options have been putting it to sleep. I hadn't thought anything of it until now. Good idea to continue the policy of "on all of the time," or should I allow this new machine to continue with the current go-to-sleep setup?

Thanks.
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Old 01-15-11, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by kensuf
hvac in room can't keep up. The impact fee's our PPD charges to "fix" it will put us well over 6 figures. We've got little money, so I'm looking at other options. 6 racks would be around $50k, which is half the PPD charges.
Do you have a floor drain? Have you looked into Porta-Cools, or is the floor already littered with them?

What are they proposing for six figures? A 5 ton Mits mini-split is about $15K, $20K installed. You can have the outlet placed right behind your hottest row.
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Old 01-15-11, 09:47 AM
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They're proposing we pay a hell of an impact fee. Basically, PPD is charging us something like $8k per tonne over what it really costs just to make up for their budget shortfall.
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Old 01-15-11, 10:00 AM
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How many tons do you need? Did you run the numbers? If you don't know how, I can help, or at least check their insanity.
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Old 01-15-11, 10:07 AM
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Yeah, I ran the numbers. Our load is currently about 7, our current system is supposedly capable of providing 15, it's obviously not working correctly and our campus PPD is unwilling/unable to correct it. And, of course, my department doesn't have the money to hire an outside company to fix it (plus it's verboten for us to do this).

The basic problem is one where budget cuts over the past four years have caught up in our PPD's ability to keep knowledgeable people around. As someone would leave, they wouldn't fill the position, or would fill it with a guy they only paid $12 an hour to. He'd wind up sticking around for a few months and then move on to private industry. The end result is no knowledge and crumbling infrastructure, which is why my office is normally in the 50s and my machine room in the upper 70s.
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Old 01-15-11, 10:09 AM
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So.. I've got these research groups that have money, but they won't collectively pool for the greater good (the PI's don't play nice with each other).

BUT we have a major cooling dilemma. So, if I can convince the PI's to purchase their own air conditioned rack for their own stuff, then the problem will be solved.
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Old 01-15-11, 10:09 AM
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Trust me when I say academentia is horrible right now. At least in the south. Or at least in Floriduh.
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Old 01-15-11, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf
hvac in room can't keep up. The impact fee's our PPD charges to "fix" it will put us well over 6 figures. We've got little money, so I'm looking at other options. 6 racks would be around $50k, which is half the PPD charges.
I'm fairly sure HP makes a watercooled rack, but frankly I wouldn't want to water cool server equipment. If the other group won't play nice, is kicking them out an option? and/or charging them for using your cooling gear? Why is it verboten to get an outside group to do the work?

I hate to go to this level of detail, but how many racks do you have? how much gear in each rack? Could individual server enclosurers work? Is that temp current or in the summer? You might be able to rig a mobile air conditioner (think something the size of a combo washer/dryer) and use some sort of insulative cowl that could blanket your racks alone..... Just some thoughts.
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Old 01-15-11, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf
Yeah, I ran the numbers. Our load is currently about 7, our current system is supposedly capable of providing 15, it's obviously not working correctly and our campus PPD is unwilling/unable to correct it. And, of course, my department doesn't have the money to hire an outside company to fix it (plus it's verboten for us to do this).

The basic problem is one where budget cuts over the past four years have caught up in our PPD's ability to keep knowledgeable people around. As someone would leave, they wouldn't fill the position, or would fill it with a guy they only paid $12 an hour to. He'd wind up sticking around for a few months and then move on to private industry. The end result is no knowledge and crumbling infrastructure, which is why my office is normally in the 50s and my machine room in the upper 70s.
Does it need to be on site?

Seems like making the jump to water-cooled might be more expensive than just renting rackspace somewhere else.
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Old 01-15-11, 05:36 PM
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Folks, we're talking 6 racks of server equipment, including several large drive arrays and a 248 core linux cluster. We don't have the budget to co-locate: we could co-locate at our very large on-campus data center for roughly $1500 per rack per month, which I think is pretty cheap, all things considered.

It's verboten courtesy of campus policy. Everything has to go through campus PPD so they can get their cut.

My department is like a leaf low down on the tree, but we're very computing intensive. Regardless, the central campus IT doesn't support us, and the college which we are under doesn't want us to even exist, so they keep cutting our budget in an effort for us to finally fail.
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Old 01-15-11, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf
Trust me when I say academentia is horrible right now. At least in the south. Or at least in Floriduh.
<sarcasm>It's better in Califonia</sarcasm> .....
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Old 01-15-11, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Gray99
Is that temp current or in the summer? You might be able to rig a mobile air conditioner (think something the size of a combo washer/dryer) and use some sort of insulative cowl that could blanket your racks alone..... Just some thoughts.
That's a Porta-Cool. But he can't get one.
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Old 01-16-11, 10:17 AM
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Normally I would have said go with the porta-cool, but if that is not viable then the co-lo in the data center sounds like your best option. However that will easier put you into six figures over the course of one year. Sorry if I missed the reason, why was the porta-cool a "no go"?
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Old 01-16-11, 08:48 PM
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Not approved by the Grand Poobah.
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Old 01-17-11, 02:27 PM
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Anybody here a Powerbuilder guru? Got some good resources? I want to build a DB based app and Access is just too lightweight after working in Oracle with triggers, cursors and such.
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Old 01-17-11, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf
Folks, we're talking 6 racks of server equipment, including several large drive arrays and a 248 core linux cluster. We don't have the budget to co-locate: we could co-locate at our very large on-campus data center for roughly $1500 per rack per month, which I think is pretty cheap, all things considered.

It's verboten courtesy of campus policy. Everything has to go through campus PPD so they can get their cut.

My department is like a leaf low down on the tree, but we're very computing intensive. Regardless, the central campus IT doesn't support us, and the college which we are under doesn't want us to even exist, so they keep cutting our budget in an effort for us to finally fail.
Too bad you can't jump to Amazon's EC3 thingy, Google Apps, etc (e.g. "The Cloud"). I think this is exactly the kind of problem it could solve.

Though of course where the rubber meets the road things aren't so simple..
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Old 01-17-11, 03:53 PM
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Has anybody had any experience with software our team can use to generate results for a 3 day omnium? We need to track individual omnium points along with team omnium totals for each category. We rely on someone now who uses their own spreadsheets but complains frequently about the complexity of it all. I could write a simple app to do the results but I wanted to see if there is a package that already exists that is free or very inexpensive.
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